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Norway’s national strategy for research infrastructure 2012-2017

This strategy is a revision of the first version of Tools for Research published in 2008.

Teleskop At the time this strategy report went to print, some 40 research infrastructures had been granted funding thanks to government allocations and the Research Council of Norway’s National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure. These infrastructures will serve a wide range of research groups, many of which are internationally leading in their field and contribute to Norwegian innovation in key areas of society – such as clean 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 talented students to pursue a career as a researcher.  

Most of the projects awarded funding are collaborative projects involving several 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 and civil war to climate development and 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 (eInfrastructure) 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 through the establishment of the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure. The Council has implemented the strategy by establishing funding award processes in which a competition based on scientific merit is combined with an integrated assessment of strategic importance. Projects granted funding – as well as outstanding projects that did not receive grants due to financial constraints – are highlighted on the Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure (initially published in 2010). The roadmap is designed to indicate major research infrastructures of national importance, and provides a guide to funding bodies, such as the ministries.

The national strategy for research infrastructure will be revised on a regular basis in response to changes in national priorities and the needs specified by the research institutions. This strategy document, which is comprised of two parts, is the result of such an update process. Part I of the strategy (this document) discusses the guidelines for funding of research infrastructure by the Research Council and provides recommendations to the ministries and the R&D institutions.

The need to establish new and upgrade existing research infrastructure, as emerged in the wake of the Research Council’s two infrastructure-related funding announcements as well as in relevant strategy documents, is the focus of Part II. Part II presents an updated list of large-scale projects of national importance that the Research Council – after the completion two funding rounds – deems worthy of funding. However, due to the limited amount of funding available, only a few of the highest-ranked projects have received grants from the Research Council. (The Norwegian-language version of Part II provides further insights into the need for infrastructure in specific research areas, outlining in more detail the strategic basis for the Research Council’s thinking and priority-setting in this regard.)

Part II of this strategy is an updated version of the Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure. This printed version is valid for 2012. Subsequent updates to the roadmap will be incorporated into the electronic version of this strategy that is available online. The roadmap supports the strategy’s recommendations of increasing the investment volume in, and ensuring long-term funding of, research infrastructure in the years to come.  

Arvid Hallén
Director General of the Research Council of Norway

Download  Tools for Research – Part I: Norway’s national strategy for research infrastructure 2012-2017 PDF - 810 KB   

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