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New R&D policy for university colleges

University colleges play an important role in the interplay between research, education and innovation. The Research Council of Norway is now presenting a new policy for R&D activity at university colleges.

“We are seeing a very positive trend in the university colleges, which are showing great interest in strengthening their research activity. Our new policy is designed to support this process. In the policy document we emphasise the instruments that are at the Research Council’s disposal to encourage the university colleges to continue their efforts,” says Anders Hanneborg, Executive Director of the Division for Science at the Research Council.

The Research Council has developed the policy in close dialogue with the university colleges, based on an extensive consultation round. 

The policy describes the challenges, objectives and instruments for three action areas: capacity building, consolidation of research groups, and increased cooperation on R&D in collaboration with working life.

Photo: Sverre Jarild

“University colleges are our most important institutions for ensuring that we have well-qualified personnel in professions related specifically to the welfare state. Research activity at university colleges should help to enhance the quality of education in these areas and link education to the practice of specific professions. The Research Council will promote competence development in order to achieve more research-based education,” says Mr Hanneborg.

As part of these efforts, the Research Council will continue the programme for national researcher training schools and give priority to funding for the recruitment and development of researchers, and for student involvement in research at the university colleges.

Consolidation of research groups

The Research Council will support the development of more and stronger R&D groups that, among other things, maintain a high international level.
The evaluation of the Research Council’s scheme for Strategic Projects – University Colleges (SHP) shows that the scheme has helped the university colleges to be more strategic in their research activity. If the scheme is phased out after 2017, the Research Council will ensure that other instruments are introduced to safeguard research at the university colleges. 

The Research Council will also encourage the university colleges to take part in more international cooperation and participate in the EU framework programme, Horizon 2020.

Cooperation with other actors

University colleges play a vital regional role as a gateway to research and development in the private and public sectors, thereby promoting more innovation in the public sector and more knowledge-based industry throughout Norway.

Photo: Colourbox
University colleges play an important role in the interplay between research, education and innovation. (Photo: Colourbox)

To further strengthen this role, the Research Council will help to create arenas for cooperation between higher education, working life and society at large. The Research Council will also support the continued development of research projects within the educational programmes and strengthen the efforts to find research-based solutions to practical challenges.

Close dialogue with university colleges

“Using the policy as a basis, the Research Council will now draw up a concrete action plan for activities targeted at university colleges. We want a close, productive dialogue with the institutions, and will visit all of them during a three-year period. In this way we will actively obtain advice and recommendations from the many exciting and highly diverse academic environments at the university colleges throughout the country,” says Mr Hanneborg. 

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