The Research Council of Norway's new Programme for Research and Innovation in the Educational Sector (FINNUT) will allocate a total of NOK 700 million over a 10-year period. At the recent kick-off conference for the programme, a pleased Executive Director Jesper Simonsen of the Research Council stated that the Norwegian educational sector and educational research are clearly in a very positive phase.
"The FINNUT programme has been established to further develop knowledge institutions and the overall administration of education to the benefit of pupils, teachers and society at large. The programme will help to renew the research field, promote innovation in the sector and serve as a collaborative arena for all of the actor groups involved," explains Mr Simonsen. He also points out that the programme is a pilot activity in the larger effort to foster innovation in the public sector in Norway.
First application deadline in February
The FINNUT programme consolidates two former Research Council programmes: the Programme for Practice-based Educational Research (PRAKUT) and the Programme for Norwegian Educational Research towards 2020 (UTDANNING2020). Professor Elaine Munthe of the University of Stavanger is the chair of the FINNUT programme board, while Ane Marte Rasmussen is the programme coordinator at the Research Council.
A total of more than NOK 160 million is available for allocation under the programme via six calls for proposals with an application deadline of 12 February.
Major growth in public research funding
In his remarks at the opening conference, Director General Eivind Heder of the Ministry of Education and Research pointed out that there has been major growth in public funding for educational research channelled through the Research Council in recent years, from NOK 9 million in 2001 to NOK 80 million in 2014.
"We are seeing a markedly positive development in educational research in terms of quality and relevance. But there is still a need to enhance quality even further as well as to promote bolder thinking, more wide-ranging renewal and a stronger international orientation," says Mr Heder.
The Ministry views it as particularly important for the FINNUT programme to encourage interdisciplinarity and build on existing national and international knowledge to ensure that research activities are as cumulative as possible. The dissemination of research results to ensure that they are utilised is another crucial task.
About the FINNUT programme
The FINNUT programme consolidates two educational research programmes ' the PRAKUT programme and the UTDANNING2020 programme ' and has absorbed their ongoing research projects.
The programme will provide funding to research and innovation activities within the following thematic priority areas:
- Learning processes, assessment forms and learning outcomes;
- Practice, professional practice and competence-building;
- Management, administration, organisation and achievement of results;
- Education, society and working life.