A total of 43 universities, university colleges, research institutes and key interest organisations have submitted viewpoints on the strategy document.
“The Executive Board of the Research Council is particularly pleased that so many have taken part in the review process and provided input that is clearly based on a great deal of thought. We would like to thank everyone for all of the comments and input we have received,” says Mr Hallén.
“The broad-based response illustrates the widespread interest in the activities of the Research Council, and reminds us of how important the dialogue with the entire research community is,” he emphasises.
The Director General of the Research Council thanks all the respondents for their input on the proposed main strategy. “It will help us to draw up a better, more targeted strategy,” he says. (Photo: Sverre Jarild)
Support for the main lines of thinking
The vast majority of the comments supported the proposed objectives for the strategy:
- enhanced quality and innovation in research;
- sustainable solutions to the grand societal challenges;
- a more research-oriented private and public sector;
- mobilisation efforts targeted towards Horizon 2020.
At the same time, the feedback included many proposed changes and clarifications that can improve the strategy.
“It will be difficult to take all of the comments into consideration in such an overarching strategy as this. Nevertheless, the suggestions are very valuable and will be addressed in the work on revising policy memos in various areas,” says Mr Hallén.
Major areas of attention
The bodies consulted would like to see greater attention focused on interdisciplinarity and basic research and greater importance attached to open, competitive funding arenas without thematic limitations. The sustainability perspective needs to be viewed in connection with the objective of helping to solve economic, social and environmental challenges facing society.
According to the respondents, the objective of attaining a more research-oriented private and public sector mainly involves reaching out to companies and sectors that have not traditionally used research-based innovation in their renewal efforts. Relevant practice-oriented researcher competency will be particularly important to changing the current situation.
Strong incentive schemes are considered a key instrument for boosting Norwegian participation in the international research arena. At the same time, improved schemes for personal mobility are being sought.
“All of these are important areas that we will consider closely as we finalise the strategy,” Mr Hallén asserts.
The completion of the strategy will be one of the first major tasks of the Research Council's new Executive Board that took office on 1 January.
Read a more detailed summary and comments and suggestions to the main strategy here (in Norwegian).
Cooperation with the research community
Some of the bodies see it as problematic that the Research Council focuses so strongly on its role as a change agent in Norwegian research in the draft strategy. They believe that too little consideration has been given to the autonomy and academic freedom of the institutions and their role as independent strategic actors.
“The Norwegian research system must consist of autonomous institutions with great capacity to develop strategies and set their own priorities. This is completely consistent with the thinking underlying the strategy, and it must be made very clear in the final version of the document. At the same time, the Research Council must have a strong enough role to be able to initiate or support change, both because we administer a large amount of resources and because our mission vis-à-vis society entails developing Norwegian research and creating cohesiveness in overall national research activity,” concludes the Director General.