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Call: Step 2 Sustainable Freight and Logistics in a Nordic Context


The submission deadline for this call has passed
Application deadline
12.02.2010 22:00
Call description

NordForsk in collaboration with The Research Council of Norway, The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), The Danish Council for Strategic Research and the Ministry of Transport and Communications Finland invite research proposals in the field of sustainable freight and logistics.

Although extensive research is being carried out in this field in all of the Nordic countries, the Nordic cooperation in the field is not strongly developed. This is despite obvious potentials for joint research initiatives due to similar challenges: long distances to central markets - a condition reducing frequencies and the potential for efficiency and low energy transport, a common tradition for close interaction between companies, ministries and agencies and a strong history of a freight market where the basic framework is created by, and regulated through the public sector. A joint Nordic research initiative will strengthen research activities in the field of freight and logistics through a multi-disciplinary approach, thereby creating synergies and added value for the end-users of research, and ultimately better use of the research resources in the field. The research initiatives focus on addressing major societal needs in the Nordic countries and strengthening the competitiveness of Nordic freight transport. Also prominent is a strong focus on the creation of know-how and new ways to ensure stronger cooperation between research communities, commercial and industrial supply networks, logistical structures, agencies and ministries regulating the framework for freight and logistics and on expanding interdisciplinary research initiatives building on strongholds within research disciplines, where cooperation at present is scarce.

The key objectives of the joint research call are to
- Develop synergies across Nordic borders and develop Nordic capabilities in the research field of freight and logistics in the participating countries
- Produce new and innovative scientific knowledge in the research field enabling sustainable, energy efficient and effective freight transport
- Build on disciplinary strongholds of the various Nordic research communities, and to create a strong interdisciplinary approach to freight and logistics

In the long run, the objectives of the joint funding initiatives are to
- Increase the quality, efficiency, competitiveness and visibility of Nordic research
- Create Nordic added value by sharing labour, critical mass and building on existing Nordic strongholds hereby creating an improved potential for further cooperation in an international forum, e.g., the EU
- Explore potentials for further joint calls in the future Thematic focus and research scope

The overall theme of the call is sustainable freight and logistics in a Nordic context. This should include a strong focus on the special Nordic conditions, both in terms of geography and organisational structures. The call is based on true cooperation across the Nordic borders. It supports strong and creative links between the public and private sectors, and academia (i.e. universities and research institutions) in order to shape the necessary and sufficient condition for innovative growth. At the same time the joint call supports research initiatives that at the same time address societal demands and needs, as well as benefits for all parties involved in the freight and logistic business. A number of pressing issues have been identified that can be addressed in the proposals:
(i) New management models, concepts and tools supporting sustainable logistics and co-modality in a Nordic approach
(ii) Common Nordic environmental measurement and assessments
(iii) Visions for sustainable logistics at company level
(iv) Humanitarian and development aid logistics In addition, other relevant research topics within the field of sustainable freight and logistics may be addressed.

The outlined thematic focuses are further described in Annex 1.

Economic framework

The call is funded through a common pot provided by the funding partners and administrated by NordForsk. The national funding organisations will jointly provide funds of up to MNOK 15,5 (MEuro 1,8) to support two to three research initiatives under the call. The general principle is that activities funded should support genuine Nordic cooperation, i.e., the Nordic funding should enhance relevant national activities and add important Nordic dimensions.

Eligible activities may comprise combinations of direct collaboration costs, such as:
- Joint research activities
- Network and mobility costs
- Personnel costs of researchers that will provide added value to the Nordic cooperation, including PhD and post doc fellowships
- Extra management costs
- International scientific conferences (participation and/ or organisation)
- Meeting costs
- direct costs for conferences, seminars, courses, meetings and workshops (without overhead)
- Travel expenses according to governmental rules of the home country
- Smaller equipment costs
- Other costs (e.g. dissemination)

The participants from the different Nordic countries should follow their respective national funding regulations. For industrial participants the general EU rules for industry funding apply.

Call conditions

The call is open to researchers and research groups at academic institutions and research institutes within the participating countries Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden.

The Project manager must be an institution/ organisation/ legal entity in one of the countries.

The proposed duration of projects is 4 years.

Projects must include partners from minimum three Nordic countries, however, with a preference to projects including partners from all Nordic countries involved.

Two-step application procedure
Projects will be selected in a two-step application procedure.
Step 1 is the submission of the Expression of Interest (EoI).
Step 2 is the submission of the full application.
The procedure comprises a pre-selection of the submitted EoI, which marks the end of step 1. The selected EoIs are invited to enter step 2 and to submit the full application. An international panel of experts will review the scientific quality and the impact of both the EoIs and the Full Proposals and will report to a Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will select the EoIs to be invited to Step 2. In step 2, the Steering Committee will rank the incoming full proposals taking the external expert reviews into consideration. The formal decision on which projects will receive funding will be made by the Board of NordForsk based on the ranking of the proposals of the Steering Committee.

Projects can start when the funding decisions have been made and contracts signed late April - early May 2010.

Evaluation criteria
- Relevance of the project to the aims of the call, e.g., potential impact of the project and in addressing societal needs
- Quality of the proposal, including quality, originality and innovativeness of the research questions, and project
- Competence in project management: knowledge, experience and general qualifications of the project leader to lead the project
- Added value of the cooperation: the project should build on Nordic strongholds and develop synergies and capabilities
- Level of interdisciplinary interaction between different fields of research
- Level of involvement of industry/ end users and demonstration of the appropriateness of the proposed model of cooperation
- Feasibility and realism of the project regarding human, budgetary and time line resources
- Dissemination and implementation, including plans for communicating results and user contact
- Budget: The budget share of each partner should be of such nature that it represents a true cooperation

As a general rule the application should follow good research ethics and take into consideration ethical questions of relevance to the project. NordForsk will pave the way for participation of both men and women in its activities and always make an effort to increase the participation of the gender in minority.

