Objectives and priorities

The Government has set out three primary objectives in the long-term plan for research and higher education.

  • To strengthen competitiveness and innovation capacity.
  • To solve major challenges to society.
  • To develop high-quality research groups.

Knowledge and expertise are critical factors in economic competitiveness, especially for Norway given its high cost of living. Public investment is vital in this context, both in terms of allocating public funding to e.g. universities and university colleges and in terms of encouraging private investment in research and development activities or competency measures.

Without major investments in knowledge, it will not be not possible to effectively address the major challenges society is facing, such as those related to security and preparedness, disease and epidemics, and reliable access to energy, water and food. These problems are for the most part global as well, and require international cooperation both through research and through other measures.

Research and higher education of uniformly high quality are critical for achieving the knowledge policy objectives. High quality is necessary to be able to develop and utilise knowledge. At the same time, it is the most cutting-edge research that advances the knowledge front the most and that results in the truly significant breakthroughs.

Long-term priorities in the long-term plan

The Government will increase allocations to research and development activity (R&D) activity in six long-term priority areas:

  • the oceans;
  • climate change, the environment and environment-friendly energy;
  • public sector renewal and higher quality, more efficient welfare, health and care services;
  • enabling technologies;
  • an innovative, adaptable private sector;
  • world-class research groups.

Escalation plans in the long-term plan

The Government has set a target for research and development activity (R&D) expenditures of three per cent of GDP by 2030. Public allocations to R&D activity will increase more than the GDP each quarter in the upcoming period until they equal one per cent of GDP. The Government is aiming to reach the target by 2019–2020.  

As a part of this effort, the Government will strengthen some of the most important input factors in the research and higher education system during the period from 2015 to 2018. The Government will:

  • increase the number of recruitment positions by 500 new positions;
  • increase allocations to research infrastructure by NOK 400 million;
  • increase allocations to schemes that encourage extensive Norwegian participation in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020, by NOK 400 million.

To achieve the objectives of the long-term plan, modern, functional buildings with up-to-date equipment are needed. In the follow-up to the long-term plan, the Government gives high priority to construction projects that support the long-term priorities:

  • a new building for life science, pharmacy and chemistry at the University of Oslo;
  • upgrading of the Ocean Space Centre in Trondheim.