Planned

Centre for Nuclear Research

This call for proposals may be subject to change until 5 October. From that date, you can create and submit a grant application.

Important dates

05 Oct 2022

Date call is made active

16 Nov 2022

Appplication submission deadline

Important dates

Purpose

The purpose of this call is to strengthen Norway’s research capacity and competence in the nuclear field through long-term investments in nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry research.

About the call for proposals

Norway does not have nuclear reactors for electricity production but needs expert environments with knowledge about and that can handle incidents involving the spread of radioactive substances that can affect Norway. The shutdown of the Norwegian trial reactors also demonstrates the need for knowledge about treatment, storage and final disposal of radioactive waste and safe decommissioning of nuclear power plants. There is also considerable radiopharmacy activity in Norway.

Norway needs robust expert environments that engage in basic research in this area, and more experts must be recruited to the field. To achieve this, we now want to establish one or two national research centres with a larger budget and longer project duration than that offered under other funding schemes.

All applicants must carefully read the Research Centre – Research Institution-based Strategic Project, Requirements and Guidelines, which, among other things, describe the requirements that apply to the centre’s organisation and responsibilities.

Desired effects of the centre initiative

The centres are intended to help to strengthen Norway’s research capacity and competence in this area in the long term. One important effect is that the centre should increase capacity and improve the quality of research in this area, also beyond its funding period.

Thematic delimitation

The call targets Norwegian research groups in nuclear physics and nuclear chemistry.

Funding will go to basic high-quality research of relevance to

  • radiation protection and radiation safety
  • nuclear safety and nuclear preparedness, including knowledge about safety and security at nuclear power plants and action taken in the event of release of radioactivity to the environment (radioecology)
  • manufacturing of radionuclides for medical and industrial use, for example in radiopharmacy
  • decommissioning of nuclear power plants and radioactive waste management

The centre’s organisation

We assume that research groups in the same field will cooperate on one joint grant application for one centre. These research groups do not need to be in the same geographic location. The academic and administrative responsibility must be clearly anchored in the host institution.

The centre/centres will be established for an initial period of five years, with an option to extend for a further three-year period following an evaluation.

 The Norwegian-language call for proposals is the legally binding version.

Contact persons

Name

Email

Terje Strand

ters@forskningsradet.no

Ingvil Bjørnæs

ib@forskningsradet.no

Who is eligible to apply?

Only approved Norwegian research organisations may apply. See the list of approved Norwegian research organisations.

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements relating to the Project Owner

The research organisation listed as the Project Owner in the application form must have authorised the submission of the grant application to the Research Council. The Project Owner is also the host institution.

Requirements relating to project managers

The project manager named in the application must be the centre director.

  • You must have an approved doctorate or achieved professor/associate professor qualifications before the date of the application submission deadline. For the purposes of this call, you are also qualified if you hold or have held a position as forsker 1 (research professor), forsker 2 (senior researcher) or seniorforsker (senior researcher) in the institute sector.
  • You must have documented qualifications and/or experience of managing large-scale projects.
  • You can only be the project manager of one application submitted under this call for proposals.
  • The project manager must be employed by the host institution.

Other requirements

The centre/centres will be established for an initial period of five years, with an option to extend for a further three-year period following an evaluation. The evaluation will assess the centre’s goal attainment seen in light of

Requirements relating to partners

The document Research Centre – Research Institution-based Strategic Project, Requirements and Guidelines describes the centre’s organisation and responsibilities.

Approved Norwegian research organisations and equivalent foreign organisations are eligible to participate as partners in the project and receive funding.

Relevant public sector actors can also be included as the centre’s partners, but please note that only approved research organisations can receive funding from the Research Council.

The grant application must describe how the project incorporates the strategic objectives of the Project Owner and all partners.

What can you seek funding for?

You can apply for funding to cover the actual costs necessary to carry out the centre’s activities. You will find general information on our website about what to enter in the budget, and more details about the application type in Research Centre – Research Institution-based Strategic Project, Requirements and Guidelines.

You may be granted funding for the following costs:

  • Payroll and indirect expenses related to researcher time (including research fellowship positions) at the research organisations participating in the centre. For doctoral research fellowships, this funding is limited to maximum three person-years. For post-doctoral research fellowships, this funding is limited to maximum four person-years. To ensure that the centre will have a lasting effect in relation to Norwegian research capacity and competence, the research organisations’ plans may include new permanent researcher positions. Such researcher positions, which must contribute directly to the centre’s activities, can be funded through the centre’s grant for a period of up to three years.
  • Equipment that is necessary to carry out the project. This includes lease and depreciation costs for scientific equipment, access to national or international research infrastructure and minor new procurements and upgrading of existing equipment.
  • Other operating expenses which comprise costs for other activities that are necessary to carry out the centre’s R&D efforts. Procurements from subcontractors that exceed NOK 100,000 must be specified.

Do not use the cost category ‘Procurement of R&D services’ in the application form.

Scope of funding

The available budget of NOK 200 million will be used to establish one or two centres. You can apply for a maximum of NOK 200 million over an eight-year period, divided between maximum NOK 125 million the first five years and maximum NOK 75 million the last three years. The funding for the last three years will be decided on the basis of the outcome of a mid-term evaluation of the centre.

You can apply to the Research Council for up to NOK 25 million per year.

The host institution and partners are expected to contribute funding to highlight their interest and the centre’s strategic foundation, but there is no own-funding requirement.

