The committees are composed of a total of 16 persons from national or Nordic institutions, that is, from institutions outside the region.
The main committee is composed of one senior head and the heads from three subcommittees. The three subcommittees will be composed of five persons and following backgrounds are to be represented:
- clinical research
- basic research and/or translational research
- community medicine or health sciences
Heads of the subcommittees should have participated in committee work as a member for at least one year before serving as head.
All members must have significant research experience within the relevant discipline. An attempt is made to achieve a broad academic composition of the evaluation committees. On the basis of applications received, the head of the main committee can, in consultation with the secretariat, obtain expert assessment for individual applications if it appears that there are obvious deficiencies in committee's academic composition. Both sexes are to be represented in the committees. The committee members and the secretary are to be compensated according to rates used by the Research Council of Norway.
- All members should be prepared to accept a three year commitment when they accept a seat on an evaluation committee
- Any member, who for some reason must decline their seat on the committee before their three year period is up, will be replaced
- As a main rule four members will be replaced yearly
- The head of the main committee is chosen independently of the rotation scheme
- The Regional Liaison Committee (Det regionale samarbeidsorganet) makes formal appointments to the evaluation committees
Applications for overseas fellowships will be evaluated by an administrative committee. The administrative committee is led by the head of the main committee and two persons from the secretariat at Regional Centre for Clinical Research (Regionalt kompetansesenter for klinisk forsking). The result from the administrative committee is assessed by the main committee.
A limit of about 100 applications is set per committee. If the number of applications exceeds this, an assessment will be made whether another extra evaluation committee should be appointed with the same constitution as described in the guidelines above.
Distribution and evaluation of applications
The three subcommittees are to share an equal load in number of applications. The secretariat distributes applications to the committees based on topic and information concerning the applicant's collaborative partners and workplace.
The subcommittees are responsible for their share of applications. Based on the criteria (cf. Aims and criteria) and other provisions from the Regional Liaison Committee (Det regionale samarbeidsorganet) they are to evaluate and prioritize the applications. The head of the main committee is obligated to attend all subcommittee meetings. Every committee member must be familiar with all the applications in their own committee, but is responsible for about 20 applications and co-responsible for about another 20 applications.
An electronic system (eVurdering) has been prepared for committee members with a scale of marks and the opportunity to write comments. The evaluation form is used as a starting point for the committee's discussion of each individual application. The result of the assessment process is based on discussions in the evaluation committees.
The prioritized lists from each subcommittee are reviewed by the main committee, with special emphasis on overarching, comprehensive evaluation and with knowledge of the region's research profile. The results from the main committee are sent to the Regional Liaison Committee (Det regionale samarbeidsorganet) for final decision. The head of the main committee participates in the meeting where the decision is made.
Impartiality and complaints procedures
When evaluating applications, ordinary impartiality rules apply, cf. Public Administration Act Chapter II regarding disqualification due to partiality. The guiding principle of partiality comes to expression in Public Administration Act § 6 second paragraph: A person is considered to be partial when there are particular conditions that suitably weaken confidence in the person's neutrality, among other things, emphasis is to be placed upon whether the decision made in the case may entail a particular advantage, loss or inconvenience for the person in question or someone with whom they have a close personal connection.
Closeness to and ownership of strategic research needs can come in conflict with the need to ensure academic distance. This should be specifically considered by The Liaison Committee (Samarbeidsorganet) upon appointment of members to evaluation committees and awarding of funds.
The evaluation committees in Helse Vest are constituted based on the guiding principle in the Public Administration Act which comes to expression in the following way: A committee member must declare themselves partial if he or she is named as a collaborative partner in the application or is involved in the applicant's research group in such a way that their neutrality can be called into question. Being employed at the same institution/department as the applicant is not automatically grounds for partiality, but the individual committee member can declare partiality on this basis.
The Liaison Committee's (Samarbeidsorganet) secretariat considers the applicant's information about collaborative partners and workplace upon distributing the submitted applications to subcommittees.
The committee members are to report any partiality as soon as possible. Partiality is to be reported, registered and logged through the electronic system eVurdering. If partiality is reported for applications where a committee member has main or co-responsibility, the application will as a main rule be distributed to another member in the same subcommittee.
The electronic evaluation system is constructed such that the committee member actively must declare impartiality or partiality in relation to each individual application.
The heads of evaluation committees are obligated to bring up any questions of partiality at the start of all committee meetings.
The committee members are not to be present during the evaluation of applications for which they have reported partiality.
Feedback and complaints procedures
After decisions on research funding are made, applicants will receive grounds for rejection. The grounds are based on notes from the evaluation procedure and will mainly be of a general and overall character. It is possible to contend a rejection on grounds of procedural error. The deadline for filing a complaint is 3 weeks after receiving the grounds for rejection. Please refer to the guidelines for Feedback and complaints procedures.