In 2009 Norway’s total R&D expenditure amounted to NOK 41.9 billion. Of this, trade and industry accounted for 43 per cent, independent research institutes for 24 per cent and universities and university colleges for over 32 per cent. More than 36 000 people were employed in R&D-related activities in 2009.
R&D expenditure for 2009 amounted to 1.76 per cent of GDP. Forty-six per cent of this expenditure came from public funding.
In 2010 Norway produced some 9 000 articles published in scientific journals as well as over 22 000 articles with international co-authorship. (Source: Nordic Institute for Studies in Innovation, Research and Education - NIFU).
- The higher education sector (universities and university colleges)
- The institute sector (independent research institutes)
- The industrial sector (trade and industry)
Of the public funding agencies within the research and innovation system, the Research Council of Norway has the overall responsibility for research, while Innovation Norway and the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway (SIVA) focus on innovation and technology.
The Research Council serves as an advisory body on research policy issues, establishes and implements research funding schemes and creates common meeting places for researchers, funders and users. The Research Council also works actively to promote the internationalisation of Norwegian research.
Funding is provided according to the sectoral principle, i.e. each of the ministries is responsible for research and innovation related to its own sector.
The sectoral principle
The sectoral principle is a fundamental principle of Norwegian research funding, and entails that each individual ministry has overall responsibility for research related to its own sector/area of responsibility. Thus, each ministry is:
• responsible at an overall level for research related to its specific sector;
• responsible for maintaining an overview of the sector’s knowledge needs;
• responsible for funding research activities within the specific sector;
• responsible for ensuring international research cooperation.
The Ministry of Education and Research coordinates research policy through strategic planning processes, budget coordination and its administrative responsibility for the Research Council of Norway. The white papers on research comprise the key strategy documents.
Overall trends in Norwegian research policy since 2005
The white paper Commitment to Research (2004-2005) sets out the Government’s intention to bring the total investment in R&D activities up to three per cent of GDP, one per cent of which originating in public sources. Real annual growth has averaged 4.7 per cent, and in 2009 public allocations to research accounted for 0.84 per cent of GDP.
- Priority has been given to strengthening basic research with an emphasis on research quality and greater focus on the fields of mathematics, science and technology, as well as on researcher recruitment. The target of 1 100 doctorates per year set for 2010 was reached in 2008. The universities have received increased funding and several Centres of Excellence (SFF) have been established.
- The objective of increasing research-based innovation has led to the establishment of the Centres for Research-based Innovation (SFI) scheme, designed to encourage cooperation between companies and research communities. R&D investment in the industrial sector has increased substantially. The SkatteFUNN tax deduction scheme, which allows Norwegian companies to claim tax deductions on R&D expenditures, and the Programme for User-driven Research-based Innovation (BIA) are being continued with extended parameters. The Industrial Ph.D. scheme has been established.
- Efforts are underway to enhance the internationalisation of Norwegian research. In the years up to 2013 Norway’s total contribution to the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7) will amount to approximately NOK 10 billion. Since 2005 bilateral cooperation with North America (the US and Canada), and Japan, China and India has increased in scope and significance. Bilateral cooperation with Russia in the field of polar research has also been strengthened.
- The focus on energy, environmental and climate research has been maintained through the establishment of the Centres for Environment-friendly Energy Research (FME) scheme, the building of the Technology Centre Mongstad for the testing of cost-effective CO2 capture technologies and the establishment of the strategic bodies Energi21 and Klima21.
- The focus on the Arctic and northern areas has been maintained through funding for International Polar Year (IPY 2007-2008) and the further development of Svalbard as an international research platform, as well as efforts to promote industrial development and the development of knowledge communities in North Norway in a 10-15-year perspective.
- Research on health and welfare have been given priority in the Programme for Global Health and Vaccination Research (GLOBVAC), the Research Programme on Health and Care Services (HELSEOMSORG), the five-year initiative on needs-driven innovation and industrial development in specialist health services, the National Resource Centre for Women’s Health and the Research Programme on Welfare, Work and Migration (VAM).
Current research policy objectives
In the most recent white paper on research Climate for Research (Report No. 30 (2008-2009) to the Storting) the Government seeks to draw greater attention to research results and the general benefit to society of research activities. In keeping with current research policy objectives, Norwegian research policy will contribute to:
- meeting global challenges with a particular emphasis on the environment, climate change, oceans, food safety and energy research;
- improving health, evening out social differences in health and developing high quality health services;
- further developing research-based welfare policy and professionalism in the welfare sector;
- encouraging knowledge-based industry in all regions;
- establishing industry-oriented research within the areas of food, marine, maritime, tourism, energy, environmental, biotechnology, ICT and new materials/nanotechnology research;
- ensuring high quality research;
- paving the way for a well-functioning research system;
- increasing the internationalisation of research;
- promoting the efficient use of research funding and results.
Public research funding is provided in the form of institutional allocations to research-performing institutions and via research funding organisations, such as the Research Council. Institutional funding is designed to ensure the development of long-term knowledge preparedness and capacity. Funding through the Research Council is allocated through a competitive process and is granted via research programmes and project funding and on the basis of project outlines.
Funding awarded in a competitive arena is intended to support the achievement of the research policy goals. The Research Council of Norway is the only research council in Norway.
International research funding
Norway invests approximately NOK 10 billion in R&D activities at the international level, in particular in the EU Framework Programme. Norwegian researchers are encouraged to compete for these funds. The Research Council of Norway provides information and advice about EU funding and other international funding schemes.