Collaborative Project to Meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges
Published 15 Apr 2021
We are working to get the topics ready for publication. During the beginning of October, we will have everyone in place. Stay tuned here and through our newsletter.
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.
The purpose of this call is to develop new knowledge and generate research competence needed by society or the business sector to address important societal challenges. The projects are to encourage and support collaboration between research organisations and stakeholders from outside the research sector that represent societal and/or industry-related needs for knowledge and research competence.
The templates will be available sometime in September
18 Oct 2021
Webinar for applicants
15 Dec 2021
Date call is made active
09 Feb 2022
Application submission deadline
The projects awarded funding will be announced
01 Jul 2022
Earliest permitted project start
01 Dec 2022
Latest permitted project start. Projects not started by this date may lose the funding they were awarded.
30 Nov 2026
Latest permitted project completion
About the call for proposals
Funding of almost NOK XX million for Collaborative Projects to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges is available for both basic and applied research activities (the amount of available funding will be announced later). The research topics for which funding can be applied are described later in the call. Please tick the topic your application concerns in the grant application form.
Applicants are advised to consult our Guide for Applicants for answers to key questions.
Please note that you may not be the project manager for more than one application submitted for either a Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges (this call), a Knowledge-building Project for Industry (deadline of 9 February), a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, a Researcher Project for Young Talents or a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (application deadline of 2 February 2022 for the three latter).
We hold webinars for applicants, including on the individual topics. We will post up-to-date information about this in the timeline above.
This call for proposals constitutes a funding scheme that is notified to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA), and must be practised in compliance with the EEA state aid rules.
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 cooperation with relevant actors from public sector entities, non-governmental organisations, the business sector and/or other private organisations.
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 organisation listed as the Project Owner in the application form must have approved the submission of the grant application to the Research Council. The application must be aligned with the Project Owner’s strategies.
Requirements relating to project managers
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 can only be the project manager for one application submitted for either a Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges (this call), a Knowledge-building Project for Industry (deadline of 9 February), a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal, a Researcher Project for Young Talents or a Three-year Researcher Project with International Mobility (application deadline of 2 February 2022 for the three latter).
Requirements relating to partners
Projects are to be carried out by one or more research organisations in effective cooperation with relevant actors from public sector entities, non-governmental organisations, the business sector and/or other private organisations.
- The project must have at least two Norwegian partners that are not research organisations (see the guide for a definition). These must be partners from the business sector or other parts of society that will contribute their experience and knowledge, and ensure that the project and its objectives address real societal and/or industry-related challenges.
- The partners from the business sector or other parts of society must participate actively in the project. At least 10 per cent of the project’s total costs must be used by these partners. The guide describes this as the ‘participation requirement’.
- All project partners are required to take active part in planning and following up the project as well as in disseminating project results and promoting the utilisation of new knowledge.
- 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 group or reference group which includes partners that represent the industry-related or 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.
What can you seek funding for?
Scope of funding
The minimum amount of funding that may be sought is NOK 4 million. Any maximum amounts are described under the respective topics. The projects may last from two to four years.
You can apply for funding to cover the costs necessary to carry out the project. 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 following cost categories must be used:
- Payroll and indirect expenses related to researcher time (including research fellowship positions) at the research organisations, and the partners’ personnel hours. For doctoral research fellowships, funding is limited to a maximum of three full-time equivalents. Funding for two to four years may be granted for post-doctoral research fellowships.
- Equipment, encompassing operating and depreciation costs for scientific equipment and research infrastructure necessary for the implementation of the project.
- Other operating expenses, which comprise costs for other activities that are necessary to implement the project. Procurements from subcontractors that exceed NOK 100,000 must be specified.
Do not use the item Procurement of R&D services.
You will find important and more detailed information about what to enter in the project budget on the Research Council’s website.
The costs of Norwegian partners
As described under the section ‘Requirements relating to partners’, at least 10 per cent of the total costs must be used by those representing the industry-related or societal challenge in the project. This can be in the form of payroll expenses or other project costs.
The Research Council’s funding can be used to finance the costs of all Norwegian partners in the project. This means that the partners’ costs can be covered in part or in full, but the participants are naturally free to fund their own costs in the project. Please note that some topics may entail priorities which indicate that this should be done.
