Funding of convergence environments in life sciences
UiO:Life Science will fund several convergence environments – interdisciplinary research groups that address major challenges within the life sciences. The application deadline was 1st of March 2017 and the results were announced in May.
- instructions for the full application for convergence environment, deadline March 1st (pdf)
- explanation of how the assessment and selection will be performed (pdf).
The UiO strategy for life sciences
What are life sciences?
In our strategy we define the life sciences as including
- all scientific disciplines studying the composition, structure and functions of living organisms
- medicine and biology constitute the core, backed by chemistry, physics and mathematical subjects
This strategy also includes the social sciences and humanities when these
- examine causal relationships between behaviour or consciousness and the biological foundation,
- or analyse challenges arising in the encounter between the application of the life sciences and society’s values and priorities
Convergence in research and education entails a ground-breaking integration through extensive collaboration among researchers from different disciplines with the aim of creating new areas of knowledge, new applications and opportunities.
We received 22 applications within the application deadline 1 st of March 2017. An expert panel met in the end of April to evaluate the full project proposals. The UiO:Life Science board made he final decisions.
UiO:Life Science will fund several “convergence environments” – interdisciplinary research groups that address major challenges within the life sciences domain, which are characterized by collaboration across conventional disciplinary boundaries. Beyond advancing life sciences research at UiO, they have two specific goals:
- To integrate humanities and social sciences in UiO:Life Science and ensure that research priorities are in line with societal norms and priorities
- To promote innovation, in a broad sense, from life sciences research at UiO. Convergence environments will be selected by an international expert panel based on scientific excellence.
Workshop followed by project sketch
A workshop with speed dating was held the 28th and 29th of September.
The deadline for sending a project sketch was October 28th. We received 31 sketches. These were sent to international experts for evaluation within December 15th.
Full project proposals
The applicants received the reviews from the international experts, instructions for the full application for convergence environment, and an explanation of how the assessment and selection will be performed.
Researchers who did not participate in the sketch process, but were interested in being a part of a convergence environment, had to join one of the projects from the sketch process.
The full application had to be submitted with 2 pdf attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 23:59 1st of March 2017.
More about convergence environments and the funding
Convergence environments («konvergensmiljø» in Norwegian) – research groups with collaboration across conventional disciplinary boundaries – is intended as a special instrument for strengthening the convergence culture at the university and contribute to increased coordination and synergy between researchers with different expertise across discipline boundaries
- Strengthen quality and interaction in research
- Recruit, educate and develop talents
- Promote innovation in the life sciences related to environment and health
- No thematic limitations
- Should connect to the UiO strategy for life sciences
- Should address questions too complex for one single discipline related to grand challenges in health and sustainable growth
- Should include RRI activities (RRI – Responsible Research and Innovation)
Read the paper Responsible research and innovation: From science in society to science for society, with society.
One of the authors, Phil Macnaghten, will give talks about RRI at the workshops.
About the funding (details under preparation)
- Cluster funding with 3–4 PhD positions each
- The PhD candidates will be employed by the departments and will attend their PhD programs
- The candidates can have a fourth year for teaching, used strategically by UiO:Life Science
- Possibilities for expenditures
- The departments are expected to support the convergence environments
Timeline for the application process
- End of September 2016: Call step 1 – Sketch, the form for the sketch will be published before the workshop
- 28th of October 2016: Deadline sketch (4 weeks after the call)
- November 2016: Evaluation (international)
- December 2016: Call step 2 – full proposal establishing convergence environments
- 1st of March 2017: Deadline full proposal
- March/April 2017: Final evaluation (international)
- May 2017: Announcement funding
- October 2017: Start first convergence environments
UiO:Life Science will fund 3–5 convergence environments this round. Further rounds following years, most likely every second year.