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Funding opportunities, evaluation systems and accountability The Norwegian model

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Title: Funding opportunities, evaluation systems and accountability The Norwegian model


1
Funding opportunities, evaluation systems and
accountability The Norwegian model
  • Else BoonSenior Adviser, International
    AffairsResearch Council of Norway
  • NATO Advanced Research WorkshopBulgarian
    Integration into European and NATO Policies
  • Best practicesSofia, 16-19 May 2005

2
Norway The traditional view
  • A cold country
  • Only 3 arable land
  • 70 consists of high plateaus and rugged
    mountains
  • A long coastline and 50.000 islands

3
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4
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5
Independence day
6
The Research Council of Norway
  • Introduction
  • Funding opportunities
  • Evaluation systems
  • Accountebility

7
The Research Council of Norway is a strategic
governmental agency
  • Adviser to the government on reseach-policy
    issues
  • Finance and stimulate public and private RD
  • Create arenas for cooperation and knowledge
    distribution

8
The Goal of the Research Council is
  • Enhanced quality in research
  • Increased research for innovation
  • Expanded dialogue between research and society
  • Increased internationalisation of Norwegian
    research
  • Do more to foster talent

9
Funding received from the ministries (2004)
Administration
The Research Fund
Ministry of Education and Research
Miscellaneous ministries
Ministry of Environment
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Ministry of Agriculture
Ministry of Petroleum and energy
Ministry of Fisheries
Total NOK 4 616 million (administration incl.)
10
Quality in focus
  • International evaluations and bibliometric data
    have focused on the quality of Norwegian research
  • A parliamentary white paper has stressed the
    importance of strengthening quality and to
    increase the total investment in research to 3
    percent of the GDP by 2010
  • Special initiatives have been taken to promote
    research on a high international level Centres
    of excellence (CoE) and Young Investigator
    Awards (YIA)

11
RD focus areas in Norway
  • Basic science
  • Information and communication technologies
  • Marin science
  • Medicine and health
  • Interface environment/energy
  • Biotechnology, Materials, Petroleum
  • New Instruments
  • Centres of excellence (CoE)
  • Young Investigators Award (YIA)
  • RCN large scale programmes

12
Key characteristics of the Norwegian CoE-scheme
  • Long-term funding
  • Generous funding
  • Research on a high international level
  • Research groups of sufficient size
  • Strong competition to get CoE-status
  • Active engagement in training of researchers
  • Strong interaction with international groups

13
13 Norwegian Centres of Excellence
Theoretical Linguistics
Quality of Service in Communication Systems
Ships and ocean structures
Molecular biology and neuroscience
Biology of memory
Mathematics for applications
Study of Civil wars
Climate Research
Physics of geological processes
Centre and perifery in medieval Europe
Geohazards
Integrated petroleum research
Aquaculture protein
14
Young Investigator Awards (YIA)
  • The Research Council of Norway has initiated a
    new funding scheme designated Young Investigator
    Awards
  • The goal is to provide the best possible
    conditions for young, talented researchers in all
    fields, enabling them to reach the international
    top level
  • The total, yearly budget of the scheme is at
    present NOK 20 million but may increase

15
The Research Council of NorwayLarge scale
programmes
  • 100 mill. NOK or more per year for a ten-year
    period
  • Comprise basic and applied research and stimulate
    to innovation, value creation and
    commercialisation
  • Long-term a ten-year perspective
  • Support the national research policy including
    the thematic priorities
  • Promote multi- and interdisciplinarity, involve
    the divisions and be embedded in several sectors
    of society
  • A strong international approach

16
Large scale programmes
  • Functional Genomics Research (FUGE)
  • Nanotechnology and materials (NANOMAT)
  • Increased recovery and efficient exploration of
    the petroleum reserves (PETROMAX)
  • Clean energy technology of the future (RENERGI)
  • Value creation in the ICT sector (VERDICT)
  • Aquaculture (HAVBRUK)
  • Climate change and impacts in Norway (NORKLIMA)

17
International cooperation- challenges
  • EU increasingly important
  • High success rate in FP6
  • Bilateral agreements
  • Europe, Asia, North-America, fellowship
    programmes
  • Research policy efforts
  • CREST, ESF, EUROCORE, EMBL, CERN, ESA
  • Focus
  • Scientific excellence, technological
    opportunities, business relevance
  • Norway in 6FP
  • High success rate 28
  • Part of networks of high quality and position
  • 27 national programs in ERA-NET
  • Success areas
  • Food safety and quality-marine food
  • Environment
  • Maritime transport
  • Energy

18
International RD-cooperation Choosing the right
level and framework
  • Between scientists
  • Between institutions
  • Between research programmes and directed
    internationalisation measures
  • Between countries
  • Europe the main route
  • North-America the strongest RD-region
  • Asia the coming economic region

19
International RD-cooperation Choosing the right
mechanisms
  • New areas and activities or identify and
    improve existing contacts and schemes?
  • The framework Multilateral or bilateral?
  • What level Institution, Research Teom or
    Individual
  • Use established agreements like the EU Framework
    Programme?
  • Thematic priorities or exchange schemes?

