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Call: Funding for Nordic research projects on the distribution of health and welfare

The submission deadline for this call has passed
Application deadline
16.10.2014 14:00

The Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare is a cooperative effort between the Academy of Finland, the Danish Council for Independent Research | Medical Sciences, the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannís), the Research Council of Norway, the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE), and NordForsk. The overall goal of the Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare (hereafter referred to as the Programme) is to improve health in the Nordic countries by finding solutions to societal and public health challenges through high-quality research. The Nordic Programme will encompass several different activities, each aimed at improving health and well-being in the Nordic countries. Several calls within the Programme are planned to be issued.

A Programme Committee comprised of representatives of the Programme's co-funding partners has been appointed, and the Programme is administered by NordForsk. NordForsk is now announcing the first call for proposals under the Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare. Funding is available for research projects addressing challenges related to explaining and reducing inequalities in the distribution of health and welfare. The call aims to increase insight into the effect of demographic, social, environmental and biological factors on the distribution of health and well-being, and the challenges these thus imply for welfare systems.

Intervention and prevention studies in the context of the Nordic welfare societies and their sustainability in an aging society are important in order to address the Grand Societal Challenges. Study targets may include: Aging, education, ethnicity, gender, lifestyle including physical activity, and working life including retirement conditions. For the opportunity to network on the call, please join our LinkedIn group Nordic research projects on the distribution of health and welfare. Please note that you must be a LinkedIn member to be able to join.

Who is eligible to apply?

Researchers and research groups at universities and other research institutions in the Nordic countries are eligible to apply for funding. The Nordic countries are defined here as Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the autonomous areas of Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Åland Islands. The formal applicant must be an institution, organisation or other legal entity based in one of the Programme's co-funding countries.

Thematic framework

Despite increasing longevity and generally good public health in the Nordic countries, the distribution of health and access to, and use of, common societal resources varies considerably among individuals and groups. Research on the distribution of health and welfare is also an important field outside the Nordic countries as well. However, the Nordic countries offer a unique platform for a more profound understanding of the mechanisms behind such distribution and the role of welfare systems in mitigating differences between individuals and groups.

The welfare systems in the Nordic countries provide an arena for a deeper enquiry into the interrelationships between these systems and with regard to aging, education, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, lifestyle (in particular physical activity), and working life and retirement conditions, in terms of health and well-being outcomes. Comparative research within and between countries will therefore have great potential to generate added value for the scientific basis of the field of inquiry. Not least, prevention and intervention studies using a comparative approach in different contexts in the various countries may contribute to a deeper understanding of mechanisms underlying health distribution and the role of welfare systems in reducing differences in health distribution.

Projects must investigate research questions of relevance to public health in a Nordic perspective, and their results should aim to produce basic knowledge about the mechanisms underlying the distribution of health and the role of welfare systems in improving health and well-being. To achieve this objective, projects should employ a multidisciplinary and comparative approach.

Financial framework

This call for proposals is funded through a common pot provided by the Programme's funding partners (NordForsk, the Danish Council for Independent Research | Medical Sciences, the Academy of Finland, the Icelandic Centre for Research (Rannís), the Research Council of Norway, and the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (FORTE), and is administered by NordForsk. The total budget for this call is approximately NOK 140 million, and the maximum amount that a project may apply for is NOK 30 million. Funding will be granted for a period of five years.

Eligibility criteria


  • The Project Leader must be an established senior researcher based at a research institution in one of the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). NordForsk will enter into a contract with this institution, which will be responsible for the administration of the research project. This is also the legal entity to which NordForsk will disburse the grant.
  • The research project must have a binding institutional commitment from at least three Nordic countries.
  • Proposals must include an overall budget detailing the anticipated costs of the research project and a specification of how these costs will be distributed among the various funding sources, including funding sought from the Nordic Programme.
  • All project partners must document their own contribution (cash and in-kind) to the project.
  • If the study includes countries outside the Nordic region, the number of participating Nordic countries must be in the majority, and a description must be provided of how the NordForsk funding will be monitored to ensure it is used as intended.
  • The proposed time frame for the research projects is five years.
  • All projects that receive funding from NordForsk must maintain high ethical standards (good research ethics and adequate consideration of ethical questions of relevance to the project). Proposals must include a description of the relevant legal and ethical frameworks and procedures needed to perform the research.
  • The proposals must include plans for dissemination and implementation of the project results including, if relevant, plans for market orientation.
  • In accordance with its gender policy, NordForsk promotes gender balance among researchers as well as gender perspectives within the research activity as important aspects of research quality. All projects that receive funding from NordForsk must describe how gender perspectives will be incorporated or given consideration in the project.
  • Proposals must include a plan for contributing to open science in accordance with Science Europe's Principles for the Transition to Open Access to Research Publications.
Assessment criteria

The proposal will be assessed on the basis of the following criteria:

  • Relevance relative to the call for proposals;
  • Quality of the grant proposal, including the quality and innovative aspects of the project plan;
  • Competence of the applicants, including scientific merits and output, academic leadership, and experience and skills related to project management and operation;
  • Research environment (inclusion of relevant environments, cohesion, possibility for specialisation, international strategy and profile);
  • Expected results and impact, including long-term scientific, societal and economic impact of the cooperation;
  • Feasibility and rigour of the project plan in relation to proposed resources (human resources, budget, schedule);
  • Feasibility of the proposed budget describing the total costs of and overall funding contributions to the research project, including the impact of the funding sought from the Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare;
  • Added value of the Nordic cooperation, including justification as to why the project should be carried out as a joint Nordic effort and how the results will benefit the Nordic countries;
  • Contribution to open science;
  • Gender perspective of research and gender aspects of the organisation.
Processing of proposals

The application must be submitted in electronic format via the NordForsk application portal no later than 16 October 2014 at 13:00 CEST. Proposals must be submitted in English. No attachments are to be included unless specifically requested in the application form. The application form is based on the eligibility criteria and assessment criteria stated above, and may be found on the NordForsk Application Portal. In order to access the application form, applicants must register as a user on the NordForsk Application Portal and create a draft application.

The final funding decision will be taken by the NordForsk board based on external peer review performed by an international panel of experts and the subsequent recommendation by the Programme Committee of the Nordic Programme.

NordForsk's Guidelines on Impartiality will be applied in order to avoid conflicts of interest in the prioritisation of projects and funding decisions. The assessment panel will provide written feedback to the applicants via NordForsk. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of the funding decision, and NordForsk will sign contracts with the approved research projects and their host organisations shortly thereafter.

The decision on grant allocations will be taken by the NordForsk board in mid-December. Preliminary start-up of projects awarded funding will take place during spring 2015.

Management and organisation

NordForsk will sign a contract with the host institution where the Project Leader is employed, and this contract will set out the specific funding rates and details. The grant will be disbursed to this institution, and a consortium agreement regulating the rights and obligations of the various institutions involved in the project must be drawn up. Implementation of the project will be monitored through annual progress reports comprising a scientific progress report and a financial report. A final report must be submitted to NordForsk at the end of the funding period. A final evaluation of the results and impact of the Nordic Programme on Health and Welfare will be conducted at the end of the funding period.

The Project Leader will be responsible for the implementation of human resource strategies for researchers in keeping with the basic principles of the EU Charter for Researchers and the EU Code for the Recruitment of Researchers.

Max applied amount (NOK)
Responsible adviser

Maria Nilsson, Senior Adviser
Phone: +47 99 38 02 64

Responsible adviser

Ida Persson, Adviser
Phone: +47 407 24 571

Technical support

For technical support, please contact: or +47 905 51 520

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