Research Centre on Geopolitics

Important dates

14 Feb 2023

Åpen for søknad

15 Mar 2023


01 Jul 2023

Earliest permitted project start

01 Oct 2023

Latest permitted project start

30 Sep 2029

Latest permitted project completion

Important dates


The purpose of this call is to provide funding for one centre with the goal of strengthening Norwegian knowledge of international power relations and the positioning of major powers. The academic and geographical focus must be on China, but the research must also include analyses of how Norwegian interests and Norwegian foreign and development policy are affected.

About the call for proposals

Norwegian research environments in the field of foreign and security policy can apply to become a research centre on geopolitics.

The funding will go to high-quality applied research on foreign and security policy with an academic and geographical focus on China. Relevant research areas include:

  • major power rivalries between China, Russia, the US and regional power centres, with particular emphasis on China's role
  • China's global ambitions and how the country works to advance them. Topics such as the economy, trade, technology, energy and security policy objectives are relevant here
  • China's relationship with the outside world and the multilateral organisations, in addition to the dynamics this creates between representatives of the international rules-based system
  • analyses of relevance to Norwegian foreign and development policy

We expect research groups in the same field to cooperate on a joint grant application for one centre. However, the research groups do not necessarily have to be geographically co-located. The academic and administrative responsibility must be clearly anchored in the host institution. One of the objectives of the centre is to develop networks with other research environments both nationally and internationally.

This means working actively through the research centre to share findings and results. Close dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is also necessary in this respect. You must also disseminate your research results on an ongoing basis through policy memos and other dissemination activities.

You must appoint an advisory committee for the centre that includes international experts and key users of the research.

See also the Portfolio plan Global Development and International Relations.

You will find detailed information about Research Centre – Research Institution-based Strategic Project in the Requirements and Guidelines for a Research Institution-based Strategic Project (in Norwegian).

 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?

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.

If the application is a collaboration between several organisations, the Project Owner submits the application on behalf of all the partners.

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.
  • It is a requirement that the centre director can communicate in Norwegian.
  • You must be employed by the Project Owner.

Requirements relating to partners

The document Research Centre – Research Institution-based Strategic Project, Requirements and Guidelines (in Norwegian) 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. All partners must actively contribute to planning, following up and disseminating the results generated by the centre’s research activities and ensure that the new knowledge is taken into use.

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?

We can provide NOK 45 million in funding under this call, distributed over a six-year period. Some of these funds – NOK 15 million – come from the development cooperation budget.

The funding has been allocated to the Research Council over the development cooperation budget, and grant applications must therefore satisfy the requirements regarding the use of Official Development Assistance (ODA) funding. To meet these requirements, the grant application must seek to advance economic development or welfare in countries on the OECD Development Assistance Committee (DAC) List of ODA Recipients.

The Research Council will not award funding that constitutes state aid under this call.

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 expertise, 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.

You will find detailed and important information about what to enter in the project budget on our website.

Stays abroad for doctoral and post-doctoral fellows must be covered within the framework of the funding provided for the centre. The centre is thereby not included in the Research Council's special scheme for funding for research stays abroad for doctoral and post-doctoral fellows.

Scope of funding

We can provide funding of NOK 45 million for the centre. There are no requirements for own financing. The payments will follow the allocations from the Ministry, with a maximum annual limit of NOK 7.5 million.

Conditions for funding

Projects must commence between 1 July 2023 and 1 October 2023, and you must apply for funding from the Research Council for 2023–2029. The latest permitted completion date for the project is 31 December 2029.

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:

  • 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.
  • The Project Owner of projects that process data must prepare a data management plan in connection with the revised application. You can find more information here about Requirements for a data management plan in projects that manage data. The Project Owner organisation 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.

Reports and disbursement of funding

Funding will be disbursed in arrears, and only actual expenses entered in the institution’s accounts will be covered. All reporting takes place electronically.

The funding is paid automatically three times a year, with a maximum of NOK 7.5 million in total per year.

Relevant thematic areas for this call

Global development and international relations

International relations and foreign and security policy

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.
  • Use the standard template available for download at the end of the call.
  • All attachments must be uploaded in PDF format.

Mandatory attachments

  • a project description (maximum 20 pages)
  • the CV of the project manager (centre director)
  • the CVs of other key members of the project team

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

Optional attachments

  • Proposals for up to three referees who are considered qualified to assess the application.

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:


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.


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 planned outputs are openly accessible to ensure reusability of the research outputs and enhance reproducibility.
• 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
• 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 involvement activities targeting relevant target groups.


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.

Administrative procedures

All applications will be considered by international referees. After the panel assessment, the applications will be assessed in relation to the criterion “Relevance to the call for proposals”. The administration will then write a recommendation to the granting authority. The granting authority will make the final decision regarding the approval or rejection of grant applications.

See also: Processing applications.

We expect to announce which applications have been awarded funding in May 2023.

Messages at time of print 1 June 2023, 17:53 CEST

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