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Continued growth in the research budget

 The long-term plan is working

“The growth in the research budget is in line with the Government’s Long-term plan for research and higher education, which is extremely positive,” says the Director General. “The escalation plan is being followed, and priority areas that showed little growth in the previous period have been strengthened in the 2017 budget. The long-term plan is designed to provide greater predictability in funding for research activity, and as I see it, the plan has clearly shaped the 2017 budget proposal."

“With a nominal growth of NOK 1.9 billion, this is a strong research budget. But it should be noted that a significant share of the increase for 2017 will be used to cover costs of the new ice-breaking research vessels and to compensate for price and wage growth,” Mr Hallén points out.

“The budget follows up many of the Research Council’s recommended priorities and is evidence of our important role as a research-policy adviser.”

It is extremely positive that the growth in the research budget is in line with the Government’s Long-term plan for research and higher education, says Arvid Hallén. (Photo: Sverre Jarild)

Climate, the environment and environment-friendly energy

“Research on climate, the environment and environment-friendly energy is one of the priority areas identified in the long-term plan. I am therefore very pleased to see a substantial increase in this area. This is vital both for the climate and for the transition to a low-emission society,” says Mr Hallén.

Renewal of the public sector

“The further development and renewal of municipal and public services is a major challenge that will require more research, and too little has been invested here in previous years. The budget proposal for 2017 strengthens investment in these areas. This will allow us to expand the Programme on Health, Care and Welfare Services Research (HELSEVEL) as well as to launch a new initiative on renewal and innovation in the municipal sector. Allocations will need to be increased significantly in this area in the years to come if we are to build an effective knowledge base for innovation in the public sector.”

Stronger research groups

“In keeping with the escalation of efforts set out in the long-term plan, the budget proposal provides more funding for advanced scientific equipment. This is critical to maintaining the quality of Norwegian research. An increase in allocations for Toppforsk projects under the FRIPRO scheme for independent research has also been proposed. The joint funding initiative between the Research Council and Norwegian research institutions for these projects will further augment this.”

Restructuring of the business sector

“The two preceding national budgets provided substantial increases to industry-oriented research. This year’s budget proposal does not follow up the Research Council’s advice to continue growth in allocations to the Council’s industry-oriented research and commercialisation initiatives. On a positive note, the budget provides further growth for the SkatteFUNN R&D Tax Incentive Scheme. The SkatteFUNN scheme received a positive evaluation, and plays an important role in encouraging the research and development needed to succeed in restructuring our trade and industry,” says Mr Hallén.

“Regrettably, the Government does not propose any significant growth for ICT research, which is essential for restructuring. However, the proposed increase in allocations for research to develop the bio-based industries is promising.”

International research cooperation

“An increase in investment in schemes to encourage wider Norwegian participation in the EU framework programme, Horizon 2020, is also proposed. This is part of the course set out in the long-term plan. International research cooperation will become more and more important for the Norwegian research community and Norwegian trade and industry,” concludes the Director General.

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