Knowledge-building Project for Industry
Published 15 Apr 2021
Download the call
Please note that the amount of funding announced within some of the topics may be reduced due to changes in the central government budget. This means that less funding than announced may be allocated within the thematic areas.
The purpose of this call is to develop new knowledge and generate competence in the research organisations 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 2027
Latest permitted project completion
About the call for proposals
Funding of almost NOK 305 million for Knowledge-building Projects for Industry is available for both basic and applied research activities. 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 Knowledge-building Project for Industry (this call), a Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges (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 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.
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
There are no formal requirements of the project manager’s qualifications, but the project manager must be able to document knowledge and expertise in the relevant field and in project management. Peer reviewers will assess the project manager’s professional expertise and suitability.
Please note that you can only be the project manager for one application submitted for either a Knowledge-building Project for Industry (this call), a Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges (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 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 the business sector and, if relevant, partners from other sectors.
- The project must have at least two Norwegian partners from the business sector (see the guide for a definition). The minimum requirement is only met if both partners provide cash contributions to the project. The cash contributions must be confirmed in the Letters of Intent.
- The combined cash contribution from the Norwegian partners from the business sector forms the basis for the maximum amount of funding that the Research Council can provide for the project.
- 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.
- Projects are to have a steering committee or reference group comprising representatives of the project partners.
- 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 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?
The Research Council will not award support that constitutes state aid under this call. This means that funding from the Research Council can only be used to fund the research organisations’ project costs. The costs of Norwegian and international partners that are not research organisations must be excluded from the budget tables. However, 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. The task-performing role of partners that are not research organisations cannot entail project management or the management of major tasks in the project.
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 five years.
- The amount of funding awarded by the Research Council may be up to four times the total cash contribution from the Norwegian partners from the business sector. This requirement should be fulfilled for each of the years for which you apply for funding.
- Please note that if any international partners from the business sector (including Norwegian-registered foreign companies) provide cash contributions, this contribution will not form a basis for funding from the Research Council. The same applies to any cash funding from public bodies.
The following cost categories must be used:
- Payroll and indirect expenses related to researcher time (including research fellowship positions) at the research organisations. 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.
The Research Council’s funding can be used to finance the costs of international research organisations. See Calculating payroll and indirect expenses for the university and university college sector.
You will find important and more detailed information about what to enter in the project budget on the Research Council’s website.
Conditions for funding
- Funding allocated to the research organisations is only 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.
- Partner companies will not be eligible to receive support to cover project costs and may not receive indirect support by being given rights to project results under favourable terms.
- 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 a collaboration agreement(s) with all Norwegian and international 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 partner. 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.
- 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.
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.
Energy, transport and low emissions
Projects relevant for funding under this area must show that they support long-term and sustainable development of the energy system, contribute to the transition to a zero-emission society and promote competitive Norwegian business and industry.
The project must concern at least one of the following eight areas:
- energy transitions and impacts on society, the climate and environment;
- renewable electricity based on solar energy, wind power and hydropower;
- bioenergy and other thermal energy;
- infrastructures for energy distribution, including an integrated and digital power grid;
- solutions for energy use in buildings and built-up areas;
- de-carbonisation of industrial processes;
- batteries and electrification of transport;
- hydrogen and other hydrogen-based energy carriers.
The areas are defined in the Portfolio plan for Energy, transport and low Emissions, in the section on priorities/thematic priorities/energy and low emissions (consultation version as of October 2021).
The call is open to both short-term, targeted projects, and long-term, larger-scale projects that are necessary to achieve a cross-cutting societal transition.
When we award a mark for the application’s relevance, we will also place emphasis on whether the project:
- falls under at least one of the thematic areas described above;
- involves a doctoral degree programme;
- has several partners that provide funding, whereof a number of the partners contribute significant parts of the funding, and where all are well integrated in the project;
- has funding from businesses in competitive sectors;
- involves collaboration with relevant international research groups;
- applies for funding within the recommended amount of NOK 8–14 million.
