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Collaborative Project to Meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges

We will have new portfolios from 1 January 2024. The thematic areas in our calls reflect the new portfolios. You will therefore find that some research topics lie under new thematic priority areas. Under this call, this applies in particular to the following: 

  • Research topics previously under thematic area Oceans: 
    • Marine is located under the thematic area Climate and environment 
    • Aquaculture is under the thematic area Food and bioresources 
    • Maritime is located under the thematic area Energy and transport 
  • The research topic Culture (formerly under Welfare, culture and society) is located under Welfare and education 
  • The research topic Petroleum is under the thematic area Energy and transport 

We reserve the right to make changes to the call for proposals after we have received the letter of allocation for 2024. 

Important dates

24 Jan 2024

Open for applications

13 Mar 2024

Application deadline

01 Oct 2024

Earliest permitted project start

01 Apr 2025

Latest permitted project start

31 Mar 2029

Latest permitted project completion date

Important dates

Last updates

06 Mar 2024

Announced funding for the topic Maritime has been changed from NOK 80 million to NOK 85 million.

Requirements regarding costs covered for partners that are not research organisation have been removed.

Purpose

The purpose of the funding is to encourage research organisations to collaborate with relevant actors from the industry sector and society in order to develop new knowledge and build research competence that is necessary to address important societal challenges. We require you to collaborate with at least two relevant actors from outside the research sector. 

About the call for proposals

Through this call, we support projects that, in binding collaboration between R&D actors and actors outside the research sector, develop new knowledge that is needed to meet important societal challenges.  

Through this call we support both basic and applied research. 

In addition to this call, we have four others with a deadline in March that are aimed at research organisations. The five calls for proposals are the three thematic priority Researcher Project calls with a deadline of 6 March 2024 (Researcher Project for Early Careers, Researcher Project for Scientific Renewal and Large Interdisciplinary Researcher Project) and the two calls with deadline 13 March 2024 (Knowledge-building Projects for Industry and Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges). The thematic texts under this call provide information about which of the other calls may be of relevance to each thematic area.   

We therefore recommend that you also review any other relevant calls for proposals to see which one is most suitable for your project. Please note that we do not move applications between calls for proposals, and that it is therefore important to apply for the correct call. 

Please also note that you can only serve as project manager on one application for this and our four other calls with deadline in March. This limitation does not apply to FRIPRO's ongoing calls for proposals. It is therefore possible both to apply to one of the five calls above, and to the FRIPRO calls. 

This call for proposals constitutes a funding scheme that is notified to the EFTA Surveillance Authority, ESA, and must be practised in accordance with the EEA state aid rules. Read more about state aid under the heading "Conditions for allocation of funding". 

Before applying, you must familiarise yourself with "Guide to the applicant - Collaborative Project to meet Societal and Industry-related Challenges".  

The call is available in both Norwegian and English. The Norwegian call text is legally binding. 

Who is eligible to apply?

Only approved Norwegian research organisations may apply. See here for the list of approved Norwegian research organisations

Who can participate in the project?

Requirements relating to the Project Owner 

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 grant application must reflect the strategic objectives of the Project Owner. 

Requirements relating to the project manager 

The project manager's professional competence and suitability to carry out the project will be assessed by peers. There are no formal requirements for the project manager's qualifications. 

Requirements relating to collaboration and roles in the project 

  • The project must involve at least two Norwegian partners that are not research organisations (see the guidelines for a definition). These must be partners from the industry sector or other parts of society that contribute expertise and experience and ensure that the project and its objectives address real societal and/or industry-related challenges 
  • The grant application must reflect the strategic objectives of all partners. They will also confirm this in the letters of intent.  
  • You will carry out the project in effective collaboration. See definition in the guide. 
  • In principle, the Project Owner or partners may not be in a relationship of dependency, for example through a group relationship, with a subcontractor in the project. They must operate at arm's length from these. The Project Owner and partners must also be independent of each other. This means that one cannot have controlling influence over the other. This applies both between the Project Owner and the partner, and between all partners. Read more about such dependencies here.  
  • At least 10 per cent of the project's total costs are to be used by partners that are not research organisations. The guidelines refer to this as the participation requirement.  
  • A project participant may not have multiple roles in the project, for example as partner or subcontractor. 
  • The project must have a steering group or reference group comprising the partners. 
  • The project cannot be commissioned research. In the grant application, you must describe how the expertise developed under the project can be of benefit to wider user groups.  

