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Norway to establish regional research funds

In the national budget for 2009, the Norwegian Government has proposed establishing five to seven regional research funds in Norway. The funds will be administered in keeping with the Research Council's proposal set forth in a report in 2007.

The regional research funds are intended to bolster Norway's research capacity and quality by promoting research, innovation and development efforts at the regional level. The annual yield on the funds, roughly NOK 285 million, will be available for allocation beginning in 2010.

Long-term regional initiative

Five to seven funds will be established. The county administrations are responsible for proposing regional groupings within this framework. Each county may participate in only one fund. The Government seeks to give priority to the Northern Areas, and has recommended that about five percent of the total yield be set aside for use by the three northernmost counties prior to the general allocation.

The regional funds will be used to meet county-level R&D needs by supporting projects initiated by private or public enterprises located in or outside the relevant geographic areas. Allocations will also be set aside to promote development of dynamic, competitive research communities in all counties, using long-term, basic competence-building as a key instrument.

The Research Council's role

In 2007, the Research Council submitted a proposal for the organisation and administration of regional research funds in response to a request from the Ministry of Local Government and Regional Development. This proposal serves as the basis for the current initiative to establish the funds.

The Research Council will work with the counties and in consultation with the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities (KS) to create the final design of the regional funds.

Thomas Evensen | alfa
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