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Norwegen: Weißpapier zu langfristig orientierter Forschungsförderung

In einem im Forskning magazine erschienenen Artikel wird das forschungspolitische Weißpapier der norwegischen Regierung aus Sicht des Norwegischen Forschungsrates dargestellt und bewertet.

"For the first time, we have a white paper that is focused on long-term perspectives in research. Multi-year budgets may be a key instrument in these efforts," says Director General Arvid Hallén of the Research Council of Norway.

The problem with one-year budgets in an area such as research is that thinking in the long-term is an absolute necessity. The Research Council has long advocated adopting a new approach and has among other things recommended developing a long-term programme for Norwegian research.

The new approach is now officially in place and is clearly manifested in the title of the new white paper on research: "Long-term perspectives ' knowledge provides opportunity".

A long-term national plan for research will help to provide all stakeholders with greater predictability and make it easier to optimise the use of limited resources.

Still seeking binding targets

"There will be many challenges in the years to come," states Mr Hallén. "Adequate funding must be provided, we must focus on the right areas and achieve a more effective use of resources than today. The new white paper on research provides a good starting point for success." he believes.

Although the Government has agreed to the development of a national plan for research with a ten-year timeframe, with an update every four years, Mr Hallén is not completely satisfied.

"I believe that the white paper should have provided a more specific framework for drawing up a long-term plan. At the outset, we had requested that binding four-year growth targets be set out in the white paper, but it didn't happen. We are now wondering whether it will be possible to establish a binding long-term plan in the absence of a clear financial framework."

A key new element in this white paper is that the research strategies of the individual ministries are summarised in an attachment. In Mr Hallén's view, this makes it clear that research has become an important part of all sectors of society.

Weak focus on industry-oriented research

A number of evaluations have confirmed the success of the Research Council's existing industry-oriented funding instruments, documenting that they trigger more research and innovation activity.

However, the new white paper gives no indication that these instruments will be strengthened although the Research Council had recommended doing so. The instruments involved are the SkatteFUNN tax-deduction scheme, the Industrial Ph.D. scheme (NAERINGSPHD) and key thematic and technology areas where the need for support is great. Arvid Hallén makes no secret of his disappointment.

"Considering the positive evaluations of these instruments, we believe the white paper could have stated more clearly that there is a need to enhance and expand industry-oriented funding instruments further," he says.

Full review of the higher education sector

One issue that is highlighted in the white paper is the need for a complete review of funding in the higher education and research sector. Targets here include enhancing the quality of research, improving the distribution of tasks and ensuring greater concentration in certain scientific areas.

The Government wants institutions to specify their priorities more clearly. It wants to promote the development of Norwegian education and research institutions that are at the international forefront in their respective fields.

"The white paper on research asks the Research Council to assist universities and university colleges in developing more distinct scientific profiles, Mr Hallén explains. "This conforms to the input submitted by the Council; we want universities and university colleges to establish clearer priorities as well."

Focus on recruitment

The white paper is also very clear in regards to recruiting challenges: greater attention must be paid to recruitment.

In this context, the Government wishes to establish a trial scheme for tenure-track positions to strengthen recruitment of talented researchers in mathematics and natural sciences, technology, medicine and dentistry.

"This measure could become a vital part of the recruitment system. At the same time, the Government states that the institutions must reduce the proportion of temporary positions, which is currently far too high. But the white paper does not contain many details on which mechanisms to use to correct the imbalance," states Mr Hallén.

The Research Council is to be a change agent

The new white paper on research challenges the Research Council to assume more responsibility as a "change agent" in the Norwegian research system, referring to the evaluation of the Council which was presented in 2012. The evaluation made it clear that the users have high confidence in the Research Council and its efforts.

"The white paper has provided clear guidelines on which activities we are to give priority in the years ahead: We must work more on promoting quality and renewal within research, we must be good advisers, we must help to promote clearer profiling of research environments and we must emphasise the importance of international cooperation," Arvid Hallén states.

Report to the Storting (white paper) Long-term perspectives - Knowledge provides opportunity

Key points:

  • sets out long-term national research plan;
  • includes the research strategies of the individual ministries;
  • poses specific challenges to the higher education sector with regard to resource-management, recruitment and priority-setting;
  • identifies thematic priority areas, highlighting marine issues, climate and health research;
  • confirms instruments and priority areas within industry-oriented research;
  • highlights research for innovation in the public sector;
  • focuses on improving internationalisation;
  • updates the policy on Open access;
  • presents a new donation matching scheme;
  • challenges the Research Council to strengthen its role as "change agent" within the research system.

Summary of the Government white paper on research:

From Forskning magazine no. 2/2013

Quelle: Norwegischer Forschungsrat Redaktion: Länder / Organisationen: Norwegen Themen: Strategie und Rahmenbedingungen Förderung Innovation

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