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Call: Planning Grants Nordic Centres of Excellence in Arctic Research

The submission deadline for this call has passed
Application deadline
05.06.2014 13:00

This is a call for planning grants, financing the preparation and establishment of Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoE) within the Joint Nordic Initiative on Arctic Research 'Responsible Development of the Arctic: Opportunities and Challenges - Pathways to Action'.

Given the global importance of the Arctic region, and the transnational implications of environmental change in the region, NordForsk is now initiating a larger-scale, joint Nordic Initiative on Arctic research (hereafter 'the programme'). To promote a flourishing and forward-looking Arctic region, exploiting opportunities for future value creation in a sustainable manner, the need for new, policy-relevant knowledge is substantial. The programme will be cross-disciplinary strengthen the knowledge base within Arctic research in a broad sense, thereby supporting integrated research efforts in health and medicine, humanities and social sciences, and natural sciences and technology. The programme will focus on areas where joint Nordic research adds value to national initiatives (Nordic added value) and facilitate international research cooperation at the highest level, with Arctic as well as non-Arctic countries. The programme will seek synergies with other key Nordic and international research and innovation initiatives.

The programme has been developed in cooperation with a group of high-level representatives of the national research councils in the Nordic countries. It is funded jointly by NordForsk, the Swedish Research Council, the Research Council of Norway, the Academy of Finland, the Icelandic Centre for Research (RANNIS) and Greenland. Contributions from Denmark are still pending. NordForsk administrates the programme, in cooperation with a Programme Committee of high-level representatives from the financing organizations.

Aim of the call

The aim of this call is to support the establishment of prominent research groups and to facilitate their work towards developing full proposals for a Nordic Centre of Excellence (NCoE) within Arctic research. This includes, but is not limited to preparatory work; such as meetings, workshops and travel expenses. Full proposals are to be submitted late in the autumn 2014 or early in 2015 (an open call for NCoE proposals will be published in the autumn).

For more information about the NCoE concept, please refer to: NCoE concept.

Please note that participation in this call for planning grants is not mandatory for participation in the upcoming open NCoE call.

Thematic framework

The programme will invite cross-disciplinary, high quality and innovative NCoE proposals on topics relevant to a responsible development of the Arctic region. When submitting a pre-proposal, please keep in mind that the following thematic framework will apply to in the upcoming call for NCoE-proposals:

- Drivers of Change in the Arctic region - Interactions and Impacts
The programme aims to support analyses of interactions between various drivers of change in the Arctic region, emerging from both nature and society. New knowledge is needed to increase our understanding of how these processes interact and impact societies and the environment.

- Arctic Resource Development in a Global Context
In the Arctic region there are substantial new opportunities as well as challenges for value creation in sectors like energy production, extraction of minerals and metals, construction, tourism, fisheries and shipping. The programme supports NCoEs that analyse this development, its environmental and social consequences in the Arctic region and beyond, and their implications for a responsible development of the Arctic region in a global context.

- Waters, Ecologies and Life Environments
Global climate change has consequences for various kinds of life environments in the Arctic region, both natural systems and human societies. Cross-disciplinary NCoEs that add new knowledge relating to the impacts of these developments for the future physical environment, industry and societies are supported.

The thematic framework guiding this call for proposals is further elaborated in the programme memorandum, which can be downloaded as a PDF file at the bottom of the call text.

Financial framework
A maximum of ten pre-proposals, of 100 000 NOK each will be funded as a result of this call.
Procedure for submitting proposals

Proposals must be submitted using the application form available at the NordForsk application portal by 5 June 2014 at 13.00 CEST. The proposals must be in English.

Only attachments specifically requested in the application form shall be included.

Eligibility criteria


  • Researchers from at least two Nordic countries, and at least one country outside the Nordic region or from the autonomous areas Greenland, Åland or the Faroe Islands.
  • A cross-disciplinary focus (integrating excellent research within health and medicine, humanities and social sciences, and natural sciences and technology).
  • International cooperation; synergies with relevant national or international research initiatives.
  • A tentative plan for research and organization for a proposed NCoE, including a tentative plan on institutions/researchers to be included in the NCoE.
  • A budget showing the anticipated total costs of the preparatory work.
  • A brief ethical statement and a statement on how gender issues will be handled.
Assessment criteria

The proposal for planning grants will be assessed according to the following:

  • Quality of the planned research; relevance to the programme, innovativeness, novelty of research, quality of the research plan
  • Scientific merits of the team
  • Expected results and impact of the planned NCoE, including long-term scientific, economic and environmental impact of the cooperation, also bearing in mind the need for capacity building in the Arctic region.
  • Added value of the Nordic cooperation, including justification as to why the NCoE should be carried out as a joint Nordic effort
Assessment process

The applications for planning grants will be reviewed by the NordForsk secretariat, and followed by considerations of the Programme Committee. The final funding decision will be made by NordForsk before 1 July 2014. All applicants will receive feedback from the review.

NordForsk´s guidelines on impartiality will be applied in all stages of the assessment process.

Max applied amount

100 000

Responsible advisers

Marianne Røgeberg, Head of Arctic Affairs
Phone: +47 905 37 041

Lise-Lotte Wallenius, Senior Adviser
+47 915 81 993

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