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 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.
 

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

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:
 

  • Originality

    • 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?
  • Design of the application

    • 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 for PhD fellowships) and roles
  • Feasibility

    • 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
  • The quality of the applicant (relative to career stage)

    • Expertise and qualifications
    • Productivity
    • Skills related to project management and supervision
    • Independency relative to career stage (particularly important for career fellowship proposals)
  • Research environment

    • Infrastructure, access to equipment and resources, necessary/relevant scientific networks
    • Relevant collaborators
    • Educational environment, capacity and ability to supervise
    • Cross-disciplinarity if relevant


Assessment of impact

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:

  • Justification of need

    • Target group(s), i.e. the patient group(s), family members, other identified users
    • Needs in specialist health care services
    • Filling knowledge gaps
    • Meeting other needs of society
  • Importance of generating new knowledge

    •  Realistic importance for 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 knowledge
  • Potential for implementation

    •  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
  • Competence building

    •  Gain of knowledge/skills required in the health services
    • Development of methods, techniques
    • Strengthening of the research area
  • Dissemination and visibility

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

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" (previously known as “New multi-year research project”) 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 Sjukehus and the University of Stavanger. 

User involvement in research

The board of Helse Vest RHA adopted in April 2015 guidelines for user involvement. User involvement is to give added value to research.

By the term “user involvement in research”, we refer to involving the users in the research work, not as objects of study, but rather as advisors, collaborative partners, co-researchers or because they are involved as representatives or observers in research groups or other bodies that help promote and make decisions on research. 
 
The Ministry of Health and Care Services has pointed out that user involvement includes patients, family members, the population, services and authorities. Users in health research will nevertheless primarily be patients and family members.
 
Applicants for research funding are to explain to what degree users are involved in the planning, completion and dissemination of the research project, and how the user involvement will contribute to making the project better. User involvement will contribute, with greater certainty, to new knowledge that will prove beneficial for both the patients and health services (refer also to the template for project presentation). If user involvement is not relevant, this needs to be explained. 
 

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%
  • Short-term projects: 5%
  • Other project support: 35%

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