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Based on the information discussed above, this strategy proposes the following recommendations: NORMAP (Photo: Siri Lader Bruhn, Forskningsrådet)

Recommendations for the ministries:


Maintain an annual budget for investments and remain flexible for increasing needs 

The large number of applications received in response to funding announcements under the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure, and the very high quality of many of these, shows that there is both great potential and unmet needs regarding national research infrastructure in Norway. In some areas there is a need to establish new infrastructure, and there will be an ongoing need to upgrade existing infrastructure to ensure that the Norwegian research community has the equipment needed to achieve adequate quality and efficiency.

As of 2018, the annual allocation from the Ministry of Education and Research is nearly NOK 740 million. Based on a long-term ambition to maintain this annual funding level, the Research Council has proposed that future budgets continue at the 2018 level in its input to the update of the Government’s Long-term plan for research and higher education.

It is important that Norway maintains its investment volume in national research infrastructure in the coming years. Some of the investments are expected to cover operating costs. Long-term funding is critical to maintaining strategic room to manoeuvre that will benefit Norwegian research over time.

Open access to the use and reuse of research data requires specially adapted research infrastructure. The needs for infrastructure to manage and make data accessible are increasing in most fields. There are also substantial costs associated with operating knowledge-based data infrastructures, given the continual need to develop these to meet the needs of researchers and make it possible to use collected data. Addressing the challenges involved in data management means strengthening national infrastructure. This should be done in cooperation with corresponding international systems and structures when it is possible and appropriate. It is also important to establish mechanisms that help to ensure that the data infrastructure needs of the respective fields are aligned with other research funding for that field.

The enormous increase in data collection, the growing focus on data-driven research, and advancements in data analysis tools are generating a substantially greater need for high-performance computing and storage and accessibility of large data volumes. These data are being generated experimentally and computationally, or collected from sources outside the traditional domains of research. The large amounts of data enable research in new areas, while more efficient high performance computing moves some of the research from the lab to the computer. One ramification of this development is a significantly greater need for e-infrastructure that will surely exceed the framework of current funding levels.

Utilise the resources found on the Norwegian roadmap

Drawing up the Norwegian Roadmap for Research Infrastructure has given the Research Council a tool for presenting major research infrastructure projects that have been quality-assured through a rigorous application review process. The roadmap presents the strategic assessments and priorities in the various areas, placing selected projects in a more strategic context. The ministries will be able to draw benefit from the Research Council’s efforts in assessing and quality-assuring proposed projects if they target their individual investments towards projects on the roadmap. 


Recommendations for the R&D institutions:


Prepare detailed plans for managing their role as hosts

Hosting a national research infrastructure involves taking on a big responsibility and in many cases there are financial ramifications. Potential host institutions should draw up detailed plans of how the infrastructure to be established will be administered, made accessible and operated in the long term. Host institutions should make certain that there are qualified personnel with specific responsibilities for day-to-day operations and that the infrastructure is accessible to all relevant users, including those outside the specific institution.

Establishing and operating data infrastructures entails assuming national responsibility for accessibility and secure storage of research data, as well as a commitment to develop and adapt the infrastructure for the relevant user groups. Furthermore, it is important to ensure that data can be safeguarded and managed in a long-term perspective. This means that the institutions must assess the financial commitment and consider business models for long-term, sustainable operation in which the relevant user groups and /or user institutions contribute funding. To ensure sustainability and the support of the research community, it is vital to establish both national and international institutional cooperation. Data infrastructures being established or further developed should strive to build upon existing solutions, technology and networks whenever possible.

Make the costs associated with the infrastructure visible

Research institutions are encouraged to have financial systems in place that distinguish all costs associated with the research infrastructure, including operating costs and depreciation costs related to infrastructure procured by the R&D institution itself. These costs should as far as possible be allocated to the R&D projects that are using the infrastructure and clearly specified in the project budgets. In this way, research funders, including the Research Council, can cover infrastructure-related costs for the individual projects. Expenses related to the use of research infrastructure are defined as approved costs in grant applications for Research Council funding. Research institutions are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. 

Prioritise research infrastructure within the framework of the basic allocation

Research institutions must continue to make room for new investments in and upgrades and operation of research infrastructure within the parameters of their own budgets.  


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