External funding – Why?
External funding increases your research resources and strengthens your publication and CV merits whether you have a well-established career or you are about to build a career. Regional, national and international funding bodies offer you opportunities in both cases.
Receiving external funding is often a scientific acknowledgement of you and your research group. Evaluators and funding bodies definitely take positive notice of such previous acknowledgements. This is advantageous for their evaluation of you and your proposal and you may look at this as a “snow ball” effect.
Also important, the ability to obtain external financing of your research impacts the evaluation of you as a candidate for hiring in scientific positions.
Who gets external funding?
The competition is hard and you need to be “excellent” compared to your competitors, which varies a lot with type of funding, and you must meet the pre-set criteria for eligibility and quality measures.
The grant can be awarded to a group of researchers to collaborate in a consortium or to an individual researcher/ research group for a “solo” project.
Consortium-based collaboration projects: you need a wide and preferably international network of experts or groups to choose from for you to join (as partner) or to build (as PI or coordinator) a consortium. All chosen partners should have high capability in serving a particular task to solve as part of the project.
Individual-based projects: you are the principal investigator (PI) and must cover all parts of the project unless you have collaborators that already have financing and therefore don’t receive funding from your project.
Which projects are funded?
A project is competitive if the evaluation process concludes that your submitted proposal:
- Will contribute to solve challenges as defined in a call text by the funding body. Such challenges often vary a lot from one year to the next and only projects that fits with the call are relevant.
- Will answer a scientific question that you define is of significance in your research field. Thus, any theme is relevant.
The Research Council of Norway (RCN) finances research through:
- Various thematic programs that aim to solve certain identified problems and challenges. High scientific quality and how well the proposal relates to the call text, are major decisive elements for the funding evaluation. These programs are for building societal impact.
- The FRIPRO program that encourages “independent” research on any theme as defined by yourself. High scientific quality and the PI’s accomplishments (merits) decides the outcome of the evaluation. This program is for building careers and prepare international competitiveness.
More on FRIPRO (mobility, Young talented, Researcher and Topforsk grants) including criteria
The European Union (EU) finances most of its research through Horizon2020 (H2020) comprising:
More on ERC and MSCA (subgroups and criteria)