8 million euros to sustainable research in practice

Twelve international research projects have received funding from the Global Research Council (GRC) to develop solutions contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Norwegian researchers are involved in five of these projects.

– This is the first time the Global Research Council has issued a joint call supporting projects aimed at developing solutions for common challenges we all face. The projects will develop concrete, sustainable, and green products, services, and processes," says Mari Sundli Tveit, Chief Executive of the Research Council of Norway.

In the 12 projects, researchers from at least three countries, often more, collaborate. Together with businesses, governments, and civil society, they aim to develop or improve tools that can help achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. The Research Council of Norway is co-financing the projects.

Projects with Norwegian Partners:

  • OsloMet's Project: Norwegian partners from OsloMet are involved in a project using big data to better understand the quality of life for vulnerable groups in cities. This knowledge is crucial for promoting fair urban development. With more than half of the world's population living in cities and the proportion increasing rapidly, there is a significant need to understand how cities and urbanization can reduce social inequality and ensure sustainability.
  • University of Bergen's Project: Another project, involving researchers from the University of Bergen, explores how small fish can contribute to achieving the UN's SDGs on zero hunger, good health and well-being, and life below water. Eating small fish is much more sustainable than consuming larger species and is equally nutritious. However, small fish are not sufficiently recognized as part of global food security and are often absent from strategies to ensure a nutritious diet.
  • NMBU's Project: In a third project, researchers from, among others, NMBU, focus on securing water and managing water systems within agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. The project aims to develop knowledge to promote increased entrepreneurship and a more circular economy. The company Biomar is also a partner in the project.
  • E-VIBES Project: Researchers at SINTEF, along with a mining company in Chile, are developing an instrument to harness energy from the Earth's vibrations. These vibrations are recorded daily, whether natural or caused by human activities like mining. The project aims to develop systems that convert mechanical energy from vibrations into electrical energy. The instrument will be tested in the city of Camarones in Chile, a city with significant poverty. The energy will be used for lighting in schools and charging points, contributing to achieving the UN's Sustainable Development Goals on clean energy for all and sustainable cities and communities.
  • NILU's Project: Researchers at NILU, together with partners from Switzerland, China, and Chile, are participating in a project addressing air pollution, a significant health hazard in urban environments. The project will use advanced sensor networks and modeling techniques to map and analyze air quality in three cities in Chile and China. The data will be essential for guiding residents to minimize exposure to harmful pollutants, thereby improving health and well-being in urban areas.

More information about Global Research Council

The Research Council of Norway, along with ten other research councils from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America, issued a call for approximately 8 million euros under the GRC. The deadline was in May 2023. The funded projects are based on research conducted or completed in 2017 or later.

The Research Council of Norway contributed 20 million NOK to the call. The funds are allocated to projects with Norwegian research organizations as project owners. Projects must be organized as consortia with partners from at least three, and a maximum of six, different countries participating in the call. The National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa  served as the secretariat for the call and conducted the application processing.

The annual meeting of the GRC takes place in Interlaken, Switzerland, from May 28-30. The GRC is a virtual organization comprising the leaders of research councils worldwide, dedicated to promoting data sharing and best practices for high-quality collaboration.

Mari Sundli Tveit, Chief Executive of the Research Council of Norway and a GRC board member, participates in the annual meeting in Interlaken. This year's theme is sustainability and research.

Each year, the GRC issues a Statement of Principles. This year, the GRC emphasizes three perspectives: the need for increased focus on research for sustainable development, how research itself must become sustainable, and how the research system must function to ensure that the research conducted leads to societal changes.

The GRC's annual meeting also features side events. One addresses effective multilateral cooperation, which the call contributes to. Another side event focuses on developments in research evaluation. Sundli Tveit will also hold several bilateral meetings with other countries, both as President of Science Europe and as head of the Research Council of Norway.

The worldwide growth of public support for research has enabled countries large and small to work together across borders. Collaboration can improve the quality of science, avoid unnecessary duplication, provide economies of scale, and solve problems that can only be addressed through cooperation. Research funders have a responsibility for these goals on behalf of the research communities.

The GRC's objectives are to

  1. improve communication and collaboration between funding councils;
  2. promote best practices for high-quality research funding and collaboration;
  3. serve as a forum for regular meetings between research council leaders;
  4. respond to opportunities and address issues of common interest to support research and education;
  5. be a resource for institutions aiming to build a world-class research landscape;
  6. explore mechanisms that support the global research system.

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