To ensure beneficial knowledge-building and recruitment to energy research, we encourage you to assign the role of project manager to younger researchers, given that this can be combined with a mentor scheme. We also encourage the involvement of master’s degree students in the research.
Projects applying for more than four times the confirmed cash contributions will lose marks for relevance since we will in such case deem the actual scope of the project to be uncertain.
Portfolio assessment and areas given particular priority in 2022
We strive to achieve a balanced overall portfolio of projects that covers the breadth of the areas described above.
In 2022, we will also prioritise projects that concern:
- the relationship between electricity infrastructure and other energy infrastructures, particularly measures that can reduce the more long-term peak demand by e.g. coordinating thermal and electrical energy systems;
- new solutions that can maintain stability, flexibility and security of supply in the energy system of the future, with increased phasing in and integration of renewable energy sources that cannot be regulated;
- new battery materials, cells and systems that improve environmental accounts and provide competitive production, and projects that include automated processes using artificial intelligence, robotics and smart sensors and systems.
Recommended amount of funding from the Research Council of Norway is NOK 8–14 million.
Energy transitions and impacts on society, climate and the environment
Infrastructures for energy distribution, including an integrated and digital power grid
Energy transitions and impacts on society, climate and the environment
Other relevant calls with the same topic
Funding is available for projects that generate knowledge in the field of CO2 capture and storage.
The applications must fall under the topics described in CLIMIT’s programme plan.
Applications for projects that address the following topics are particularly encouraged:
- hydrogen production from natural gas combined with CO2 capture and storage;
- biomass combined with carbon capture and storage, often referred to as BECCS (Bio Energy with CO2Capture and Storage);
- projects that contribute results that are directly applicable to the realisation of the Norwegian Longship project for CO2 capture and storage;
We will prioritise applications that include:
- recruitment positions, primarily doctoral fellowships;
- interdisciplinary collaboration;
- use of ECCSEL’s research infrastructure.
The points above will be taken into account when assessing the application’s relevance.
The total amount of funding available for knowledge-building projects and collaborative projects is NOK 60 million. The quality of the applications and a portfolio assessment will decide how we distribute the funding between the two calls. Applications for knowledge-building projects will be prioritised over applications for collaborative projects if they are otherwise considered of equal quality.
Other relevant calls with the same topic
The funding will go to projects that encompass basic research and/or applied research on issues relating to petroleum activities in open areas on the Norwegian continental shelf. Land-based facilities are also relevant to research on safety in the Norwegian petroleum industry.
Projects eligible for funding within this topic must fall under at least one of the following five areas:
- reducing greenhouse gas emissions, energy efficiency and the environment;
- subsurface understanding;
- drilling, completion, intervention and permanent plug and abandonment of wells (P&A);
- production, processing and transport;
- major accidents and working environment.
The areas are described in more detail in the Portfolio plan for Petroleum.
Across the calls for proposals Knowledge-building Project for Industry (this call), Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector, Demonstration Project for the Industrial Sector and Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges, we wish to allocate at least NOK 35 million in 2022 to projects targeting energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas emissions related to petroleum activities on the Norwegian continental shelf. In the application, you must give an account of the total emissions reduction envisaged for the technology/technologies the project intends to develop. You must also include a time perspective and framework conditions for implementing the knowledge/technology, and see this in the context of the industry’s new climate goals for 2030 and 2050.
Recommended amount of funding from the Research Council of Norway is NOK 8–16 million.
Other relevant calls with the same topic
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 Owner (research organisation) and project manager 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. Project participants who are researchers should use the CV template called "Template for CV researchers". Other project participants should use the CV template called "Template for CV".
- 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.
Grant applications that do not satisfy the above requirements will be rejected.
Applicants are free to enclose a short description of qualifications or propose up to three referees who are presumed to be qualified to review their 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.
We assess applications in light of the objectives of the application type in question and on the basis of the following criteria:
• 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
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.
Your grant application will be assessed as submitted. We will not take into account how an identical or similar grant application has been assessed previously.
You can read more about the application review process for 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.
Messages at time of print 20 May 2022, 15:03 CEST