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Summary

Key trends, future scenarios, missions and structural measures

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Methodology

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PDF file 7 MB

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Cross-Cutting Missions

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PDF file 7.6 MB

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Structural Measures

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PDF file 0.4 MB

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Health and Welfare

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PDF file 7.4 MB

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Oceans

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PDF file 7.7 MB

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Technology and Digitalisation

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PDF file 8.5 MB

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Cohesion and Globalisation

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PDF file 8.2 MB

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Green Transition

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PDF file 8.7 MB

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Research Questions

  1. What are the key trends, enablers and barriers that are influencing developments in the RCN’s five core strategic areas?
  2. What are some of the potential priority missions or targeted policy actions within and across the strategic areas that the RCN, together with other stakeholders, could consider implementing in the future to help address societal challenges?
  3. What are some of the potential system-level structural measures to aid the development of a resilient research and innovation environment in Norway?

The Research Council of Norway (RCN), the national funding agency for research and innovation (R&I) in Norway, has identified five 'strategic areas' in its current strategy (2020-2024): health and welfare; oceans; green transition; technology and digitalisation; and cohesion and globalisation. The RCN is focussing its priorities on delivering high-impact R&I within these areas. All five areas are intrinsically linked to societal challenges, both within and outside Norway. The COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact it has had on a global scale, has served as a stark reminder that these challenges need to be urgently addressed, not least to ensure that countries — and R&I systems — are better prepared for the future and to help build resilience.

RAND Europe and DAMVAD Analytics conducted a foresight study to provide evidence for the RCN's input to the 2022 revision of the Long-Term Plan for Research and Higher Education 2019-2028, which specifies the Norwegian government's ambitions, key objectives and priority areas for research and higher education. The study specifically identified a set of priority missions or targeted policy actions for the next ten years that the RCN could consider implementing in the future, and potential structural measures needed to aid the development of a resilient R&I environment in Norway. The research team adopted a mixed-methods, participatory approach to the research involving a variety of data collection tools such as trend analyses, literature reviews, stakeholder interviews, focus groups, an online survey of the public, crowdsourcing ideas and information from experts, future scenario analyses and workshops.

The research team produced nine publications, all of which are available for download above.

Key Findings

  • The study examined the trends shaping developments in the five strategic areas, analysed the important barriers and enablers, and identified uncertainties and policy challenges associated with potentially transforming the strategic areas.
  • The study developed a series of distinct scenario narratives representing a range of plausible future states. The scenarios allowed researchers to examine what might happen in the next 20 years in the different strategic areas and wider R&I system in Norway.
  • To help address some of the societal challenges related to the strategic areas, the study articulated 20 priority missions and associated focus areas representing a range of potential areas of emphasis in relation to the missions, for further consideration by the RCN and other stakeholders.
  • The study also proposed a set of 10 underpinning, system-level structural measures to help develop a resilient R&I environment in Norway and also address the wider performance of the Norwegian R&I system in terms of the RCN’s overarching objectives.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was commissioned by the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and conducted by RAND Europe.

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