What can you seek funding for?

You can apply for funding to cover actual costs that are necessary to carry out the project. The Project Owner is to obtain information about costs from the project partners. These costs are to be entered in the cost plan under the relevant cost category. 

The following cost types should be used: 

  • Payroll and indirect expenses, (including research fellowships). For doctoral research fellowships, support is limited to a maximum of three full-time equivalents, and for postdoctoral fellowships, support may be awarded for three to four years.  
  • Equipment, which includes operating and depreciation costs for scientific equipment and research infrastructure necessary to carry out the project. 
  • Other operating expenses, which are costs for other activities necessary to carry out the project. Purchases from subcontractors must be specified.  

Note that the cost type Procurement of R&D services should not be used.  

If the project includes doctoral and post-doctoral research fellowships and there are specific plans for research stays abroad for these, this may be included in the application. The Research Council has also issued a separate call for Funding for Research Stays Abroad for Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellows. Here, the project manager can apply for funding for research stays abroad for research fellows participating in the project during the project period. Please note that the separate call for proposals sets out a number of requirements regarding who is eligible for support for the stay abroad  

If there are specific plans for visiting researcher stays or stays abroad for researchers participating in the project, this may be included in the application. The rules for such stays and information about rates can be found on the budget information page (see link below). 

You will find detailed and important information on the website about what the budget should contain.  

Scope of funding 

The Research Council may provide NOK 4–20 million in funding per project under this call. Some topics may have a lower upper limit. For the topics to which this applies, the upper limit will be set under the relevant topic. 

Costs incurred by Norwegian partners 

If you plan for a significantly larger share of the costs to be used 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. 

When our support goes to partners that have been issued to the Norwegian Register of Business Enterprises and carry out economic activity in Norway, this is considered state aid. The state aid rules impose restrictions on such funding. The limitations depend on the size of the enterprise and the type of research being conducted. If the application is recommended for allocation, we will ask for more information to ensure that our funding is in line with the regulations.  

Costs incurred by international partners 

The Research Council's allocation may cover costs incurred by the international research organisations. See Calculating payroll and indirect expenses in the university and university college sector.  

We cannot cover the costs of other international partners. These costs must therefore be excluded from the budget tables. The activities they will perform, as well as their costs, must nevertheless be described in the project description (under section 3.2). 

Conditions for funding 

  • Support to the research organisations goes to their non-economic activity in the form of independent research. 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 33/2024/R&D&I. If an undertaking is to receive support to cover a portion of its project costs as a partner in the project, this support must be awarded in accordance with Article 25 of the General Block Exemption Regulation for state aid (Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014). In addition, the general conditions set out in Chapter I of the Regulation must be met. 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 shall take precedence. For the same reason, the call may also be adjusted.  
  • State aid may not be awarded to an undertaking that has not fulfilled the repayment requirement pursuant to a prior decision by the EFTA Surveillance Authority/the European Commission where the aid has been declared to be illegal and incompatible with the internal market. Nor may aid be awarded to undertakings in difficulties under EEA law. 
  • We expect the research to be carried out in actual collaboration as it is defined in our General terms for R&D projects.  
  • There is a requirement for an annual project account report documenting incurred project costs and their financing. The Research Council's Assumptions for allocation and payment of support are specified in our General term for R&D projects.  

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

Reporting 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 shall be done electronically. 

Relevant thematic areas for this call

The thematic areas under this call are grouped into the thematic areas below. The topics contain special requirements and guidelines that will be given weight when assessing grant applications. 

