“In order to learn more about the research NordForsk funds, we decided to carry out a portfolio analysis to measure and map the research conducted. The report covers the past ten-year period, from 2009 to 2018,” says Arne Flåøyen, Director of NordForsk.
NordForsk was established by the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2005 and has funded a large number of research projects and other activities over the years.
NOK 2 124 million through 49 calls
The analysis explores the development and distributions of funding to Nordic research cooperation within NordForsk during the years 2009–2018. NordForsk has in this period granted NOK 2124 million to Nordic research cooperation through 49 calls.
”The mechanisms and instruments for funding Nordic research collaboration have changed over the past decade, and the topics and themes have varied a great deal,” says Flåøyen.
At least 2640 researchers have been or still are involved as project leaders or participating researchers in funded Project Grants, Nordic Centres of Excellence and Nordic University Hubs. Since 2013, NordForsk has funded research within all research areas. The largest percentage of funding has gone to research within Medical and Health Sciences and Natural and Social Sciences.
”This analysis shows that the overall approval rate was 14 per cent, which indicates that there has been widespread interest for NordForsk among researchers. The keen competition for funding may also indicate that only research of high quality was funded,” says Flåøyen.
”Still work to be done to reduce gender imbalances“
The analysis shows that the proportions of female and male involved researchers have become more balanced in recent years, with precisely 50 per cent female and male researchers in grants awarded in 2018. Notably, the overall approval rate for Project Grants was exactly the same (14 per cent) for female and male project leaders.
”These results show that there is no implicit gender bias in NordForsk activities and procedures, and that the ambitious gender policy drawn up in 2013 has had the intended effect,” concludes Flåøyen.
When it comes to the funding granted, however, male project leaders have received 66 per cent of the total funding over the ten-year period.
”Thus, there is still work to be done to reduce gender imbalances in our funding system,” says Flåøyen.
All 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals addressed
NordForsk collaborates closely with the national research funding organisations in the Nordic countries. Since 2017, NordForsk has reached the goal of two-thirds of the budget coming from national research funders, and the remaining one-third coming from Nordic Council of Ministers.
”We would like to thank the national funders of research for their generous contributions to our work and look forward to continuing to develop NordForsk together in close collaboration”, says Flåøyen.
The analysis does not examine the Nordic added value of the research projects per se.
However, when mapping Nordic research cooperation and how the research supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the analysis shows that all 17 goals are being addressed to some degree.
"Based on the large number of applications submitted under NordForsk calls, the high number of researchers receiving funding from NordForsk, and in particular the very positive figures showing the high proportion of female researchers involved in NordForsk projects, it is clear that NordForsk has contributed positively to the development of the Nordic Research Area," says Flåøyen.
Read the report Ten Years of Nordic Research Funding 2009-2018.