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As a first step in developing a project idea, we recommend filling out Kristiania University College’s one-pager for projects. This document can be a useful starting point for discussions with the Department of Research Administration and Internationalisation about which funding programmes may be most relevant to your project, whether the project might qualify for internal funds or whether it is better suited for funding from external sources such as foundations, regional research funds, the Research Council of Norway, the EU, etc.
Project types: Whom you collaborate with in your project will determine which project type will be most appropriate. For example, the Research Council of Norway has calls for proposals for research projects that target collaboration between R&D institutions, using project types such as Collaborative and Knowledge-building Projects or Innovation Projects for collaboration between research institutions, the public sector and industry.
Partners: An important question to ask at this stage is whom you want to include as a partner in your project. Read the call for proposals carefully in respect of who can participate or is recommended to be involved in a project. Do you work mostly with academic partners (national or international), or with companies or the public sector? Whom you work with will also determine the project type that best suits your project, and whether you need to rethink your project based on the criteria in the call for proposals. Remember to contact your partners as early as possible in the process – this is one of the main things you ought to do before you start developing your project.
User involvement. If you are applying for a project type that requires collaboration with industry or the public sector, you will have to include actors that “own” the problem and/or need you are researching. It is important to involve them already in the idea phase to ensure that what you believe is a need is consistent with a real need out there. In research projects that can only have academic partners, this does not mean that end users cannot be involved in the process. For example, if you are doing research on ways to improve public-sector services, municipal authorities, schools, etc. can be included in a reference group for the project. They can help identify the need, suggest relevant topics, identify barriers to research and implementation, and assist in communicating and disseminating the results of your project.
The Department of Research Administration and Internationalisation will be happy to help you identify which actors you ought to include and how they can be linked to your project.
Most sources of funding and calls for proposals have their own templates for project descriptions. These templates specify a number of aspects that the application must address. It is important to read the template carefully and spend time determining what the call for proposals is looking for.
The State of the Art (SoA) is a description of the current status and recent advances in a given area of research. This is often one of the first things you will need to describe in a project application. The current status of the research in this area indicates what has already been done and what remains to be done to achieve the desired goal. Here, for example, you can refer to literature, previously funded projects, standards and regulations in the field, and current practice.
A natural next step is to provide an account of the knowledge gap, i.e. what has not yet been done and why this is important right now. This will help justify why your project is important and how it fits in with the research that has already been done in the field.
You must also define the objectives, activities, any vision for the project, and the expected results. An introduction to the most common terms:
Objective is something that is to be made possible through your project and that will be achieved at the end of the project. It is common to break objectives down into the main objective and smaller, specific goals that assist in the achievement of the overall objective. These must be closely connected to the state of the art and the knowledge gap. A common mistake is to describe an objective as an activity. Example:
Incorrect objective: Develop a vaccine for the Covid-19 virus
Correct objective: Reduce the spread of the Covid-19 virus by 60% by the end of August 2020 (a result of the project will then be a new vaccine for the Covid-19 virus)
A vision is a positive description of how something will be in the future. This is usually very long-term and does not need to be achieved by your project alone (as opposed to objectives). The purpose of a vision is to “sell” your project. Example: Prevent people from having reduced quality of life and in the worst case dying as a consequence of the Covid-19 virus.
A product or deliverable in the project is something specific and identifiable that is to be delivered during the project, such as a report, prototype, new data, new product, a service, a new process, etc. A deliverable may be made up of multiple results.
Milestones are decisive points in the project that must be achieved in order to be able to move on to the next step. They are used to measure progress and for quality control.
As well as having a good project idea and a good plan for execution, research projects must also demonstrate that they have added value. This is often referred to as the impact or benefit for society. There is currently greater focus on what society gets in return for investing in research and development, and the project application must indicate what society will get in return for investing money in your project. Impact can be divided into:
Academic impact, which could be the impact your project will have for research and the discipline. This may include new research, new knowledge, publications, increased research capacity, new research groups, new PhD positions, etc.
Societal and economic impact, such as the impact your project will have on welfare, quality of life, the environment, public safety, value creation, growth and jobs, new products, new enterprises, new industries, restructuring, and better services in the public sector.
In addition to describing the possible benefits your project will have for society, you will often also have to draw up an action plan showing how you will ensure that the envisaged impacts will be achieved. This is often referred to as a plan for communication, dissemination and exploitation.
Communication refers to measures to spread information about the project and the results achieved to a wide audience. Communication starts from the start-up of the project, and channels for communication can include digital media, press media, printed materials, meetings, etc.
Dissemination refers to measures to spread information about specific results to a given group. This is not general information (as is the case with communication), but a targeted message aiming to convey results to others who can make further use of these results. Dissemination may include academic publications, research reports, PhD theses, presentations at conferences, etc.
Exploitation refers to plans for how the results will be used and further applied, beyond your project. Here you need to identify which results can be used by others and how you intend to facilitate the use of your results. Activities may include further research, product development, new services, new standards, changes in policy, etc.
For assistance with writing about impact in your application and building up good action plans for communication and dissemination, contact the Department of Research Administration and Internationalisation.
When applying for funding for a research project, you must describe how the project will be carried out if it is allocated funding. Here you should explain what activities will be carried out and when, who is responsible and their qualifications, and what results you expect.
Project structure and work packages. It is common to structure a project into work packages. Each work package shall help achieve the overarching goals of the project, but may also have its own objectives linked to it. Within each work package, it is common to define who is in charge of the work package (the work package leader) and which other project partners will be involved. In addition, it is common to outline when during the project period the work package will be active, what tasks or activities will be carried out in each work package, and what results will be produced (deliverables and milestones). The Research Administration has a template for setting up work packages.
The person in charge of the project is often referred to as the Principal Investigator (PI) or Project Coordinator. The project partners or beneficiaries are collaboration partners in the project who receive funding and participate in the development of the application and execution of the project tasks. Other partners may also be involved as support partners, who do not participate actively and therefore do not receive funding; for example, a municipal authority might guarantee access to schools without having a specific role in the project.
It is common practice to identify a number of roles in the project in addition to the PI. These may be work package leaders (WP leaders), external advisory bodies, or internally appointed roles that are needed in the project; for example, people who are given special responsibility for following up on ethics, communication and dissemination, quality and risk management, etc. Once the roles have been identified, it is common to set up a project management model showing how the project participants will interact. See our list of suggested roles and models.
It is also common to have a time management model showing how the activities and tasks in the project will be carried out over the project period. Gantt charts are often used – see an example here.