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National initiative for equipment and infrastructure:

NOK 100 million awarded for advanced research equipment

Seven top-quality projects have been awarded grants under this year’s allocation for advanced scientific equipment. Twenty-two applicants for funding of large-scale research infrastructure have been invited to submit a final proposal to the Research Council.

A total of NOK 400 million is being allocated under the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure this year. First off the starting block is a group of seven recipients, who have been granted roughly NOK 100 million in total in the category of advanced scientific equipment (with investment costs in the range of NOK 2-30 million).

Two-phase assessment process for large-scale infrastructure

Applications for funding of large-scale research infrastructure (with investment costs in the range of NOK 30-200 million) undergo a two-phase assessment process. Of the roughly 50 applications submitted in October 2010, 22 projects have now been invited to submit a revised, final proposal. The decision regarding grant awards will be taken in October. A link to a list of the project titles and applicant institutions may be found in the box to the right.

National initiative for scientific equipment

The Research Council is responsible for allocating funding for nationally-oriented scientific equipment which is of major interest to Norway as a whole and which should only be established in one or very few places in the country. This equipment will be made available to all the relevant research groups and industries in Norway – not only to the groups located at the institution housing the actual equipment.

The seven proposals for advanced scientific equipment granted funding in this round are:

NorNet - Norwegian Infrastructure for Network Experimentation
Data Simula Research Laboratory, together with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and UNINETT, will develop an infrastructure to test network solutions. It is not currently possible, nor is it sound practice, to conduct such testing within existing networks which are in production and provide network services. The investment will also allow experimentation with new solutions for more efficient and comprehensive utilisation of network infrastructure in Norway. Experiments such as these are too wide-ranging to be conducted in existing testbeds.

EBAS Online - A Global Harmonized Database for Atmospheric Composition Research
Illustrative photo: Shutterstock For decades the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU) has been storing atmospheric data from a large number of international monitoring activities and research projects in its EBAS database. Now this database is to be upgraded to EBAS Online, with superior archiving solutions and improved accessibility for users worldwide.

Advanced Mobile Broad-band Seismic Stations
Geosystem This infrastructure for monitoring the processes and movements in and beneath the earth’s crust will enable Norway’s geophysicists to cover Norwegian and Arctic territories on a par with other countries’ monitoring capabilities in their territories. The infrastructure is hosted by Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR).

Lab for Climate Testing, ZEB: Development of energy-efficient buildings for Norway
House SINTEF Building and Infrastructure has been granted funding for its laboratory facilities for development of building envelopes. The institution applied for funding for two units: a Rain and Wind Apparatus and a Wind Load Apparatus.


Pilot Plant Facilities for Food Processing at Campus Ås

Orange Food is a high-priority research area in Norway, and the food industry is the country’s second-largest. A brand-new research facility – designed for the entire production chain from raw materials to finished food products and packaging – will replace the old pilot facility at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and Nofima Mat in Ås, Norway.

Norwegian Centre for X-ray Diffraction, Scattering and Imaging REsource Centre X-rays (RECX)
Beams Two of Norway’s leading X-ray research groups, at the University of Oslo (UiO) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) respectively, will collaborate on creating a single national platform for advanced research related to X-rays. Some of the funding will be invested in X-ray tomography equipment, the first of its kind in the Nordic countries. In addition, equipment for X-ray diffraction and scattering will be upgraded to international standards. This will open up new opportunities for research in a number of fields, including chemistry, physics, materials and nanotechnology, pharmacology and medicine. The investment will enable Norwegian researchers to make optimal use of international synchrotron and neutron facilities.

A National Subcellular Imaging Platform
Blood sample Microscopy and imaging techniques – fundamental analytical tools in modern molecular biological research – require costly, advanced equipment that typically becomes obsolete after 10-15 years. Rather than each research group attempting on its own to secure the funding needed to keep pace with such rapid technological advances, the research community has engaged in national task-sharing for the past several years. The Oslo-NorMIC technology platform, under the National Programme for Research in Functional Genomics in Norway (FUGE), is one of several nodes in a network comprising a national platform for imaging technologies. Now the capabilities of this platform, which is hosted by the University of Oslo (UiO), are being shored up to make it more comprehensive.

Written by:
Ingvil Bjørnæs/Else Lie. Translation: Darren McKellep/Victoria Coleman
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