Stays abroad for doctoral and post-doctoral fellows must be covered within the framework of the centre. The research centre will therefore not be covered by our call for funding for research stays abroad for doctoral and postdoctoral fellows.

Conditions for funding

The required start-up date will be published later.

We will not award funding that constitutes state aid under this call. Undertakings may not receive funding to cover project costs. The funding allocated to research organisations must go to their non-economic activity and does therefore not constitute state aid. The Research Council requires a clear separation of accounts for the organisation’s economic and non-economic activities.

The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocations and disbursement of funding for the first year, and any pledges and payments for subsequent years, are set out in the General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects, available in their entirety on the information page: What the contract involves.

If your project is granted funding, the following must be in place before you sign a contract with us:

  • The Project Owner is obliged to enter into a joint collaboration agreement with all partners and define a mandate for the board.
  • A board must be appointed before start-up of the centre. The centre’s board of directors must comprise representatives of the Project Owner and research partners.
  • From 2022, all grant recipients that are research organisations or public sector bodies (Project Owners and partners) must have a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) available on their website. The requirement does not apply to the business sector, special interest organisations or the non-governmental sector.
  • The Research Council requires full and immediate open access to scientific publications; see Plan S – open access to publications.
  • You must prepare a data processing plan for any research data that will be processed in the project. Research data must be made available in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable).

Relevant thematic areas for this call

Natural sciences and technologies

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

You may revise and resubmit your application form multiple times up to the submission deadline for applications. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as you have filled in the grant application form and included all mandatory attachments. After the deadline, it is the most recently submitted version of the grant application that will be processed.

  • The application and all attachments must be submitted in English.
  • The standard templates are available for download at the end of the call.
  • All attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.
  • All mandatory attachments must be included.
  • Requirements relating to the Project Owner (research organisation) must be satisfied.
  • Requirements relating to the partners must be satisfied.
  • A maximum of six CVs can be attached.

Mandatory attachments

  • A project description, maximum 20 pages, using the designated template.
  • the CV of the project manager (centre director) using the designated template.
  • the CVs of up to five key project participants (e.g. work package leaders) using the designated template.

Applications that do not meet the requirements listed above may be rejected.

Optional attachments

  • Proposals for up to five referees who are considered qualified to assess the application. The referees’ names, titles, email addresses and institutional affiliation must be stated. We are not obliged to use the proposed referees.

All attachments must be submitted together with the application. We will not accept attachments submitted after the deadline for applications unless we have requested further information.

We will not assess documents and websites linked to in the application, or other attachments than those specified above. There is no technical validation of the content of the attachments you upload, so please make sure that you upload the correct file for the selected type of attachment.

Assessment criteria

We assess the applications in light of the purpose of the application type and pursuant to the following criteria:

Excellence

The extent to which the centre is ambitious, innovative and advances the research front
• Scientific creativity and originality.
• The extent to which hypotheses and research questions are innovative and courageous.
• The extent to which the centre has the potential to generate new knowledge that advances the research front, including significant development/renewal of theories, methods, experiments or empirical knowledge.

The quality of the centre's R&D activities
• The quality of research questions, hypotheses and the centre's objectives, and the extent to which they are clearly described.
• The extent to which the theoretical approach, research design and choice of methods are credible and appropriate, and interdisciplinary perspectives are sufficiently considered.
• The extent to which research conducted at the centre takes sufficient consideration of social responsibility, ethical issues and gender dimensions.

Impact

Potential impacts of the proposed centre activities
• The extent to which the centre’s planned results can contribute to addressing important scientific challenges, both now and going forward.
• The extent to which the centre will contribute to strengthening capacity and quality in the research area, also after financing of the centre ends.
• The extent to which the potential impacts are clearly formulated and credible.

Communication and utilisation
• Quality and scope of communication and involvement activities targeting relevant target groups.

Implementation

Quality of the project manager (centre director) and project group
• The extent to which the project manager (centre director) has relevant expertise and experience and is qualified to lead an initiative of this scale.
• The extent to which the project participants complement one another, and the project group has the necessary expertise to effectively implement the centre initiative.

The quality of the centre’s organisation and management
• The extent to which organising the research activities as a centre rather than separate projects gives added value.
• The extent to which the centre will be efficiently organised, including whether the resources allocated to the different work packages are sufficient and in accordance with the centre’s objectives and deliveries.
• The extent to which the centre's tasks are distributed in a way that ensures all project participants have a clear role and sufficient resources to fulfil that role.
• The extent to which the management and governance of the centre are expediently organised, including risk management.

The quality and extent of international cooperation
• The extent to which the scope and quality of international collaborative activities are in keeping with the centre's objectives.

Gender balance in the centre’s project group
• If the gender balance in the centre's management team (centre manager and research managers) is poor, the extent to which there is an expedient plan in place for the centre to support the development of researcher talents of the under-represented gender to qualify for senior-level positions.

Relevance to the call for proposals

The extent to which the centre satisfies the guidelines and stipulations set out in the call for proposals.

When the panel assesses the application, it will especially consider the call’s thematic delimitation, the centre’s envisaged long-term effects on Norway's research capacity and competence, and the extent of national collaboration and coordination between relevant expert communities.

Administrative procedures

Applications will be assessed by an international referee panel.

The panel will assess each application on the basis of the four assessment criteria and in light of the requirements and objectives described in the call.

The panel will also assess how, seen as a whole, the applications meet the requirement for national collaboration and coordination between relevant expert communities. Funding will not be awarded to multiple centres with a significant overlap in scientific approach and activity.

We will provide more information later about the application review process and when we expect to announce the funding decision.

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