20
International RD-cooperation Choosing the right
mechanisms
  • If the future challenge of our societies is to
    maintain and improve the quality of life, welfare
    and sustainable development
  • Can we identify common ST activities to support
    this development and develop science itself?

21
EvaluationsThe Research Councils (RCN)
evaluation activities are designed to
  • enhance the quality, efficiency and relevance of
    the research sector
  • provide a good basis for determining how to
    allocate research funding
  • offering guidance on research-related issues
    internally within the RCN, to various
    institutions, and to authorities.
  • implement and follow up evaluation activities

22
Evaluation activities are intended to shed light
on matters relating to
  • Research policy
  • Research strategy
  • Research performance

23
Key issues to be examined include
  • Does the research lead to the desired and planned
    results?
  • Is the research being carried out in an efficient
    manner?
  • Is the research up to international standards?

24
Long term purpose of the evaluation is to
  • Improve the RCN knowledge base for strategic
    decision making
  • Constitute a platform for future work on
    developing the disciplines concerned
  • Represent a basis for determining future
    priorities including funding priorities within
    and between areas of research

25
The evaluation will provide the institutions
concerned with
  • Knowledge required to raise their own research
    standard
  • Feedback on the scientific performance of
    individual research groups
  • Suggestions for improvements and priorities

26
The evaluation process will
  • Offer a critical review of the strengths and
    weaknesses of research in Norway
  • Identify research groups which have achieved a
    high international level or have potential to
    reach such level
  • Identify areas of research that need to be
    strengthen
  • Enable the RCN to assess the impending situation
    regarding recruitment in important fields

27
  • General picture of the evaluation
  • To little of Norwegian research is up to
    international standard or is of significance at
    international level.There are, however,
    exceptions and there are groups that are in the
    international forefront of their disciplines

28
Recommendations made by the evaluation committees
  • Financing of research must increase
  • Scientific leadership at institute and faculty
    level must improve
  • Level of ambition of research community must be
    raised
  • Institutes and faculties must develop scientific
    strategies
  • Research groups must be reduced and better
    cooperation
  • More national and international mobility of
    researchers

29
Follow up of and results of the evaluations
  • National committees have been appointed with
    mandates to draw up strategic plans for
    individual disciplines
  • Evaluations have created a general awareness both
    at the universities, the ministries and
    politicians of the need to improve working
    conditions for basic research
  • Actions to improve scientific leadership at the
    universities
  • New funding schemes at the Research Council

30
Accountability
  • Towards ministries and parliament
  • Money must be used the way they have decided and
    results must be documented
  • If not We will not get the resources we need
  • Towards our users researchers, firms, others
  • They must be convinced that their applications
    are given a fair trial
  • If not Loss of legitimacy
  • Towards the public
  • Social responsible science

31
The formal system of accountability
RCN - executive board
Ministries
Internal audit
Committee of appeals
Office of the Auditor General
Parliament
32
Project evaluation in RCN
  • Peer review is always used to evaluate the
    scientific content. Some variability in practice,
    but essentially the same technique.
  • Panels of experts are used for large scale
    programmes.
  • RCN seeks harmonization in evaluating
    applications across fields and types of projects

33
Accountability in the application process
  • Transparency
  • Net based information on the application process,
    application categories and criteria to be met
  • Legitimate decision process
  • Legal competence (impartiality) among board
    members
  • Board members recruited among researchers and
    knowledgeable stakeholders
  • Challenge Knowledgeable stakeholders are often
    partial. Legal and real competence must be
    balanced

34
Accountability in the application process
  • Efficiency
  • 2 - 6 months from arrival of applications to
    decisions
  • The right application should get funded
    (International) Peer review and skilled board
    members
  • Notification to the applicant approval or
    rejection

35
The reporting scheme
  • When a project is approved
  • Standard formulated contract is sent/ signed
  • Report routines are specified Deviations from
    planned schedule during the project, extensive
    result-oriented report at end of the project. In
    addition Post.docs and PhD-students are
    specified
  • Lack of a progress report gives consequences

36
Information to the public
  • Net-based (www.research.no)
  • Forskningsdagene (Research week festival) and
    other arrangements for participation by
    researchers on the public arena
  • Committees on research ethics, fraud and
    committee of appeals
  • Aim Report to the public on findings in
    research, bridge the gap between science and
    society, ensure social responsibility and
    accountability for researchers
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