The Research Council of Norway (RCN) administers a number of funding schemes to promote excellence in research. One of them is the SFI (Centre for Research-based Innovation) scheme.
The main objective for the SFIs is to enhance the capability of the business sector to innovate by focusing on long-term research based on forging close alliances between research-intensive enterprises and prominent research groups. The SFI scheme will:
- Encourage enterprises to innovate by placing stronger emphasis on long-term research and by making it attractive for international companies to establish R&D activities in Norway.
- Facilitate active alliances between innovative enterprises and prominent research groups.
- Promote the development of industrially oriented research groups that are on the cutting edge of international research and are part of strong international networks.
- Stimulate researcher training in fields of importance to the business community and encourage the transfer of research-based knowledge and technology.
Host institution and partners
The host institution for a centre can be a university, a university college, a research institute or an enterprise with a strong research activity. The host institution should have a strong reputation within the disciplines or industrial areas the centre addresses. The host institution’s administration must make a declaration of intent stating that it will undertake the obligations entailed by hosting, and explain how the SFI’s research will fit into the host institution’s research strategy.
The partners (enterprises, public organisations and other research institutions) must contribute to the centre in the form of funding, facilities, competence and their own efforts throughout the life cycle of the centre. User partners must point out the commercial potential they envisage resulting from the centre’s activities. The life span of a centre is eight years.
In November 2014, RCN announced 17 new SFI centres, of which SIMLab’s follow-up CASA is one. In the eight years to come, The Research Council will be allocating roughly NOK 1.6 billion to the new centres.
Each centre receives roughly 10 MNOK per year from RCN. The host institution and partners must contribute with at least the same amount.