The Norwegian Ministry of Defence programme for financing research on security and defence policy

Support is given to research on topics that are relevant for the MoD and the Norwegian Armed Forces.

Since 1994, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence (MoD) has provided funding for research projects related to defence and security policy. Support is given to research on topics that are relevant for the Norwegian MoD and the Norwegian Armed Forces. In general, the MoD issues grants to 12-month research projects and to Norwegian PhD candidates.

Funding for the 12-month research projects is based upon a selection following a call for proposals, announced by the MoD annually. Grants are awarded based upon an open competition among Norwegian and international institutes/institutions. Applications are considered and selection is made based upon specific assessment criteria, which are updated annually. These criteria indicate which thematic areas the MoD will focus on for the following year.

Who can apply?
Funding may be awarded to Norwegian and international research institutions, university, think tanks and other organizations that conduct relevant research on security and defence policy issues.

Call for proposals for 2020
The MoD hereby announces its call for proposals for 2020. In general, only applications for one-year projects will be considered. Projects that are approved for funding are to be finalized and submitted to MoD no later than December 31, 2020.

The MoD has a limited budget, and normally only a relatively small proportion of proposals are approved. Over the past few years each project has on average been awarded between 400.000 and 800.000 NOK, depending on the project's scope.

For 2020 the MoD will continue to look at the possibility of supporting a small number of projects that go beyond 12 months, i.e. 2-3 years. The annual amount for these projects will be smaller than the sums indicated above. In these cases it will be a prerequisite that the applying institution provides its own contributions towards the project that matches or exceeds the amount received by the MoD. This must be clearly stated in the application. However, as a general rule, the MoD will continue to prioritize proposals for 12-month projects.

General information about grants
The grant money must be used on research activity related to the project that has been awarded the funding. This includes expenses such as salary, literature, seminar and conference attendance, travel, field work etc. Overhead expenses are to be kept to a strict minimum.

The following general criteria apply to project proposals/research grants from MoD

  1. Relevance for Norwegian security and defence policy, through increased understanding and insight into current and future security challenges.
  2. Relevance for our insight into the nature of the international security framework, and how this influences Norway's international position and security.
  3. Relevance for building knowledge and competency in the Norwegian security and defence establishment regarding state and non-state actors, as well as shifting geopolitical constellations.
  4. Relevance for the developments with regards to Law of Armed Conflict and/or other legal issues related to military operations.
  5. Relevance for increased knowledge and insight into the changing nature of security challenges (state, societal and human security dimensions) and possible implications for the Armed Forces.
  6. Relevance for our understanding of the fundamental drivers and dynamics that influence Norwegian security and defence policy.
  7. Relevance for informing the public debate in Norway on security and defence.
  8. Relevance for concept and doctrine development in the Norwegian Armed Forces.

The following specific criteria apply to project proposals/research grants from MoD for 2020

  1. Cooperation between China and Russia; Possible implications for Norway and/or Europe.
  2. China’s interests and ambitions in the High North/Arctic and/or Europe.
  3. Security policy considerations related to the military use of space.
  4. Changes in the security environment and consequences for national crisis management.
  5. The modernization of the Norwegian Armed Forces and the development of strategic capabilities (e.g.F-35, SOF, submarines and intelligence, etc.). Policy opportunities and challenges.
  6. Developments and trends in Russian politics. Possible implications for Norway and/or Europe.
  7. Security policy challenges related to changes in the High North/Arctic.
  8. Developments in EU’s defence and security cooperation.
  9. The end of the INF Treaty. Consequences for NATO, Europe and Norway. Including possible considerations related to arms reduction, arms control and non-proliferation.
  10. Increased activity in security policy greyzones. Challenges and relevant measures.

The specific criteria will be used in assessing the project proposal applications for 2020. The criteria are not listed in order of priority.

Applicant requirements
The applicant must be affiliated with an institution or institute with which the researcher has an employment relationship, for the duration of the project period. The research project shall be written in either English or one of the Scandinavian languages (Norwegian, Swedish, Danish). The researcher must meet academic/scholarly standards, and the MoD's reporting regulations must be met.

The application shall have a realistic level of ambition, a clearly stated proposition/hypothesis and a project synopsis not exceeding 3-4 pages. The application shall furthermore contain a proposed budget, the CV of the applicant (including a list of previous publications), as well as the name and identity of eventual partners/collaborators involved in the project.

Compliance and accountability
The researcher must report to the MoD on the progress and results of the project work when requested. The MoD reserves the right to use final reports and publications free of charge, for internal purposes. The project is also expected to submit to the MoD a  policy paper that describes the conclusion of the research project and how the grant has been used. The conclusion shall include an account of potential implications for Norwegian security and defence policy. Upon receiving project approval, there is usually a dialogue with the MoD, in order to ensure that MoD expectations and requirements are clearly communicated and taken into consideration. Furthermore, the researcher is expected to present project findings to the MoD during or shortly upon completion of the project. This is typically conducted in the form of a briefing for the MoD policy department and other MoD representatives.

If the grant funds are not spent in accordance with budget guidelines and criteria, or the objectives are not met, this will influence the researcher/institution's opportunities to receive grants in the future. The MoD can also withhold funds if the project is not carried out according to mutually agreed terms.

The Norwegian Office of the Auditor General can perform audits to ensure that grant funds are spent in accordance with the intentions for the project.

The MoD's practice for funding security and defence policy research is continually evaluated. As a result, there may be changes to procedures, criteria and guidelines from one budget year to the next.

Deadline for project proposals for 2020
The final deadline for submitting project proposals for 2020 is by Friday December 13, 2019.

The MoD will conduct a thorough assessment and consideration of applications. Applicants can expect a response by January 2020.

Applications shall be sent by e-mail to the following address:

When sending the application, a copy should be sent to Senior Advisor Ingjerd Kroken –

Questions or queries regarding applications should also be addressed to Ms. Kroken at the above e-mail address.