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Norway’s national strategy for research infrastructure 2018-2025

This strategy is a revision of the first version of Tools for Research published in 2012.


The Government’s and Research Council’s National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure (INFRASTRUKTUR) has thus far provided funding for roughly 100 research infrastructures. These infrastructures will serve a wide range of research groups, many of which are international leaders in their field and contribute to Norwegian innovation in key areas of society – such as environment-friendly energy, technology for future Norwegian industrial products, and improved health. Access to top-calibre research infrastructure promotes quality in Norwegian research and cooperation with the best international research groups, as well as inspires students to pursue careers in research.

Most infrastructures are established as collaborative projects involving multiple research institutions and many are part of a larger-scale European collaborative effort. Some of the infrastructures are databases, for compiling data on everything from medieval texts to climate development to genetic information on humans, animals and plants. Other infrastructures comprise advanced scientific equipment varying in size from small-scale equipment components to large-scale laboratory facilities. Investments in electronic infrastructure (e-infrastructure) for high-performance computing and storage of vast amounts of data are essential to carrying out research accurately and efficiently in a number of disciplines.

Many of the recommendations set out by the Research Council in the first version of this strategy have been realised under the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure. The Research Council has implemented the strategy using funding award processes in which a competition based on scientific merit is combined with an overall assessment of strategic importance.

The national strategy for research infrastructure, Tools for Research, is to be revised on a regular basis in response to changes in national priorities and the needs specified by the research institutions. This 2018 version of Tools for Research is the result of such an update process. This document sets out the guidelines for funding of research infrastructure by the Research Council and provides recommendations to the ministries and the R&D institutions. This version of Tools for Research devotes more attention to data infrastructures as there is an increasing need for such infrastructures in most fields and there are challenges involved in ensuring their sustainable operation. Furthermore, the strategy’s objectives have been updated in keeping with the Research Council’s main strategy, Research for Innovation and Sustainability 2015‒2020. Otherwise, this updated strategy is by and large a continuation of previously defined priority areas and principles for distribution of tasks between the stakeholders and the award of Research Council allocations.

The need to establish new and upgrade existing research infrastructure, which has been highlighted in the response to the Research Council’s five infrastructure-related funding announcements as well as in relevant strategy documents, is presented by individual area strategies in the Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure. The roadmap was initially published in 2010 and has since been updated every other year. The area strategies given there describe the strategic basis for the Research Council’s thinking and priority-setting with regard to research infrastructure. The roadmap identifies major research infrastructures of national importance, including those granted funding and projects of very high quality that have not yet been funded, and is designed as a guide for allocating agencies such as the ministries. The roadmap supports the recommendations set out in Part 1 to uphold the annual funding level from 2018 in the years ahead. The Research Council will continue to give priority to investments in research infrastructure that promote (1) the highest-quality research, particularly within national priority areas, (2) good national task-sharing, (3) good international task-sharing, (4) infrastructures for accessibility and sharing of data, and (5) a balance between new establishment and renewal of outdated research infrastructure.

John-Arne Røttingen
Chief Executive, The Research Council of Norway


Written by:
Translation: Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann
Last updated: