June 25, 2022

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The basic search cannot be postponed

The basic search cannot be postponed

Regarding the revised national budget, the entire Research Council Board of Directors was overthrown by Research Minister Ola Borten Moe (Sp). Here on his way out of government earlier this year.

We could be missing out on the best researchers, 43 current and former SFF leaders warned in this post. Everyone signs down.

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This is the topic of discussion. Opinions expressed in the text are at the author’s expense.

The Norwegian Research Council has been directed by the Ministry of Education and Research to reduce and defer its grant for Norwegian research. Then the basic research support must be maintained.

We – 43 current or former leaders centers of excellence (SFF) – Recognizes the Government’s need to amend the practice of assignments. But we are concerned about the negative consequences that cleanup will have on Norway’s privileged research environments.

If done the wrong way, it will have negative long-term effects on the entire Norwegian research sector. Cleaning should be done as little as possible and not surprisingly. The most important thing is that basic curiosity-driven research is not put off, especially that young talents are protected.

knowledge society needs

At the opening of NTNU’s Brain Research Center in 2012 Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said: «We could not predict which of the three largest industries in Norway today, petroleum, aquaculture and communications, and therefore we must be very modest when we talk about what we will live in 50-100 years. But what we do know is that what we will live on will be about knowledge.”

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Barely a month ago, then US President Barack Obama said in his letter State of the Union letter That “innovation requires basic research,” adding, “Don’t let other countries win the race for the future.”

Basic research driven by curiosity may seem useless, but it is the foundation of the needs of the knowledge society. He was with Professor Harald Skjervold the basic research Laying the foundation for salmon farmingOne of our most important industries.

The SFF scheme had an important impact

In Norway, this research is taken care of by SFF and Free project support (Freebro). Fripro is no less important for those who are in the beginning pit of their research career.

international group Concluded in a report in 2020 With the SFF scheme that gave research environments predictability and should continue. They emphasized that the scheme enhances scientific quality in the international first class and has a very positive impact on the Norwegian research system.

Without the SFF and Fripro scheme, it will be very difficult to position itself in the field of international cooperation

Many of those who receive prestigious European Research Council grants come from the SFF Communities. Without the SFF and Fripro scheme, it would be very difficult to position itself in the field of international cooperation. The report also shows that SFFs were important for innovation, advice to politicians and the dissemination of science.

It has now been announced that this type of basic research has been suspended. Fripro will not be announced in 2023, and the start-up of SFFs that were due to start this year may be reduced and delayed.

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There is a lot at stake

It takes time to build environments at the forefront of international research. But it can be demolished in months. We are in danger of losing the best searchers by going looking for jobs abroad or for other activities. In particular, we are at risk of losing many of our younger research talents.

A generation of talent can be ‘wasted’. If we are to have the best in choosing Norwegian research environments as their workplace, they must have confidence that the authorities emphasize predictability, even in what is seen as a crisis. Norwegian research needs this talent. Both for the reasons mentioned by Stoltenberg and Obama, and because society has not faced such great and time-critical challenges as it does today.

We are in danger of losing many of our younger research talents

We are also concerned about the reputation of Norwegian research funding abroad. The best overseas researchers may not want to apply for a job in Norway, which makes correcting negative effects more difficult.

Either the previous Research Council reductions must be reversed, or the practice which the Research Council has practiced thus far, must be continued, in order to eventually adapt the map to the terrain. The Research Council, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Finance should facilitate the conditions for basic research in Norway.

So it is necessary with more than 50 million kroner existing in the budget settlement with SV.

Nils Chr. Stenseth (UiO), Edvard Ingjald Moser (NTNU), May-Britt Moser (NTNU), Olav Gjelsvik (UiO), Stefan Krauss (UiO/OUS), Christel Fricke (UiO), Mats Carlsson (UiO), Siri Eldevik Håberg ( FHI), Sverre Håkon Bagge (UiB), Tone Tønjum (UiO/OUS), Lars A. Akslen (UiB), Andreas Føllesdal (UiO), Torgeir Moan (NTNU), Trond Helge Torsvik (UIO), Farrokhim (NGI), Eystein Jansen (UiB), Anne Danielsen (UiO), Brit Salbu (NMBU), Asgeir J. Sørensen (NTNU), Ragnar Winther (UiO), Alexander Refsum Jensenius (UiO), Ludvig M. Sollid (UiO), Bertil Tunguden ( NHH), Christopher Stewart Henshelwood (UiB), Alex Hansen (NTNU), Bernt Eric Sather (NTNU), Margareth Overland (NMBU), Terje Espvik (NTNU), Ole A. Andreessen (UiO/OUS), Kenneth Rudd (UiT), Geir Olfstein (UiO), Deborah Ogton (NMBU), Nikolai Ostgaard (UiB), Harald Stenmark (UiO), Trygve Helljacker (UiO), Rolf Berger Pedersen (UiB), Bjorn Gammtveitt (UiO) Rice (UiUT); pt. Ole Petter Ottersen (UiO; pt., Karolinska Institutet), Arne Brataas (NTN U ), Karin Andreassen (UiT), Peder J. Emstad (NTNU), and Unn Røyneland (UiO)

Everyone who signs the post are current or former leaders of the SFF.