In its initial input on the research budget for 2013, the Council focuses particular attention on research on climate change, the bioeconomy, the health and welfare of the elderly, and environmental technology as well as on investment in research infrastructure. Arvid Hallén (Photo: Leiv-Rune Gully) Nearly 60 per cent of the proposed increase – or NOK 580 million – is planned distributed among these main priority areas.
“Research is critical to society’s ability to tackle the major challenges facing us in these areas,” says Director General of the Research Council, Arvid Hallén.
New to the priority line-up are the bioeconomy and the health and welfare of the elderly, while the other three areas are well known from similar budget inputs in previous years.
The five priority areas for 2013
Climate change will require adaption
Society must adapt to a rapidly-changing climate both nationally and globally.
More knowledge about the impacts of climate change is needed if we are to develop effective adaptation measures. Fully understanding these impacts requires greater insight into the climate system.
The Research Council has proposed an increase of NOK 90 million for activities relating to climate change and sectoral challenges.
Green technological fulture
Comprehensive research on developing renewable energy resources and climate-friendly technology as well as raising energy efficiency is required to solve the energy-related and environmental challenges facing society.
Relevant research topics include low-carbon sea, land and air transport solutions and environmentally sound exploration and recovery of petroleum reserves on the Norwegian continental shelf. The focus on environmental technology is a key component of the basis for green growth in the Norwegian business sector.
The Research Council has proposed an increase of NOK 135 million for activities relating to environmental technology.
Sustainable industrial development and the bioeconomy
The bioeconomy comprises the sustainable production and conversion of biomass into a range of food, health, fibre and industrial products and energy. Climate change, food scarcity and dependence on fossil energy accentuate the need for industrial development based on the sustainable utilisation of renewable, biological resources.
More knowledge is needed about how to take full advantage of the potential of the bioeconomy. Research activities must be targeted towards marine resources in particular, as well as bio-based industry in general.
The Research Council has proposed an increase of NOK 115 million for activities relating to Norway in the bioeconomy.
Active and healthy for many years
The proportion of elderly people in the population is growing. This in turn is generating a need for more research on illnesses that primarily affect older patients and for better knowledge about changes in the demand for care services. The quality and efficiency of public health, care and welfare services must be improved. This can be achieved with the help of innovation and new welfare technology, among other things.
Research in this area must also identify the conditions and instruments required to ensure adequate capacity and expertise in the health and welfare sectors.
The Research Council has proposed an increase of NOK 140 million for activities relating to “Active and healthy for many years”.
Highly advanced scientific equipment a must
Despite increased investment in research infrastructure in Norway in the past two years, there is still a pressing need for advanced equipment for use in health, climate, environmental and energy research. More resources are also needed to fund participation in European infrastructure facilities.
Modern scientific equipment plays an essential role in ensuring quality in research and is part of the foundation for solving major research and societal challenges.
The Research Council has proposed an increase of NOK 100 million for investments relating to scientific equipment and research infrastructure.
(Illustrations and Illustrative photos: Shutterstock)