Timeline for grant application processing at the Research Council

Application received

After your grant application is submitted via “My RCN Web” you will be sent confirmation of receipt by email. The name of the case officer and project number will be provided later.

Preliminary administrative review

Applications that do not fulfil the formal requirements may be rejected. Applicants will be notified of the decision.

Scientific assessment

Proposals seeking funding in excess of NOK 500 000 will be assessed by external referees. Other proposals will be assessed internally within the Research Council.

Funding decisions

The final decision on funding will normally be taken by one of the Research Council’s portfolio boards. The decision is based on the referee assessments.

Notification of the outcome

Notification of the outcome is provided via “My RCN Web” and email. All applicants receive an explanation regardless of the funding decision. A list of the projects granted funding is published on our website.

Revision of grant applications

When the funding allocations have been decided, the grant recipients are asked to make specified revisions to their grant applications. Any revisions to be made will be stated in the notification letter.

Sign the contract

Projects that have been awarded funding sign a contract with the Research Council.

Timeline for grant application processing at the Research Council

How we process applications for Research Projects

How we process applications for Innovation projects in industry

Referee assessment

Most grant applications submitted to the Research Council are assessed by referees who are experts in the relevant thematic area and subject field. We recruit experts from internationally leading research and innovation circles.

Referees assess each grant application in relation to the assessment criteria. Proposals are assessed by panels comprising multiple referees. All referees are reviewed for impartiality before they are cleared to assess grant applications.

The panels provide a consensus-based assessment of each grant application. The referee assessments form the basis for the Research Council’s decision on whether to grant a project funding.

Common assessment criteria

In 2019 the Research Council introduced new assessment criteria for overall assessment of grant proposals: Excellence, Impact and Implementation.
The three criteria have been defined and adapted to accommodate the Research Council’s various application types. The criteria are structured in the same way for all application types.


  • The extent to which the proposed work is ambitious, novel, and goes beyond the state-of-the-art;
  • The quality of the proposed R&D activities.


  • Potential outcomes and impacts of the proposed research and innovation;
  • Communication and exploitation.


  • The quality of the project manager and project group;
  • The quality of the project organisation and management.

Read more about the scale of marks and assessment criteria used by the subject experts and the administration.

In addition, grant applications for some calls will be assessed for their relevance to the call for proposals. Assessment of the relevance criterion is normally carried out by the Research Council’s internal scientific advisors.


  • The relevance of the grant applications is assessed in relation to the requirements and priorities stipulated in the call for proposals.

Funding decisions

The external referees assign marks for each of the three assessment criteria and may be asked to rank the individual applications in relation to one another. Applications that are assessed in relation to the assessment criterion will receive a separate mark for this.

The Research Council’s scientific advisors will draw up a recommended ranking of the submitted grant proposals. Recommendations are based on the referee assessments, and may incorporate an assessment of relevance and an overall assessment of all the applications submitted in response to the call.

The final decision regarding the approval or rejection of grant proposals is normally taken by one of the Research Council’s portfolio boards.

The portfolio boards review the recommendation and take the final decision regarding funding allocations. The portfolio boards are responsible for ensuring that the funded proposals as a whole will lead to optimal achievement of the board’s objectives.

All applicants receive the grounds for the funding decision via “My RCN web”.
After application processing has been concluded, applicants will receive the referee panel’s assessment. A list of all referees used to review grant applications will be published on our website. A list of all projects granted funding will also be published there.

Grant applications that are awarded funding must be revised and re-submitted. In this phase, the Research Council asks grant recipients to provide an updated progress plan and budget in compliance with the specified framework, as well as to make any other required revisions to the grant proposal.

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