The state aid rules impose certain restrictions on funding for partners that are undertakings. The level of support (aid intensity) permitted will depend on the undertaking’s size and the type of activity that is carried out (basic research or industrial research). If the application is recommended for funding, we will request more information to ensure that our allocation is in accordance with the state aid rules.
The costs of international partners
The Research Council’s funding can be used to finance the costs of international research organisations. Please note that for doctoral research fellows whose degree-conferring institution is located abroad, the project can only fund the part of the work the research fellow contributes to the project, and not the doctoral degree in its entirety.
The costs of other international partners will not be funded through the allocations to the project. These costs must be excluded from the budget tables. The activities these partners will perform, as well as any self-funded activities, should be described in the project description (under section 3.2) if you would like this information to be taken into account when the application is reviewed.
Conditions for funding
- The funding allocated to research organisations is to go to their non-economic activity in the form of independent research. It does not therefore constitute state aid. The Research Council requires a clear separation of accounts for the organisation’s economic and non-economic activities.
- The call for proposals has been approved as an aid scheme by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) with the reference: GBER xx/2022/R&D&I (the correct reference will be published later). Companies serving as partners may have parts of their project costs covered in accordance with the General Block Exemption Regulation Article 25 (Commission Regulation (EU) No. 651/2014). Conditions and concepts are to be interpreted in keeping with corresponding conditions and concepts in the state aid rules. In the event of conflict between the text of the call and the state aid rules, the latter will have precedence.
- State aid may not be given to an undertaking that is subject to an outstanding recovery order following a formal decision by the EFTA Surveillance Authority or the European Commission stating that state aid received is illegal and incompatible with the internal market. Nor can the Research Council award state aid to an enterprise that is defined as an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ under the state aid rules, unless the undertaking was not in difficulty as of 31 December 2019, but became an undertaking in difficulty in the period 1 January 2020 – 30 June 2021. It may in such case receive funding.
- We assume that the research will be carried out in effective collaboration as defined in our General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects.
- If the project is awarded funding, the Project Owner is to draw up collaboration agreement(s) with all partners in the project. The collaboration agreement is 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 from partners. The agreement must therefore include conditions for the collaboration which ensure compliance with Section 28 of the EFTA Surveillance Authority’s guidelines for state aid for research and development and innovation.
- If the project involves research fellows whose responsible university/university college institution is not participating in the application, you must also have a collaboration agreement with the responsible/degree-conferring institution.
- The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocation and disbursement of support are set out in the General terms and Conditions for R&D Projects. Projects awarded funding under this call are required to submit an annual project account report documenting incurred project costs and their financing.
Scientific articles and research data
The Research Council requires full and immediate open access to scientific publications; see Plan S – open access to publications.
Research data must be made available in accordance with the FAIR principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable). The Project Owner of projects that process data must prepare a data management plan in connection with the revised application.
The Project Owner is responsible for selecting which archiving solution(s) to use for storing research data generated during the project. This must be specified in the data management plan for the project.
Requirements relating to medical and health-related studies involving human participants
Relevant thematic areas for this call
The topics encompassed under this call are grouped into the thematic areas below. Special requirements and guidelines are detailed under each topic and will be emphasised when assessing the applications.
More information about this will be made available in August and September.
Democracy, administration and renewal
Energy, transport and low emissions
Global development and international relations
Climate and polar research
Land-based food, the environment and bioresources
Education and competence
Welfare, culture and society
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.
- The project must start between 1 July 2022 and 1 December 2022. Projects approved for funding that have not started within this period may lose their allocation.
- 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 the business sector or other part of society.
- Please see an example of a letter of intent in our Guide for Applicants
The letters must explain why the research project is important and describe the planned contributions to the project. You can read more about how we assess the Letters of Intent in the information on Letter of Intent for Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges (link to follow).
Grant applications that do not satisfy the above requirements will be rejected.
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.
More information will be published later.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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
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.
- 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.
The meetings of the portfolio boards will be held in the last half of June 2022. The outcome of the application processing will be published after these meetings.