The long-term plan for research and higher education will set the course for policy development in research and higher education. In the plan, the Government expresses what is particularly important to prioritise in the coming years. The purpose is to coordinate policy across sectors and help to look far ahead in time and to ensure that policy is pursued.
The Government's long-term plan for research and higher education has a ten-year perspective, with a specification of goals and priorities for the commanding four-year period. The plan is being revised and will be produced in the fourth year in the form of a white paper that will be considered by the Storting.
For the Research Council, the long-term plan is an important governing document, together with the letter of allocation that is based on the annual national budget. The current plan contained three overarching objectives and six thematic priorities, in addition to two specific social missions. During the deliberations in the Storting, a total of three were added.

Overall objectives

The overall objectives are:

  • enhancing competitiveness and innovation capacity
  • environmental, social and economic sustainability
  • high quality and accessibility in research and higher education

The thematic priorities are:

Oceans and coastal areas

Management of Norwegian waters is based on solid knowledge. Nevertheless, there are still many aspects of the marine and coastal environment that are poorly understood, and which still require us to build knowledge and expertise. Further developing our understanding of the oceans and coastal areas is fundamental if we are to be able to manage the marine ecosystems in a sustainable way. The naval and maritime research in Norway is in several fields of value, and we have a broad portfolio in this field.


Health and care is the largest thematic research area in Norway. Norway has an alternating health industry and large research and academic environments within, among other things, life science, cancer and neuroscience. Health as a priority in the long-term plan shall promote measures within research and higher education that contribute to improving the challenges of health and care.

Climate and loss of natural diversity

If we are to secure a sustainable future, new climate and environmental friends must be developed. We need to develop more knowledge about nature-based trails and measures that are good for both the climate and nature. As one of the leading energy nations in the world, Norway has a special responsibility in this field. Read more about our activities in this area.

Enabling and industrial technologies

Enabling technologies are fundamental, advanced technology areas that facilitate the development of more efficient, profitable and sustainable solutions, products and processes. The technologies here will help realize a sustainable society through a green and digital transformation.

Societal security and civil preparedness

Community safety and preparedness is about the ability of society to prevent and manage events that threaten basic values and functions and put life and health at risk. The Government wishes to strengthen this field also through research, innovation and education.

Trust and community

The Norwegian welfare state is based on high trust between people and widespread use of community loops. Research in the field includes trust and democracy, gender equality, exclusion, valdsbruk and hate crime, as well as research on innovation in the public sector.

National missions

The model for social missions is not entirely unknown in Norway. It has been launched as a formal intervention through the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation – Horizon Europe. The idea is that relevant institutions and actors in the vast majority of social life will work together to solve concrete societal challenges in a limited area. Ideally, this should take place within a given time frame.

Research organisations will play an important role as knowledge providers. Decision-making governments at the state and municipal levels, organisations and businesses will also be necessary partners here. Knowledge development must go hand in hand with political and administrative measures. Norway participated as a full-fledged partner in five European social missions dealing with cancer, climate adaptation, sustainable cities, oceans and freshwater lakes and soil health. In addition, the Government and the Storting have identified three national social missions in the long-term plan for research and higher education: sustainable feed, inclusion of children and young people, and also green restructuring and circular economy. The first two assignments are already in a so-called design phase. It is stipulated that we shall have the secretariat function for these two. The third mission was to drive a front and keep cage.

Messages at time of print 21 May 2024, 15:45 CEST

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