Planned

This call may be subject to revision until 15 December. It will be possible to create and submit grant applications from that date and up to the submission deadline. If the call is revised, we will provide notification here.

Purpose

The purpose of this call for proposals is to support research on health improvements for disadvantaged populations in low- and lower-middle income countries (LLMICs). The research must be relevant to Sustainable Development Goal 3 ‘Good health for all’ and its targets. Projects where it is expedient and beneficial to establish collaboration outside academia should apply under this call.

Important dates

15 Dec 2021

Date call is made active

09 Feb 2022

Application submission deadline

Important dates

About the call for proposals

Applications for this call compete with applications for the topic Global health under the call Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal for a total of NOK 80 million.

Projects where it is expedient and beneficial to establish collaboration with partners that are not research organisations can apply under this call. Relevant partners in this call that are not research organisations are public sector bodies and civil society organisations from Norway or the countries in which the research takes place (low- and lower-middle income countries).

See the topic ‘Global health’ under the section ‘Relevant thematic areas’ below.

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

Who is eligible to apply?

The call is open to approved Norwegian research organisations in effective collaboration with relevant actors from public sector bodies, non-governmental organisations and/or other private organisations.

We will not grant funding to partners in the business and industrial sector under this call.

See the list of approved Norwegian research organisations.

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements relating to the Project Owner

The Project Owner must be a Norwegian research organisation approved by the Research Council (see above).

The research organisation defined as the Project Owner in the application form must have formally approved submission of the application.

Requirements relating to project managers

You must have an approved doctorate or similar qualifications before the date of the application submission deadline.

If you do not have an approved doctorate but are qualified at associate professorship level or have current or previous employment in a position as forsker 1 (research professor), forsker 2 (senior researcher) or seniorforsker (senior researcher) in the institute sector or a health trust, you are also qualified.

You can only be the project manager for one application submitted for either a Collaborative Project in Global Health (this call), Collaborative and Knowledge-building Project relating to Antimicrobial Resistance from a One Health Perspective, Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges, Knowledge-building Project for Industry (deadline 9 February 2022), Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, Researcher Project for Young Talents or Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (the last three with the deadline 2 February 2022).

Requirements relating to partners

Projects are to be carried out by one or more research organisations in effective collaboration with relevant actors from public sector bodies, non-governmental organisations and/or other private organisations. We will not grant funding to partners in the industrial sector under this call.

The project must have a minimum of two partners that are not research organisations of which at least one must be from a low- and lower-middle income country (LLMIC). These must be public and societal actors that will contribute their experience and knowledge and ensure that the project and its objectives address real societal challenges. Project partners may be public sector bodies, non-governmental organisations or other private organisations.

LLMICs are defined in the OECD DAC list as ‘least developed countries, low income countries, and lower middle income countries and territories which are not LDCs’.

Organisations in high-income and upper middle-income countries may also serve as partners in the project, but may receive a maximum of 30 per cent of our total funding for the project.

Participation requirement

At least 10 per cent of the project’s overall costs must be used by the partners that are not research organisations. This can be in the form of payroll expenses or other project costs.

It is important that the partners contribute actively to the project. Their participation is confirmation that the research is needed and that the requirement for effective collaboration is met. Costs related to the partners’ participation or in-kind contribution to the project must be entered in the budget tables.

The participation requirement concerns the proportion of costs and is not related to how the project is funded.

Effective collaboration requirement

The Project Owner must carry out the project in effective collaboration with its partners. Effective collaboration means that independent parties collaborate to achieve a common objective based on the division of labour, where the parties jointly define the scope of the collaborative project, contribute to its implementation and share its risks, as well as its results. If we grant funding to the project, the Project Owner and the partners must agree on the distribution of rights and obligations relating to project implementation and the results generated in the project. This agreement is part of the Project Owner's contract with the Research Council, which means that the partners cannot be replaced without this being clarified with us in advance.

Other requirements

  • The grant application must describe how the project incorporates the strategic objectives of all the partners. This must be confirmed in the Letters of Intent.
  • The project must have a steering committee or reference group which includes partners that represent the societal challenge.
  • The project must not involve contract research. The project proposal must describe how the knowledge developed in the project will be of benefit to wider user groups.
  • One and the same project participant may not be assigned more than one role in the project, e.g. as Project Owner and partner or subcontractor.

Which partners can be included as one of the two required public and societal actors?

