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Collaborative Project to Meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges

Important dates

20 Dec 2022

Date call is made active

15 Feb 2023

Application submission deadline

01 Jul 2023

Earliest permitted project start

01 Dec 2023

Latest permitted project start

30 Nov 2027

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates

Last updates

06 Jan 2023

On the basis of the temporary grant letter for 2023 from the Norwegian government, the topic of research on carbon turnover and storage in agricultural and forest soils has been excluded from this call.

Purpose

The purpose of this call is to develop new knowledge and generate competence needed by society or trade and industry 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.

About the call for proposals

Up to NOK 825 million is available for both basic and applied research activities in Collaborative Projects to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges. Below you will find descriptions of the research topics for which funding can be sought. Please tick the topic your application concerns in the grant application form. Please note that the funding available within each topic may be reduced due to changes in the state budget. This means that we may not be able to allocate as much funding as originally planned.

Applicants are advised to consult our Guide for Applicants for answers to key questions.

See the recordings from our webinar for applicants.

If you applied for funding in 2022, you should pay special attention to the following changes:

  • The project manager's professional competence and suitability will be assessed by peers. The project manager must be able to document knowledge and competence within the field and project management.
  • If the partners' participation is significantly higher than the participation requirement, the activities must be described in the project description to ensure that they are in accordance with the purpose and characteristics of the call.
  • The project description template has been updated with a new table to clarify the partners' roles and participation. The new template must be used.

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 15 February 2023), a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal or a Researcher Project for Young Talents (thematic priority calls with deadline 8 February 2023) or Researcher Project for Young Talents (FRIPRO) (deadline 15 March 2023).

It will be possible to create and fill in an application form from 20 December (date postponed from 14 December). See our video tutorial that tells you how to fill in the application form (in Norwegian).

This call for proposals constitutes a funding scheme that is notified to the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) and must be practiced in compliance with the EEA state aid rules.

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

We reserve the right to make possible changes to the call after we have received our letter of allocation from the Norwegian government for 2023.

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 industry 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 in accordance with the Project Owner’s strategies.

Requirements relating to project managers

There are no formal requirements for the project manager’s qualifications, but the project manager must document knowledge and expertise in the relevant field and in project management. Peer reviewers will assess the project manager’s professional expertise and suitability.

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 15 February 2023), a Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal or a Researcher Project for Young Talents (application deadline of 8 February 2023 for the two 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 industry 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 industry 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 project must be carried out in effective collaboration, which means that all partners must actively contribute to the planning and follow-up of the project. Everyone must also contribute to spreading the results and ensuring that new knowledge is used.
  • It is required that minimum 10 percent of the project total costs must be used by the partners in the project. The guide describes this as the ‘participation requirement’.
  • 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.

Roles in the project

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.

The Project Owner and collaborating partners cannot be in a position where they can exercise so-called controlling influence over other collaborating partners or subcontractors in the project. Nor can a subcontractor exercise controlling influence over the Project Owner or collaborating partners. By controlling influence, we mean majority ownership or other specific legal or factual conditions which result in one actor being able to control the other.

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 into 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 man-years. For postdoctoral fellowships, funding may be granted for two to four years.
  • 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 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 percent 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.

If it is planned that a significantly larger share of the costs is consumed by the partners than the requirement dictates (for example more than 20–30 percent), then you must describe how these activities contribute to developing new knowledge and building research competence (basic research and/or industrial research), which benefits broad sections of society.

The Research Council’s funding can be used to finance, in part or in full, the costs of the Project Owner and partners who are registered in the Norwegian Business Register and have economic activity in Norway. The participants are of course 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. See Calculating payroll and indirect expenses for the university and university college sector.

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).

Conditions for funding

  • The funding allocated to 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 non­economic activities.
  • The call for proposals has been approved as an aid scheme by the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA) with the reference: GBER 60/2022/R&D&I. 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.
  • You are required to submit an annual project account report documenting incurred project costs and their financing. The Research Council’s requirements relating to allocation and disbursement of funding are set out in the General Terms and Conditions for R&D Projects.

If your project is granted funding, the following must be in place when you revise your grant application:

  • The Project Owner is to draw up collaboration agreements 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 PhD and postdoctoral 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.
  • 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 industry 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.
  • For all projects that manage research data, the Project Owner must ensure that a data management plan is drawn up and uploaded when the grant application is being revised. You will find more information about what the data management plan must contain here.
  • 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

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.

 

Cross-cutting topics

Areas under pressure

Energy, transport and low emissions

Energy transition and impacts on society, climate and natureTransport and mobility

Oceans

Maritime sector

Health

Preventive measures, treatment and services

Land-based food, the environment and bioresources

Transforming of food systemsAgriculture and the food industry (Agriculture and Food Industry Research Funds)

Enabling technologies

Biotechnology

Education and competence

Education

Welfare, culture and society

Working life

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 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 2023 and 1 December 2023. Projects approved for funding that have not started within this period may lose their allocation.

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 2023.
  • CVs of the project manager and key project participants not exceeding four pages each. The CV templates 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 industry sector or other part of society.

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

Optional attachments

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. We encourage gender balance in the proposals.

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.

All attachments to grant applications must be submitted together with the application form. We do not accept attachments submitted after the application submission deadline unless we have requested additional documentation.

Assessment criteria

We assess applications in light of the objectives of the application type in question and 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 are openly accessible to ensure reusability of the research outputs and enhance reproducibility.
• 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
• The extent to which the appropriate open science practices are implemented as an integral part of the proposed project to ensure open sharing and wide distribution of research outputs.
• 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

Your grant application will be assessed as submitted. We cannot 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.

From 2023, the referees will assess applications for Collaborative and Knowledge-building Project for open science as part of the criterion Impact. Here you will find more information about assessment of open science in grant applications.

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 decision meetings of the portfolio boards will be held in the last half of June 2023. The outcome of the application processing will be published after these meetings.

Create application

Applications for Collaborative Project to Meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges should be created on My RCN Web. Application templates should be filled and uploaded in the application.

Create application

Messages at time of print 3 February 2023, 11:03 CET

Important message

For the application deadline 8 February, we manage our hotline +47 22 03 72 00 from Thursday 2 February till Tuesday 7 February at CET 08.00–15.45 and Wednesday 8 February at CET 08.00-13.00.