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Infrastructure and energy top the list

The Research Council received a total of 733 grant applications in response to 29 calls for proposals.

The largest call for proposals was issued by the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure (INFRASTRUKTUR), which had a budget of NOK 300 million to offer. Some 70 grant applications were submitted to the INFRASTRUKTUR initiative.

Collaboration on infrastructure

Launched in 2008, the INFRASTRUKTUR initiative follows up the priorities set out in Norway’s national strategy for research infrastructure, which was revised this year.

This year’s call for proposals is the third consecutive annual call issued under the initiative. There has been a marked decrease in the number of applications received compared to previous calls, which is a positive development according to Senior Adviser Solveig Flock at the Research Council.

“The universities have been good about defining which infrastructure projects they wish to prioritise. In addition, the institutions have become better at establishing collaboration agreements in order to realise larger-scale projects and achieve effective task-sharing. This has resulted in fewer, but higher quality grant proposals – which is precisely what we have recommended.”

“NOK 300 million is available for allocation, and we received applications seeking a total of roughly NOK 3 billion. Clearly, there is still a huge need for more modern and competitive infrastructure in Norway.”

Funding allocations will be completed in November 2013. Grants will be awarded on the basis of an ordinary scientific review as well as a strategic review by the Research Council administration.

Grant application processing under the National Financing Initiative for Research Infrastructure.

Photo: Sverre Jarild Programme coordinator Ane Torvanger Brunvoll (at left) is very pleased with the number of applications received in response to the first call under the Research Council’s new large-scale programme for energy research – ENERGIX. Shown here with the chair of the ENERGIX programme board, Anne Jorun Aas. (Photo: Sverre Jarild)

ENERGIX replaces RENERGI

The ENERGIX programme – the new large-scale programme for energy research – received 71 grant applications in response to its very first call. A total of NOK 125 million is available for allocation.

The programme is primarily a continuation of the programme Clean Energy for the Future (RENERGI), with a few changes. Programme coordinator Ane Torvanger Brunvoll is very pleased with the number of applications received. “Given the backdrop of economic uncertainty, a major fall in the price of solar power and the discussion on surplus power in Norway, there has been some question about how much capacity the industry is willing to devote to renewable energy production. At the same time, the focus on raising energy efficiency is growing and the framework conditions are changing.”

The next two funding announcements under the ENERGIX programme are planned for February 2013 and will encompass Researcher Projects and Knowledge-building Projects for Industry. Basic strategic research within the thematic scope of the programme is conducted under Researcher Projects, while Knowledge-building Projects involve cooperation between research institutions and the industry.

Important telephone helpline

The Research Council sets up a dedicated telephone helpline for applicants during the final few days before a deadline for applicants who run into problems submitting their applications.

Nina Hedlund is responsible for grant application administration at the Research Council and confirms that the telephone helpline is a lifesaver for many last-minute applicants. “There were plenty of calls on the helpline, which shows how useful the service is. Around half of the applications were revised and resubmitted in the last two hours before the deadline expired. As much as 15 per cent were submitted in the last 10 minutes.”

Frequently asked questions about the application process.

 

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