Continued growth in medical and health science research

The report on investment in medical and health science research was prepared by the Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education (NIFU) on commission from the Research Council of Norway.

From 2011 to 2013, the overall growth in this research field in the Norwegian higher education sector was eight per cent, while the nominal increase in hospital research was a sizable 23 per cent. In the same period there was a decrease of more than NOK 300 million (a nearly 22 per cent nominal decrease) in private sector-funded medical and health science research as well as a smaller reduction at research institutes.

The percentage of women professors in medical and health sciences is relatively high compared to other disciplines.

High ratio of women

Women comprised 58 per cent of Norwegian medical and health science research personnel in 2013, while the overall ratio of women at universities, university colleges and research institutes was 45 per cent.

In 2013 35 per cent of the professorship positions in medical and health sciences were held by women. This is ten percentage points higher than the overall figure for Norwegian professorships.

Most research fellows funded by higher education institutions

In 2013 the basic state allocations to universities and university colleges comprised the key funding source for research fellows in medical and health sciences. This funding financed 36 per cent of the research fellowship positions.

Nearly 25 per cent of the research fellowship positions were financed by regional health trusts and roughly 30 per cent by other sources, including the Norwegian Cancer Society, the Norwegian ExtraFoundation for Health and Rehabilitation (which finances research on physical and mental health), and other medical funds and organisations.

The Research Council of Norway funded 11 per cent of doctoral research fellows and 25 per cent of post-doctoral research fellows in medical and health sciences in 2013.

Growing trend throughout Scandinavia

Roughly one-third of R&D resources at Scandinavian universities and university colleges goes to medical and health science research, a figure that has been increasing steadily for over ten years.

Among the Nordic countries, Sweden invests the most public resources in medical and health science research, but the difference in investment between Sweden, Norway and Denmark is small. Finland stands out among the Nordic countries in that its R&D expenditures in the field declined.

Norway was the Nordic country with the greatest rise in the number of medical doctorates awarded from 2000 to 2013. Norway also had the highest ratio of international students (22 per cent) among its medical doctoral candidates in 2013.


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