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New initiatives to integrate marine and environmental research

Three new programmes in the areas of marine research and environmental research at the Research Council of Norway are being planned simultaneously to ensure they complement each other as much as possible.

The research programmes will help to round out the programme portfolio in the blue and green sectors.

The process of determining how to continue the activities of the Programme for Aquaculture – An Industry in Growth (HAVBRUK), the Programme on the Oceans and Coastal Areas (HAVKYST) and the Programme for Norwegian Environmental Research towards 2015 (MILJO2015) is now underway. These programmes will be concluded in 2015 and 2016. The Research Board of the Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment decided in June to continue these activities under three new programmes: one on aquaculture research, one on marine environmental research and fisheries, and one on land-based environmental research.

“It will be exciting to plan all of the new research programmes in an overall process,” says Fridtjof Unander, Executive Director of the Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment at the Research Council.


Three work programme committees with broad-based representation have been appointed to maintain quality and legitimacy in the efforts to prepare drafts of the new work programmes. The committees will begin drawing up the preliminary work programmes at the end of September.

“To ensure continuity in our efforts in these areas and to be able to launch new projects in 2016, these work programmes must be ready by the spring,” says Mr Unander. The first calls for proposals for the new programmes are planned to be issued in April 2015.

Read more about the three work programme committees in the Norwegian version of this article.

The permanent programme boards that will be appointed later on will be responsible for preparing and approving the final work programmes for the three new research programmes.

Coordinated and integrated

“The Research Council is concerned that the programmes are well integrated and coordinated. The planning process we are now launching will enable us to view the three new programmes in relation to each other and strengthen the basis for cooperation,” explains Mr Unander.

“The work programme committees are mandated to view the targets of ’their’ individual programmes in relation to the other two programmes encompassed by the process, as well as vis-à-vis existing relevant programmes and schemes. The aim is to establish binding cooperation and, among other things, to assess issuing joint calls for proposals on complex problems within the various research fields,” says Unander. 

The existing programmes that are most relevant for cooperation with the new research programmes are the new Large-scale Climate Programme (KLIMAFORSK) and the new Large-scale Programme for Energy Research (ENERGIX), as well as the enabling technology programmes (the Biotechnology for Innovation programme (BIOTEK2021), the Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials programme (NANO2021) and the Core Competence and Value Creation in ICT programme (VERDIKT)), the Programme for Sustainable Innovation in Food and Bio-based Industries (BIONAER), which has responsibility for seafood processing, and the Programme for Maritime Activities and Offshore Operations (MAROFF), which is responsible for maritime technology.


The work programme committees will cooperate with the Research Council’s administration to ensure that the drafts of the new work programmes reflect both external recommendations and the Research Council’s own strategies. There is a broad knowledge base for the new programmes to draw on, such as in the national strategy documents HAV21 and MILJØ21.

Quality, relevance and high international standard

The planning process will put emphasis on ensuring that the programmes reach a high international standard, maintain high quality and relevance, and achieve a good return on the public investment. In addition, the programmes will seek to develop Norwegian research environments as attractive partners for international research cooperation.

The new aquaculture programme will be oriented towards industry. This autumn the Executive Board of the Research Council will decide whether the programme will continue to be part of the Large-scale Programmes scheme.

The programme that will continue the activities of the HAVKYST programme will focus on marine environmental research and include research on the fisheries industry, while the successor to the MILJO2015 programme will target land-based and freshwater environmental research.

The thematic priority areas and structure of the programmes will be set out in the preliminary work programmes. 

 

(Photo: Sjømatrådet/Johan Wildhagen)

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