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Funding for Research on Research and Innovation Policy

Important dates

24 Apr 2024

Open for applications

05 Jun 2024

Application deadline

November 2024

Expected funding decision to be announced

01 Jan 2025

Earliest permitted project start

01 Jul 2025

Latest permitted project start

30 Jun 2029

Latest permitted project completion date

Important dates

Last updates

30 Apr 2024

We have added a clarification that the Research Council of Norway and the Ministry of Education and Research cannot be collaboration partners.

Purpose

The purpose of this call is to provide funding for projects that can contribute to a strengthened and relevant knowledge base for the formulation and implementation of research and innovation policy among relevant actors.

About the call for proposals

Use of knowledge and interaction between research and users 

In The long-term plan for research and higher education (LTP), emphasis is placed on the need for research to be made available and put to use faster and to a greater extent than is the case today. Society is undergoing restructuring, and this entails changes in how research is conducted and used, and in the relationship between those who create and apply knowledge. 

We will support research on the interaction between research and society and industry, and how user involvement at different levels can help make research relevant and accessible to actors who will use the research, both in the public and private sectors. A relevant issue in this area is, for example, what opportunities new ways of organising research, such as social missions, provide for the involvement of users. 

We will also support research that provides more knowledge about what influences business enterprises' investment in research and development, including knowledge about the breadth of R&D activities in companies and what are decisive factors for companies choosing to invest in R&D. 

Development of research and innovation policy 

We aim to support research on how a broad-based, transformative research and innovation policy can be organised in Norway at political, strategic and executive levels. We are seeking research that problematises how coordination across policy areas can be solved in the future. 

In this context, relevant issues may be: 

  • What kind of expertise do decision-makers need? 
  • How do policy development and implementation processes take place in practice, in different political domains/cultures and at different levels? 
  • What kind of barriers and drivers do politics face? 
  • What kind of actors should be involved in policy development, and how can research and innovation policy be made more inclusive and democratic? 
  • How can and should research and innovation policy be coordinated between international, national and regional levels to meet major societal changes? 
  • How can we achieve better interaction between research, education and innovation, and more cross-sectoral cooperation and mobility at the research-performing level? 

The way in which research and innovation is conducted has changed due to digitalisation, data sharing, new ways of evaluating research and researchers, open science, new ways of funding research, the need for increased sector mobility and the development of researcher recruitment to meet the needs of society as a whole. There is a need for knowledge about these change processes and the consequences of such changes for the research and innovation system. 

Sustainable transformation of society 

In relation to the issue of policy coordination, it is increasingly important to understand the technical, economic, social and societal factors that influence the pace of restructuring. Relevant research questions can be: How do we include individuals and communities that represent different interests, and not least democratise research and innovation policy in order to create "just transition"? What are opportunities and solutions to regional problems? Another important perspective about which more knowledge is desirable is digitalisation and the conditions for green transition in the business sector. 

Priority will be given to grant applications that 

  • facilitate the direct involvement of users (such as political decision-makers, industry, the public sector and civil society) 
  • include a user panel and/or steering group with user representatives 
  • include concrete plans for user-oriented events 
  • include concrete plans for disseminating the research to users, e.g. through policy briefs in Norwegian 

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 business 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 the definition of effective collaboration in the guide for applicants
  • 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 partners 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 application, you must describe how the expertise developed under the project can be of benefit to larger user groups. 
  • The Research Council of Norway and the Ministry of Education and Research cannot be collaboration partners.

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 two 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 Post-doctoral Research 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 to enter into the project budget.    

Scope of funding 

The Research Council will provide NOK 4–8 million in funding per project under this call. 

Costs incurred by Norwegian partners 

If it is envisaged that a substantially larger share of the costs will be spent by the partners than stipulated by the requirement (for example more than 20–30 per cent), the grant application must describe how these activities contribute to the development of new knowledge and build research competence (basic and/or industrial research) that will be of benefit to broad societal groups. 

When our funding 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 international research organisations. See Calculating payroll and indirect expenses in the university and university college sector and Calculating payroll and indirect expenses for the institute 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 XX/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 assume that the research is carried out in effective collaboration as defined in our General Terms and Conditions 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 requirements relating to allocation and disbursement of funding are set out in the General Terms and Conditions 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

Policy and government administration areas

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. 

All attachments must be in PDF format. 

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.  

Applications that do not satisfy the above requirements will be rejected. 

Optional attachments 

  • 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. 

We will not consider documents and websites linked to in the application, or attachments other than those specified above. Be careful to upload the correct attachment type, as there are no technical restrictions on what kind of templates it is possible to upload in the application form. 

Assessment criteria

Grant applications will be assessed in the light of the objective of the call and 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.

We will prioritise projects 

  • with a female project manager when the applications are otherwise considered to be on a par 

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 portfolio board. 

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. 

We will also base decisions by the portfolio board on an overall assessment of the portfolio. 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 
  • any changes in the ministries' financial or scientific framework for the award 

The portfolio board will have a resolution meeting in November. We will publish the results of the application review process after the meeting. 

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.  

Create application

Applications for Funding for Research on Research and Innovation Policy should be created on My RCN Web. Application templates should be filled and uploaded in the application.

Create application

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