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Aims and criteria

The goal of Helse Vest's research funding is to contribute to ensuring research activity among health providers, and to increase the productivity, the quality and the utility of research. Research funds are to be an incentive and an economic contribution for ensuring research, and in cultivating research expertise among health trusts.

In Norwegian

The research funds announced are to be awarded to clinical patient-oriented research and health services research. Clinical, patient-oriented research also includes, among other things, registry research, laboratory research and other research necessary for specialised health care services to be able to offer good, safe and efficient health care services.

A substantial amount of funds are to be awarded to research education and the cultivation of research expertise through the distribution of PhD and postdoctoral fellowships. The quality of research is to be strengthened through the establishment of regional research networks, and through national and international research collaboration.

Who can apply – requirements at the time of application

The applicant must be employed (minimum 20%) by a health trust in the region  or by a private, non-profit institution that has an agreement with Helse Vest. If the employment requirements are not met, people who are employed by universities and colleges in the region, as well as private substance abuse centres and rehabilitation institutions with an agreement with Helse Vest, can still apply if an agreement of support with a health trust or a private, non-profit institution is attached.

If the applicant is retiring during the project period, a statement clarifying who will continue the project must be attached to the application.

Criteria for awarding research funding

Applications are evaluated on the basis of research quality and impact (benefit to patients and impact on patient care and health services). These two criteria are balanced, meaning that high utility or high quality alone is not sufficient for funding to be awarded.

Assessment of research quality (50 %)

The criteria for quality include an evaluation of the scientific quality of the project, the applicant and the research environment. The following elements fall under research quality criteria:

Project design and originality (20 %)

  • Scientific background of the project, overview of the research front, state-of-the-art, relevant references/literature
  • Description of hypotheses, objectives and milestones
  • Description of positions (particularly important if including PhD grants) and roles
  • Scientific novelty /originality relative to the research front of the subject area
  • Degree of innovation; Does the project challenge current practices (clinical and research), e.g. through innovative use of theory/methods?
  • Overview of the research front, state-of-the-art, relevant references /literature

Feasibility (20 %)

  • Realistic, well-reasoned and appropriate project plans (data collection, methods, analyses, statistics etc.)
  • Identified risks, alternative strategies for conducting the project
  • Data available from pilot projects or other preliminary data when relevant
  • Realistic budgets

Quality of the applicant and the research environment (10 %) 

  • Expertise, productivity and qualifications
  • Skills related to project management and supervision
  • Infrastructure, access to equipment and resources, necessary/relevant scientific networks
  • Relevant collaborators creating a research environment of capacity
  • Cross-disciplinarity if relevant

Assessment of impact (50 %)

The evaluation of impact is an evaluation of the project's benefit to patients and impact on patient care and health services. The following elements fall under the impact criteria:

Needs Justification (20 %)

  • Needs in specialist health care services
  • Target group(s), i.e. the patient group(s), other identified users
  • Filling knowledge gaps

Potential for implementation (20 %)

  • Realistic plans for implementation / translation of research into improved practice
  • Realistic time line for implementation (short/long term)
  • Identified dependencies on development in other areas, alternative strategies

Importance of generating new knowledge and competence building (10 %)

  • Realistic importance for the health services, possible improvements of existing offers/practices
  • Importance of new knowledge / filling knowledge gaps, academic impact
  • Impact on society, potential for generalisation / broad use of new knowledge/methods/procedures

Mandatory items of the application

Dissemination and visibility

  • Plan for dissemination, publications, articles, web sites etc.
  • Other relevant plans for disseminating new knowledge, nationally and internationally

Plan for user involvement

  • Describe user participation in the project, justification if user participation is not relevant

Regarding the assessment of applications in the category "Open project support"

In addition to research quality and impact, applications in the application category "open project support" will be evaluated on the basis of how well the project promotes research collaboration in the region.

The Liaison Committee (Samarbeidsorganet) encourages regional collaboration in order to share and use expertise and resources in a positive way, as well as creating robust, regional networks. Regional networks are important for promoting applications that can compete for funding at the national and international levels.

Regional cooperation will be weighted positively in the evaluation of applications in the category "open project support". The Liaison Committee (Samarbeidsorganet) defines regional collaboration as research collaboration between institutions in different parts of the region, such as collaboration between Helse Bergen and Helse Førde, Helse Stavanger and Helse Fonna, Haraldsplass Diakonale Sykehus and the University of Stavanger. 

User involvement in research

According to the Norwegian "helseføretakslova § 35" it is mandatory to have user involvement in research projects in the hospital. User involvement is an essential element of health research, and shall contribute so that the users perspective, needs and experiences are reflected in the conducted research. User involvement in health research conducted in the hospital will improve the quality, relevance and delivery of the research. Users are primarily patients and relatives. In certain cases healthcare service providers and members of the general public, can also be regarded as users in a research context.

​User involvement is when users have the opportunity and access to participate in influencing, developing and changing health research. Users can participate in different phases of the research project and / or at a more general strategic level. User involvement must not be confused with obtaining data from patients and relatives who have the role of study participant

Researchers who are granted Helse Vest research funding, must have completed a digital course in user involvement​

Application categories

PhD fellowships and postdoctoral fellowships (named fellows), short-term projects, fellowships abroad, open project support (previously known as new multi-year research project), clinical researcher fellowships and a career fellowship can be applied for.

Guidelines have been prepared for each application category.
The research funds announced will be distributed as follows among the application categories:

  • Research fellowships: 60 %
  • Other project support: 40 %

Research fellowships refer to PhD and postdoctoral fellowships. The distribution between PhD and postdoctoral fellowships are intended to be 60/40.

Page updated: June 2024

Last updated 5/29/2024