The overall objective is to strengthen international competitiveness and facilitate the development of world-leading Nordic research environments. The initiative will allow Nordic universities, university colleges and universities of applied sciences to use Nordic cross-border cooperation as a tool for achieving their own strategic objectives, thereby building long-term institutional capacity. This will be done by making top funding available to Nordic university consortia as an incentive to promote Nordic university cooperation and capacity building.
NordForsk - at the request of the Nordic Council of Minsters - carried out an analysis and evaluation of which areas to prioritise within Nordic university cooperation. NordForsk created a Special Advisory Group (SAG) consisting of Nordic experts to provide recommendation based on the analysis, as well as suggest criteria and mechanisms for funding based on principles of Nordic added value and open competition. The Special Advisory Group submitted its final report to the NordForsk board in 2015.
The initiative requires that the universities themselves contribute funds toward the running of the consortium. The funding follows the principles for the funding of NordForsk, with one third of the funding provided by NordForsk, while the universities themselves contribute two thirds.
The consortiums that receive funding are evaluated after three years. If the evaluation is positive NordForsk will commit to funding the consortium for another three years. The universities are committed to support the consortium for six years, whatever the result of the evaluation.
The first call of the initiative had an upper limit of 180 million NOK in funding from NordForsk for the period 2018-2023.