Over NOK 1 billion in funding for independent projects

“The FRIPRO scheme is one of our most important funding instruments for increasing the impact of Norwegian research in the form of greater success in the European Research Council, higher frequency of citation in top scientific journals – and perhaps more Nobel Prizes,” says Norwegian Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, alluding to this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology.

The FRIPRO scheme is one of our most important funding instruments for increasing the impact of Norwegian research, says Norwegian Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (Photo: Thomas Haugersveen/Statsministerens kontor) Young Research Talents
Forty-five talented young researchers have been granted project funding under this year’s funding round. This gives a percentage of applications awarded allocations of 20.6 per cent. Added to the grants from last year’s funding round, this means 109 talented young researchers are now receiving funding under the FRIPRO scheme.

“Well over one hundred of our most promising young researchers have thus been given the chance to pursue their own ideas, refine their own research directions and establish their own research groups. We are forming the foundation for excellence in research for the future. This is a crucial investment for Norway as a knowledge nation,” says Mr Isaksen.

FRIPRO budget nearly doubled since 2009
A total of NOK 1.07 billion has been allocated to new projects this year. This record-high amount is the result of an increase in allocations to the FRIPRO scheme over the national budget, and further growth is anticipated in connection with the Government’s long-term plan for research and higher education.

“The FRIPRO budget has nearly doubled since 2009. This is the result of a deliberate focus on increasing funding for independent projects and the initiation of long-term cooperation between the universities and the Research Council which has led to two joint funding initiatives,” explains Anders Hanneborg, Executive Director of the Division for Science at the Research Council.

Within this financial framework, 15.5 per cent of the amount of funding sought under the FRIPRO scheme has been awarded. This figure has remained under 10 per cent for the past four years in the framework of the ordinary FRIPRO budget. The joint funding initiatives with the universities boosted the percentage of applications awarded allocations in 2012 and 2014 to 15 and 11 per cent, respectively.

Distribution by granting committees  
A total of 159 projects have been approved for funding in this round. The projects will start in 2015, and most have a timeframe of three or four years. The funding from the three FRIPRO granting committees is distributed as follows:

FRIPRO Mobility Grants
Mobility grants have been awarded for the first time under the FRIPRO scheme. Fourteen researchers will spend two years at a research institution abroad and a final year at a research institution in Norway, and in this way will gain international experience as well as become integrated into a Norwegian institution.

“Increasing the number of Norwegian researchers conducting research stays at top institutions abroad is an overall Research Council objective. The FRIPRO mobility grant provides excellent opportunities for ambitious researchers at the very start of their careers,” says Mr Hanneborg.

Focus on ICT
To strengthen basic ICT research, NOK 54 million in additional funding was made available for ICT projects under the activity FRINATEK. Of this, NOK 24 million was earmarked for follow-up of the subject-specific evaluation of ICT research in Norway and has been divided between three projects. The remaining NOK 30 million was earmarked for the Research Council’s new large-scale initiative on ICT research, IKTPLUSS. The list of projects that have received IKTPLUSS funding will be published before Christmas.

Distribution by application types
The approved projects are distributed by FRIPRO application type as follows:

  • 77 Researcher Projects
  • 45 Young Research Talents
  • 23 Personal Post-doctoral Research Fellowships
  • 14 FRIPRO Mobility Grants

In addition, 22 applications for Support for Events were approved for funding.

Gender distribution among project managers for Researcher Projects is 21 women and 56 men, and 21 women and 24 men for Young Research Talents. Personal Post-doctoral Research Fellowships were awarded to 10 women and 13 men, and FRIPRO Mobility Grants to 10 women and 4 men.

Altogether, 1 052 applications seeking a total of NOK 6.91 billion were processed.

 

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