  • They must be public and societal actors from Norway or abroad that contribute experience and knowledge of the challenges the joint project seeks to resolve.
  • The Norwegian public and societal actors must be registered in the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises.
  • In addition to research activities, Norwegian research organisations such as e.g. health trusts also have tasks of a more operational nature, which means that they can be included in a project as a representative of the societal challenge. Please note that it is not possible to have the role of both a research organisation and a partner from outside the research sector in one and the same project. If a partner has the role of research organisation, it will not be included in the calculation of the participation requirement. The roles must therefore be clearly described in the project description to avoid misunderstandings when the grant application is assessed.
  • Public sector agencies or entities can be counted as different partners in the project, even if they have the same legal owner. In such case, they must contribute different user perspectives. This must be set out in the project description.

What can you seek funding for?

You can apply for funding to cover the actual costs necessary to carry out the project. You will find detailed and important information about what to enter in the project budget on the Research Council’s website. Do not use the item Procurement of R&D services.

The Project Owner is to obtain information about costs from each project partner. These costs are to be entered in the cost plan under the relevant category.

The Research Council provides support for doctoral research fellowship positions for up to three full-time equivalents. Post-doctoral fellowship positions can be funded for a period of minimum two and maximum four years. This also applies to research fellowships abroad.

Enterprises may participate as partners, but will not receive Research Council funding. The project may buy services from Norwegian and foreign businesses on normal terms. Such businesses will constitute subcontractors to the project rather than partners.

The partners’ costs will mainly be related to personnel hours, and must be entered as payroll and indirect expenses. You can find information on our website about how to record payroll and indirect expenses, regardless of whether the partners are from the institute sector, the university and university college sector, or whether they are public and societal actors. You will also find a guide to calculating the payroll and indirect costs of international partners.

Partners can cover their own project costs. Please note that any own funding of costs will not affect the minimum requirement for participation.

When a research organisation has the role of ‘public and societal actor’, personnel hours must be recorded in the same way as for public sector bodies and other enterprises that are not research organisations.

We will not provide funding for costs that are not described in the official accounts of the Project Owner or partners. If the project is offered free use of data sets, equipment etc., this cannot be entered as a project cost. 

If the project includes doctoral and post-doctoral research fellowships and there are concrete plans in place for research stays abroad for the fellowship-holders, funding for these stays may be included in the grant application. The Research Council has also issued a separate call for funding for Research Stays Abroad for Doctoral and Post-doctoral Fellows. The project manager may seek funding under that call if plans for research stays abroad for research fellows affiliated with the project emerge later in the project period.

Conditions for funding

We will not award funding that constitutes state aid under this call. This means that funding is only to go to your non-economic activity. We require a clear separation of accounts for the research organisation’s economic and non-economic activities. Undertakings may not receive funding to cover project costs. Our requirements relating to allocation 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.

If the project is awarded funding, the Project Owner is to draw up collaboration agreements with all of the Norwegian and international partners in the project. The collaboration agreements are to regulate the reciprocal rights and obligations of the Project Owner and partners in the project and ensure the integrity and independence of the research. It is also to ensure that no participating undertaking receives indirect state aid from a research organisation serving as Project Owner or partner. The agreement must therefore include conditions for the collaboration which ensure compliance with paragraph 28 of the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s guidelines for state aid for research and development and innovation.

If your project is awarded funding, the following must be in place before you submit your revised grant application:

  • You are required to submit an annual project account report documenting incurred project costs and their financing.
  • 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. This must be in place when they sign the grant agreement for projects awarded funding from the Research Council. The requirement does not apply to the business sector, special interest organisations or the non-profit 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 management plan for any research data handled in the project. The data must be made available in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable).The Project Owner is responsible for selecting which archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project.
  • The Project Owner is responsible for selecting which archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project. 
  • For medical and health-related studies involving human participants, the Research Council stipulates special requirements and guidelines for registration and disclosure of medical and health-related studies involving human participants

Relevant thematic areas for this call

Global development and international relations

Global health

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

Applications must be created and submitted via My RCN Web. You may revise and resubmit your grant application form multiple times up to the application submission deadline. 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. 
  • All mandatory attachments must be included. Attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.
  • Requirements relating to the project manager and Project Owner (research organisation) must be satisfied.
  • Requirements relating to the partners must be satisfied.
  • Requirements relating to the earliest and latest possible start-up date for the project must be met.
  • Funding must be sought from the Research Council for 2022.