Cross-cutting topics

Areas under pressureFood, environment, climate and public health

Democracy and global development

Democracy, governance, administration and societal security

Energy and transportation

Maritime sectorTransport and mobilityEnergy transition and impacts on society, climate and nature

Food and bioresources

carbon conversion and storage in agricultural and forest soilsAquacultureAgriculture and the food industry (Agriculture and Food Industry Research Funds)Sustainable feed for farm animals in a system perspective

Enabling technologies

BiotechnologyTechnological convergenceNanotechnology/advanced materials

Welfare and education

Early childhood education and care, primary and secondary education and upper secondary education

Practical information

Requirements for this application type

You can amend and submit the application several times up to the application deadline. We recommend that you submit your application as soon as you have completed the application form and uploaded the mandatory attachments. When the application deadline expires, it is the version of the application that was submitted most recently that we will process. 

  • The grant application and all attachments must be submitted in English, with the exception of the attachment to the relevance report, which may be in Norwegian. 
  • All mandatory attachments must be included. The attachments must be in PDF format.  
  • The project must start between 1 October 2024 and 1 April 2025. Projects that have been approved for allocation, but do not start during this period, may lose their allocation. 
  • You must clearly demonstrate that the project meets the priorities described in the topic from which funding is being sought. 

Mandatory attachments 

  • A project description of maximum 11 pages, using the designated template found at the end of this call. You must use the 2024 template.  
  • CVs for the project manager and key project participants, maximum four pages each. It is mandatory to use the CV template at the end of the call. You decide which project participants are the most important. Key project participants who are researchers can use the CV template called "Template for CV researchers". Other key project participants can use the CV template called "Template for CV". 
  • Letters of intent from all partners. See an example of a letter of intent on our guide.  
  • Description of relevance on a maximum of one page. The template can be found at the end of the call.  When describing the application's relevance, we recommend that you read the relevant thematic text carefully. Uploaded as attachment type "Other". 

All requirements set out in the call must be met. Grant applications that do not satisfy the formal requirements, requirements relating to the Project Owner and requirements relating to collaboration and roles in the project, will be rejected. 

We will not consider attachments other than those specified above, or documents and websites linked to in the application. The system does not perform any technical validation on the contents of the attachments you upload, so be sure to upload the correct file for the correct attachment type. 

Optional attachment 

Please enclose proposals for up to three experts (or academic communities) who you believe have the competence to assess the application, or a brief description of the competence that you believe will be suitable for assessing it. We are not obliged to use the suggestions, but can use them when necessary. We encourage gender balance in the proposals. 

All attachments to the application must be submitted with the application. We will not accept attachments submitted after the application deadline unless we have requested additional documentation. 

Assessment criteria

We assess applications in light of the objectives of the call for proposals 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

We will consider your application as it has been submitted. 

Once the grant applications have been received, the Research Council will first check that all formal requirements have been met. Applications that do not satisfy the formal requirements will be rejected. 

In addition, grant applications that fall outside the thematic delimitations set out in the call will be rejected. Decisions to this effect are made by the individual portfolio boards. 

Where the requirements are met, we will make the grant application, with all mandatory attachments, available in an online portal for experts who individually assess the criteria 'research quality', 'impact and implementation'. The referees will then meet in thematic referee panels to reach a consensus-based assessment of the grant application for each of the three criteria. 

If all of the referee panel's assessment of all criteria is 4 or higher, the application will also be assessed by the Research Council's case officers on the basis of the criterion 'Relevance to the call for proposals'. The assessment and marks for all four criteria will be consolidated into an overall mark that indicates the merit of the application. 

The Research Council also bases its decisions by the portfolio boards on an overall portfolio assessment. This takes into account:  

  • the applications' assigned marks based on the assessments. 
  • the distribution of projects according to priority areas set out in the thematic area. 
  • the relationship between grant applications within other calls within the same thematic area. 
  • any changes in the ministries' financial or scientific framework for the award. 

Other considerations will also be taken into account by the portfolio boards under each thematic priority area. 

As a general rule, the portfolio boards will hold decision meetings after the summer of 2024. We will publish the results of the application review process after these meetings. 

On the Research Council's website, you can read more about the processing procedure for Collaborative and Knowledge-building Projects.  

See also: How we process applications.   

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