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The past decade has seen major changes in the funding of research infrastructure of national importance. One of the objectives of the Norwegian Government’s Long-term plan for research and higher education 2015–2024 is to provide the best researchers and students with world-class research infrastructure and to strengthen funding of infrastructure based on strategic assessments and priorities. The Government has subsequently implemented an ambitious and predictable escalation plan of increases in the annual allocations to the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure (INFRASTRUKTUR), which per 2018 has an annual budget of nearly NOK 740 million.

The National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure was launched in 2009 as part of following up the white paper on research and the Research Council’s national strategy for research infrastructure, Tools for Research. The National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure is funded by the Ministry of Education and Research to contribute to a well­functioning research system that supplies high-quality research, develops knowledge for dealing with key challenges to society and the business sector, fosters dynamic interaction nationally and internationally, and creates a framework for learning, application and innovation. Funding of high-quality research infrastructure is also intended to enhance internationalisation and recruitment.

The National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure helps to provide the Norwegian research community with access to infrastructure that is necessary at any given time for:

  • carrying out research of high international quality;
  • achieving a high degree of institutional cooperation and national task distribution;
  • expanding international cooperation;
  • ensuring open access for the use and reuse of research data.

The international FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship

The international FAIR Principles have been formulated as a set of guidelines for the reuse of research data. The acronym FAIR stands for findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.  Research data must be of quality that makes them accessible, findable and reusable. The concept interoperable entails that both data and metadata must be machine-readable and that a consistent terminology is used.

Kilde: Wilkinson, Mark D. mfl. (2016) "The FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data management and stewardship". Scientific Data.3

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Knowledge needs

Research helps to develop knowledge for dealing with key challenges to society and the business sector.  Access to the latest tools will enable the research community to comply with society’s need for increased sustainability and more innovation and restructuring through efficient, high-quality research activities. Up-to-date infrastructure also creates a better foundation for researchers from various disciplines to use the infrastructure and collaborate on interdisciplinary projects. Increasingly, the competitiveness of the business sector is tied to expertise and technology developed in close cooperation with internationally leading academic environments with access to modern research facilities. Similarly, the development of services in the Norwegian public sector is contingent on high- quality research.

Attractive and efficient

In research as in other endeavours, proper tools are essential to achieving targeted, efficient operations. Modern, up-to-date research infrastructure promotes high quality in Norwegian research, facilitates cooperation with the best international research groups, and inspires talented students to pursue careers in research. Top-notch research infrastructure, combined with outstanding researchers, is essential to the successful implementation of innovation projects in the industrial and public sectors. This may be a critical factor when domestic and international companies are considering whether to implement their research activities in Norway.

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