Deadline for the call Step 2: Full applications must be sent no later than 16.00 CET on 12 February 2010 via the NordForsk Application Portal.

For questions about the call, please contact the NordForsk Secretariat or the national contact points:
Senior adviser Maria Nilsson
E-mail: maria.nilsson@nordforsk.org
Phone: +47 993 80 264

National contact points

Denmark
Danish Council for Strategic Research at Danish Agency of Science, Technology and Innovation (DASTI), www.fist.dk
Mr Thomas Midtgaard, phone +453395 52 77, thmi@fi.dk

Finland
Ministry of Transport and Communications, www.lvm.fi
Mr Jari Gröhn, phone +358 9 16 02 85 01, mobile +358 40 581 67 87, Jari.Grohn@mintc.fi

Norway
The Research Council of Norway, www.rcn.no
Mr Øystein Strandli, phone +47 22 03 73 14, mobile + 47 900 51 144, ost@forskningsradet.no

Sweden
The Swedish Governmental Agency for Innovation Systems (VINNOVA), www.vinnova.se
Ms Inger Gustafsson, phone +46 8 473 31 15, Inger.Gustafsson@vinnova.se

Annex 1
THE THEMATIC FOCUS OF THE NORDIC CALL ON SUSTAINABLE FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS IN A NORDIC CONTEXT
The overall aim of the call is to promote sustainable freight and logistics in a Nordic context. Projects should reflect a strong focus on the special Nordic conditions, both in terms of geography, organisational structures and Nordic practise.

The call is based on true cooperation across the Nordic borders. It supports creative links between the public and private sectors, and academia (e.g. universities and research institutions) in order to shape the necessary and sufficient condition for innovative growth. It supports research initiatives that at the same time address society demands and needs, and creates benefits for all parties involved in the freight and logistic business.

A number of pressing issues have been identified that could be addressed in the proposals. However, it should be emphasized that the call is open to all relevant research topics within the field of sustainable freight and logistics.

(i) New management models, concepts and tools supporting sustainable logistics and co-modality in a Nordic approach
The effective choice of various means of transport calls for new management models and tools to support the decision-making throughout the full transport chain. This applies to all transport chains, separately or in combination, in order to ensure optimum and durable use of the resources between modes. The logistical activities comprise freight transport, storage, inventory management, supply-chain management, materials handling and the processing of all the related information. In complex transport chains utilising different transport modes and at the same time coordinating the activities to meet the demands from customers and the society, the challenges are many. The following research questions may be in focus
- More efficient ways to transport goods, taking into consideration how both sustainability and effectiveness of the transport system is ensured
- Development and implementation of methods for efficient information flows between actors to ensure better interaction between freight transport modes
- Addressing the issues and complexity of ensuring liveable cities and catering for hubs of co-modality at harbours and other terminals placed typically in a city environment

(ii) Common Nordic environmental measurement and assessments
Adaptation of the whole transport chain to reach goals in connection to climate change is winning grounds throughout the world. Strong focus is put on the whole logistics chain not only focusing on the transport costs in monetary terms but also with regard to external costs associated with climate change, air pollution, noise, vibration and accidents. The following research questions may be in focus
- Survey how environmental assessments are carried out in the Nordic countries. Identification of the external driving forces related to green issues
- Methods to strengthen pull and push measures to balance the economic and environmental objectives for the different actors in the transport business
- Innovative methods to support implementation and integration of environmental issues and sustainability and green logistics in companies and governmental bodies, e.g., through procurement process

(iii) Visions for sustainable logistics on company level
The visions for the transport area are predominantly developed on national, macro level. National policies of sustainable logistics strive to improve economic and environmental performance, also taking into account social
responsibility. However, the implementations of actions to follow on the company level (micro visions) of sustainable logistics are weaker. The following research questions may be in focus
- Innovative methods to improve the implementation on company level of sustainable visions developed on national level (Top-down)
- Innovative methods to improve the links between company strategies, national visions and actions with regard to sustainable logistics (Bottom-up)

(iv) Humanitarian and development aid logistics
The Nordic countries are large contributors to international aid programmes to third world countries, both in terms of more permanent and long term projects and in terms of emergency relief operations where natural disasters and internal strives call for immediate help of food, medicines and non-food items. Aid relief implies complicated logistic tasks in both ends of the chain: these being of political, organisational and practical nature. A strengthening of the logistic systems can potentially have substantial impact. The following research questions may be in focus
- Knowledge that can be extracted from previous aid logistics situations in terms of organisational, political and practical issues
- Methods to develop sustainable supply chain management for emergency relief operations and/ or development aid
- Focus on cross-learning potentials between current logistics systems used in the Nordic countries and aid logistics as well as public-private partnerships for effective humanitarian supply chain management
Max applied amount (NOK)
NordForsk recommends a proposed budget in the range of MNOK 5 - 8. The applied amount should reflect the level of planned activities and number of participants.
Decisions will be made by
April/ May 2010
Responsible adviser

Senior adviser Maria Nilsson
E-mail: maria.nilsson@nordforsk.org
Phone: +47 993 80 264

Responsible adviser

Senior adviser Susanna Sepponen
E-mail: susanna.sepponen@nordforsk.org
Phone: +47 994 17 720

NordForsk, Stensberggata 25, 0170 Oslo, Tlf: +47 476 14 400, E-post: support@nordforsk.org, Organisasjonsnummer: 971 274 255