Just before the holidays, the Research Council of Norway (RCN) announced its annual funding decisions.

Jørgen WettestadThe largest project, to be conducted under the RCN Klimaforsk programme, will investigate how climate-policy instruments should be organized and designed for maximum efficiency. This project, ‘Platform for Open and Nationally Accessible Climate Policy Knowledge’ (PLATON), aims to help policymakers to make better-informed climate policy choices – and to help Norway to achieve its emissions targets for 2030 and 2050. PLATON is a joint venture coordinated by CICERO in collaboration with FNI and several other research partners as well as 29 user-partners – governmental entities, industry and business organizations, environmental organizations and other NGOs. With a total budget of some NOK 72 million (€ 7.4 million), this constitutes the biggest social science research project ever implemented in Norway.

We look forward to participating in this exciting and important project, which will build on FNI’s solid expertise on international climate policy ’, says FNI Research Professor Jørgen Wettestad. He will be leading one of the project working packages, on the interaction between national and international (and particularly EU) climate policy instruments.

Top notch projects

Irja VormedalFNI has also been granted funding for the aquaculture project titled ‘A Green Light for Aquaculture? Sustainable Innovation and Growth in Norway (Greenlight)’. Recognized as a ‘top notch’ (Toppforsk)research project by RCN, Greenlight will examine innovation and sustainability in Norway’s booming aquaculture industry. It will focus on the controversial ‘traffic light’ system, introduced by the government to regulate production growth in the industry and the related environmental problems. This system, which employs a colour coding scheme – green, yellow and red – to identify regions where expansion can take place, has been widely debated and criticized since entering into force in 2017. The project will be led by FNI Senior Researcher Irja Vormedal and will run from 2019 to 2023.

Vormedal is also a recipient of this year’s RCN  ‘young talent’ scholarships. Only 7 per cent of the applications in this funding category were granted, and Vormedal is one of eight researchers within the humanities and social sciences to be awarded a young talent scholarship this year. Together with collaborating partners at Yale and Berkeley, Vormedal will explore the role of business and markets in climate politics, with a special focus on ‘snowballing’ dynamics and ‘tipping points’ in the market–policy interplay of climate policies. You can read more about the project here.

Highly competitive

Geir HønnelandFNI has also been granted funding as a contributing partner to several other new projects. Research Professor Ole Kristian Fauchald and Senior Policy Analyst Christian Prip will be involved in two separate projects coordinated by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), both related to ecosystem management. Moreover, Research Director Kristin Rosendal will contribute to a Nofima-led project titled ‘Gene editing for elucidating gene function and refining genomic selection for CMS resistance in Atlantic salmon.’

FNI Director Geir Hønneland is pleased to see that the institute has shown that it is competitive, with fresh funding and promising, new projects adding to an already solid FNI research portfolio.

I’m thrilled about the results of the latest round of RCN project awards. Not only are we consolidating our status as a leading research institute on climate politics, we’re also taking a big step forward in our focus on aquaculture regulation both of these are priority areas in Norwegian policy and research. Moreover, Irja Vormedal has made an impressive accomplishment: two top-scholar projects awarded at the same time.’