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Call: Five-year capacity-building project within the Nordic Neutron Science Programme

The submission deadline for this call has passed
Application deadline
03.02.2016 14:00
Full call title

Call for a five-year capacity-building project within the Nordic Neutron Science Programme

Maximum amount that may be sought (NOK)

Up to NOK 10 million


The European Spallation Source (ESS) is presently under construction in Lund, Sweden. The facility will provide unprecedented neutron scattering capabilities for materials and biosciences in the Nordic region. It is imperative that the Nordic countries take full advantage of the scientific potentials of the ESS.

To meet this need, NordForsk has established a new Nordic Neutron Science Programme (NNSP) in collaboration with the Swedish Research Council, the Research Council of Norway and the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation. The total programme budget is approximately NOK 50 million, which may be increased in the coming years. The programme will run for five years starting in 2015.

NNSP will strengthen the Nordic neutron community by introducing the use of neutron scattering to scientific disciplines new to neutron techniques and facilitating consolidation of existing neutron user groups.

For more information on the neutron programme, please consult the programme webpage.

Characteristics of the capacity-building project

This capacity-building project consists of two elements,

  • A Nordic research school in neutron scattering techniques (the Nordic research school)
  • Network(s) for neutron scattering user and research communities (the Nordic networks)

The Nordic research school will teach Neutron techniques at postgraduate level, and will train a new generation of Neutron users and specialists. The networks will foremost be an arena for recruiting research groups new to neutron techniques. It is envisioned that young scientists participating in the networks will be recruited to the Research School. The networks can be established at the start of the capacity-building project or later, but this has to be done in a transparent and inclusive manner.

In addition, the project will work to enhance collaboration among the neutron training and education programmes in the Nordic countries by promoting systematic coordination and flow of information between the Neutron research groups. It will also take steps to ensure interaction and cross-fertilisation between the individual networks and between networks and the research school. The project is encouraged to interact with groups in the neighbouring region and in particular the Baltic States.

The project is to have one project leader with overall responsibility. The activities within the project can have separate activity leaders.

Framework for the project

Framework for the Nordic research school

The research school will organise education and training in neutron techniques.

The Nordic research school goals are:

  • Develop a Nordic neutron training and education programme and eLearning courses.
  • Stimulate the use of neutron techniques among both experienced users and research groups new to neutron research.
  • Reduce overlap of national training and educational courses.

The Nordic research school organisation

  • The leader of the research school is to be a senior researcher.
  • The research school will consist of a series of training courses at postgraduate level.
  • Course material should be available upfront and free of charge for all participants (and for other users if possible).
  • Supplement and collaborate with national calls, as e.g. the Swedish National Graduate School in Neutron Scattering (announced by SSF) and other relevant regional initiatives (EU, etc.).
  • Involvement of industry partners is encouraged

Framework for the Nordic networks

The networks are to introduce and promote neutron scattering techniques in scientific disciplines new to neutron techniques, as well as to consolidate and strengthen existing neutron user groups.

The Nordic network goals are to:

  • establish an arena for connecting researchers with interest in developing or using neutron scattering or related techniques.
  • stimulate knowledge build-up of neutron scattering techniques within research groups and communities.
  • establish an arena for connecting young researchers.

The Nordic network organisation

  • The leader of a network is to be a senior researcher.
  • The networks are virtual structures, but meet regularly both physically and virtually.
  • The networks should have a limited lifetime.
  • Networks can be established at project start-up or later, but within the specified budget.
Financial framework

The maximum budget for the call is NOK 10 million (including management and coordination). Funding will be provided for one project for a period of five years encompassing the research school and networks.

As a guideline around 2/3 of the funds will go to the research school and around 1/3 for the networks. It is up to the applicant to design a comprehensive capacity-building project that answers to the framework.

The Nordic research school budget:

  • Normally the cost for each course in the research school is around NOK 500 000, including development, coordination and administration. This can be increased if higher costs are documented.
  • Participation is free for Nordic students.
  • Participants outside the Nordic countries will cover their own expenses.

The Nordic network budget:

  • Normally the cost for networks is around NOK 100.000 per year. This can be increased if higher costs are documented.

The funding will cover the capacity-building project costs such as, but not limited to

  • Project management and coordination expenses, up to 15% of the budget.
  • Meeting, conference, seminar and workshop expenses.
  • Travel and lodging for networks and training courses. Both for students and lecturers.
  • Honorarium for invited lecturers.
  • Development of course material and eLearning courses.
  • Fees for access to neutron research facilities.
  • Promotion of training courses through social media.
  • Communication and outreach activities.

The funding does not cover researcher salaries or equipment. Own contribution must be specified in the budget.

Eligibility criteria

The capacity-building project must involve partner institutions from the three funding countries (Denmark including Greenland and Faroe Islands, Norway and Sweden). Finland including Åland, and Iceland are eligible to participate. Institutions from other countries in particular the Baltic States, are encouraged to participate, but must fund their own participation.

The coordinating institution (project manager) must be a research institution based in one of the funding countries.

The project leader must be a senior researcher at the coordinating institution.

Proposals must be submitted in English through the NordForsk Call and Application Portal to be accepted.

Processing of proposals

Applicants must submit their proposal electronically through the NordForsk application portal no later than 3 February 2016 at 14.00 CET. To access the application form you must register as a user at the NordForsk Call and Application portal.

International experts will assess the proposals using the assessment criteria below. The programme committee consisting of representatives from the funding partners will assess the Nordic added value (strengthened collaboration, better coordination, building critical mass).

The NordForsk Board will make the funding decisions on the proposals based on recommendations of the international experts and the programme committee. NordForsk's Guidelines on Impartiality will be applied to handle potential conflicts of interest.

NordForsk will initiate contract negotiations with the selected proposal and its host organisation.

Expected start-up of the capacity-building project is June 2016.

Assessment criteria
International experts will assess the proposals according to the following criteria:
  • The quality of the comprehensive five-year plan for the research school, resulting in a Nordic education and training programme in neutron techniques.
  • The quality of the plan for networks, including time line, purpose and targeted user groups.
  • Feasibility of the project plan with a specified budget (including in-kind).
  • Experience and quality of teaching.
  • Involvement of young researchers.
  • Involvement of research areas new to neutron research
In addition, the application must include:
Project follow-up by NordForsk

NordForsk is responsible for the administrative follow-up of the project.

NordForsk will negotiates the contract with the host institution.

NordForsk will undertake a midterm evaluation of the project to determine whether to allocate the last two years of funding.

The research school is required to develop a student evaluation form for the training courses. The result of the evaluation(s) must be included in the annual report to NordForsk.

Responsible adviser

Unni Rørslett, Senior Adviser
Phone: +47 906 86 141

Responsible adviser

Jostein K. Sundet, Senior Adviser
Phone: +47 996 01 848

Technical support

E-mail: / Phone:+47 905 51 520

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