Mandatory attachments

  • A project description of maximum 11 pages using the designated template found at the end of this call. You must use the template for 2022.
  • CVs of the project manager and key project participants not exceeding four pages each. The CV template at the end of the call must be used. Applicants themselves are to decide which project participants are most important and in which cases it will be of significance to the review process to assess these participants’ qualifications.
  • Letters of Intent from all registered research organisations participating as partners.
  • Letters of Intent from all registered partners that contribute from the perspective of society.

Grant applications that do not satisfy the above requirements will be rejected.

Optional attachments

Applicants are free to propose up to three referees who are presumed to be impartial and qualified to review the grant proposal. The Research Council is not under any obligation to use the proposed referees, but may use them as needed.

Attachments other than the mandatory attachments specified above, as well as any links to websites in the grant application, will not be included in the application review process.

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

Grant applications will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

Excellence

The extent to which the proposed work is ambitious, novel, and goes beyond the state-of-the-art
• Scientific creativity and originality.
• Novelty and boldness of hypotheses or research questions.
• Potential for development of new knowledge beyond the current state of the art, including significant theoretical, methodological, experimental or empirical advancement.

The quality of the proposed R&D activities
• Quality of the research questions, hypotheses and project objectives, and the extent to which they are clearly and adequately specified.
• Credibility and appropriateness of the theoretical approach, research design and use of scientific methods. Appropriate consideration of interdisciplinary approaches.
• The extent to which appropriate consideration has been given to societal responsibility, ethical issues and gender dimensions in research content.
• The extent to which appropriate consideration has been given to the use of stakeholder/user knowledge.

Impact

Potential impact of the proposed research
• The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address important present and/or future scientific challenges.
• The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address important present and/or future challenges for the sector(s).
• The extent to which the competence developed and planned outputs of the project will provide the basis for value creation in Norwegian business and/or development of the public sector.
• The extent to which the planned outputs of the project address UN Sustainable Development Goals or other important present and/or future societal challenges.
• The extent to which the potential impacts are clearly formulated and plausible.

Communication and exploitation
• Quality and scope of communication and engagement activities targeted towards relevant stakeholders/users.
• The extent to which the partners are involved in dissemination and utilisation of the project results.

Implementation

The quality of the project manager and project group
• The extent to which the project manager has relevant expertise and experience and demonstrated ability to perform high-quality research (as appropriate to the career stage).
• The degree of complementarity of the participants and the extent to which the project group has the necessary expertise needed to undertake the research effectively.

The quality of the project organisation and management
• Effectiveness of the project organisation, including the extent to which resources assigned to work packages are aligned with project objectives and deliverables.
• Appropriateness of the allocation of tasks, ensuring that all participants have a valid role and adequate resources in the project to fulfil that role.
• Appropriateness of the proposed management structures and governance.
• Appropriateness of the partners' contribution to the governance and execution of the project.

Relevance to the call for proposals

Thematic guidelines
The extent to which the project satisfies the guidelines and priorities of the thematic area
• The extent to which the project satisfies the thematic guidelines and delimitations.

Requirements and characteristics of the call
The extent to which the project satisfies the requirements and characteristics of the call and the thematic area
• The extent to which the project satisfies the requirements for partners in the project.
• The extent to which the project satisfies the purpose of competence-building in the research environments.

Administrative procedures

You can read more about the application review process for a Collaborative and Knowledge-building Project on the Research Council’s website.

In summary, the process is as follows: Once the grant applications have been received, the Research Council will conduct a preliminary administrative review to ensure that they satisfy all the stipulated formal requirements. Applications that do not meet the formal requirements will be rejected. The applications will then be distributed to thematic referee panels to be assessed in relation to the criteria Excellence, Impact and Implementation. After the panel has completed its assessment, the Research Council will conduct an assessment of the application’s relevance to the call.

The portfolio boards’ decisions are also based on an overall assessment of the project portfolio. The portfolio assessment takes the following factors into account:

  • The applications’ assigned marks based on the assessments.
  • The distribution of projects in relation to priorities set out for the specific topic.
  • Connections between grant applications received under other calls within the same thematic area. Applications for this call will compete with applications for the topic Global health under the call Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal.
  • Any changes in the financial or scientific framework set by the ministries.
  • Priority will be given to projects led by women project managers when the applications are otherwise considered to be on a par.

Applications for this call will be processed at a portfolio board meeting in August 2022. The outcome of the application processing will be published after these meetings.