The survey targeting the users of the application and reporting system “My RCN Web” was conducted in late October/early November 2014 by Burson-Marsteller. A survey of the referees used by the Research Council in the assessment of grant applications was conducted at the same time.
Positive feedback from applicants and project managers
Seventy-nine per cent of the applicants and project managers said that they have a good overall impression of the Research Council. This is a negligible decrease of one per cent from the survey in 2012.
“This time around we see that the most satisfied users are applicants and project managers from private companies. Eighty-seven per cent of the respondents in this group find our application process and reporting effective,” says Nina Hedlund, head of the internal R&D group at the Research Council.
Although many respondents are satisfied with us all in all, only around 40 per cent are satisfied with our transparency and information, says Nina Hedlund. (Photo: Thomas Keilman/ Norges forskningsråd)
Referees most highly satisfied
External referees play an essential role in providing applicants seeking funding from the Research Council with a scientific assessment of their projects. A majority of these referees are not Norwegian. According to the survey, the referees are the most highly satisfied with the systems and contact with the Council.
“Ninety-eight per cent of the referees who responded to the survey have a good or very good impression of the Research Council. Many say that in a competition between the research councils in various countries they would prefer to assess grant applications for us. This is very nice feedback to get, as we are dependent on good international referees to do a good job,” says Ms Hedlund.
“Most of the referees also consider peer review to be a professional responsibility that gives them up-to-date knowledge and strengthens their academic network.”
Applicants and project managers are most satisfied with the system up to application submission and after grants have been awarded.
“The respondents think it is hard to find information about the status and progress of the applicant assessment process. They also often find the criteria for project selection to be unclear,” explains Ms Hedlund. “Although many are satisfied with us all in all, only around 40 per cent are satisfied with our transparency and information.”
“We see that we have to increase the openness of the application assessment process. We will be looking at ways to be clearer in our communication of the assessment criteria, among other things,” she says.
Research Council must stay digitally up-to-date
“In addition, expectations regarding digital services in general are growing. This means that we have to do everything in our power to keep up,” adds Ms Hedlund.
The respondents are satisfied with the structure of the application form itself, but are more critical when it comes to the possibility for several researchers to work together on the same application.
The feedback on the reporting system is unilaterally more positive than the feedback on the application process.