Beginning in January 2011, the Research Council will be comprised of four divisions rather than the current three. The new organisational model will put the Council in a better position to meet national and global challenges.
The reorganisation is a response to changes in research policy trends and insight gained in relation to the current organisational model.
Global challenges set the course
Throughout the world, the research policy agenda is being reshaped by major social issues. Two challenges emerge as especially crucial in this regard: issues related to climate change, energy and the environment, and the manner in which the welfare state is coping with challenges related to health and welfare in a broad sense.
In light of this, the Research Council has decided to establish separate divisions for these two thematic areas.
Refining the focus of the Division for Science and the Division for Innovation
The Division for Science will be continued and will have the overall responsibility for the Research Council's role in ensuring that Norway maintains an effective, smoothly functioning research system. The division will serve as liaison to the Norwegian research system at large and will also retain its current responsibility for basic research and the infrastructure initiative.
The Division for Innovation will assume more responsibility for research within and for trade and industry. The various large-scale technology initiatives and efforts targeted at key areas of industry will be consolidated under this division.
Looking to the future
The reorganisation will give the Research Council a more dynamic structure that can incorporate future changes in research policy more flexibly than is the case today. It will also promote closer links among areas that should be viewed more in connection with each other in the Council's strategic advisory activities.
Project directors appointed
Jesper Simonsen and Fridtjof Unander, both departmental directors in the current organisation, have been appointed to serve as project directors during the process of defining the more detailed configuration of the new divisions. Mr Simonsen has been assigned to the division for the challenges facing the welfare state and Mr Unander to the division for climate change, energy and the environment.
Anders Hanneborg will continue as Executive Director of the Division for Science. Anne Kjersti Fahlvik, the current Executive Director of the Division for Strategic Priorities, will assume the directorship of the Division for Innovation.
New four-part system of governance needed
In connection with the administrative reorganisation, the Executive Board of the Research Council has also concluded that the Council's system of governance should be reorganised. The Executive Board has recommended the establishment of four research boards to replace the current three. The change requires approval from the Ministry of Education and Research and an amendment to the Research Council's statutes.