On the road to a new Fram Centre collaboration


2021 was an exciting year for the Fram Centre collaboration. The long-running Flagship programmes ended and new programmes were selected and recommended for funding to the Ministry of Climate and Environment starting in 2022. The participating scientists have done an excellent job in following up the strategy and the call for new programmes. In the coming year all the groups must start implementing the new programmes.

By: Bo Andersen // leader of the Fram Centre Steering Committee

Foto av person som går på ski i sol og snø

With the pandemic situation still ongoing, 2021 was, in a general sense an “annus horibilis” for too many of us. However, for the Fram Centre collaboration it was clearly the opposite. From the end of 2020 and all through last year a new strategy has been developed, new areas of research have been announced, the scientists have developed consortia with applications, and after international evaluation of the proposals, the Fram Centre steering committee has recommended a new set of research programmes.

In parallel with the process of defining new programmes for the future, the scientists have mostly completed the work within the long-standing Flagships. These Flagships have lasted for up to ten years and have provided numerous new scientific results as well as building up collaborative relationships between the Fram Centre member institutions.

The strategy for the future Fram Centre collaboration was developed by the steering committee with numerous inputs from the scientists and member institutions. In addition, several of the users of the Fram Centre scientific results expressed views that influenced the content of the new strategy. The following points summarise the essence of the strategy:

  • The research must require collaboration between Fram Centre members.
  • The collaborative research shall be of high scientific quality.
  • The research programmes must be interdisciplinary.
  • The results shall be important as a scientific basis for management of the northern regions of Norway.

With the new strategy as a basis, a broad group of scientists were asked to come up with a set of research questions they deemed should have the highest priority in the future collaboration. The steering committee selected a total of five programme areas from the broad list provided by the scientists. These programme areas were opened for response in July with Letters of Intent expected in September and final applications by the beginning of November. An international panel evaluated all six proposals and ultimately four major programmes and one project were recommended for funding. But all these applications received many suggestions for improvements that should make the programmes even better when implemented.

The steering committee followed the external recommendations and added some more comments of their own concerning funding and participation, as well as annual goal setting. The programmes have initially been recommended for a five-year period and will be evaluated annually on progress and results. This evaluation will be the basis for the recommendation for budget level in the following year.

The start of the new programmes will require some adjustments in accordance with the comments from the evaluators and the steering committee. With these adjustments, the leader of the committee expects that the new programmes will be implemented according to their plans  during 2022 and onwards.

The leader of the steering committee would like to commend the participating scientists for their significant effort during the year to create the new research programmes. This commendation should also go to the participants in the steering committee, the research leader group, and the dissemination group. The implementation of the Fram Centre collaboration could not have succeeded without the great effort of the secretariat.