Industrial PhD Scheme – Doctoral Projects in Industry

The Research Council of Norway

For profit
R&D and Higher Education
Arts, Culture and Heritage
Research, Development and Innovation Engineering and Technology
Research, Development and Innovation Humanities
Research, Development and Innovation Social Sciences

The call for proposals has been temporarily postponed with effect from 26 April 2022.

Due to a large increase, there are no funds left for more Industrial PhD projects in 2022. The call is therefore closed in 2022, but will reopen when the scheme is provided with new funds, probably in 2023. We will update the call as soon as we have precise information.

The Research Council has established the Industrial PhD Scheme to boost research efforts and long-term competence-building for Norwegian trade and industry through the recruitment of doctoral candidates.

The scheme is also intended to promote closer cooperation between the business sector and research organisations as a necessary step in promoting knowledge transfer from researchers to society at large, among other things.

The Industrial PhD Scheme provides companies in all thematic areas and branches of industry (provided that it is allowed under the EEA legal framework) with the opportunity to expand their research knowledge and expertise without having to participate in a more comprehensive R&D project.

The Industrial PhD Scheme gives rise to a small but critical increase in the total number of doctoral candidates and has the same level of scientific quality as the general doctoral degree education.


Under the Industrial PhD Scheme, the Research Council provides funding to cover eligible project costs directly related to completion of the doctoral project. Approved costs include:

  • salary and personnel costs for the candidate;
  • salary and personnel costs for internal supervisors;
  • costs incurred by the degree-conferring institution (such as supervisory services and office space);
  • other operating costs (laboratory experiments, purchase of literature, conference-related travel, etc.);

Funding under the Industrial PhD Scheme will only be provided for project activity that is defined as “industrial research” and “fundamental research” under the state aid rules (see definition of fundamental research here).

Industrial research means “the planned research or critical investigation aimed at the acquisition of new knowledge and skills for developing new products, processes or services or for bringing about a significant improvement in existing products, processes or services. It comprises the creation of components parts of complex systems, and may include the construction of prototypes in a laboratory environment or in an environment with simulated interfaces to existing systems as well as of pilot lines, when necessary for the industrial research and notably for generic technology validation.”

Costs for other types of activities and measures to exploit R&D results, such as filing for patents, market surveys and marketing, testing and completion of new products and services are not approved for funding. Overarching R&D activities in the company that do not directly contribute to the progress of the project in terms of research, scientific objectives and the production of the final dissertation are not to be included in the budget.

The applicant company must set up a realistic budget in the grant application form showing all costs directly related to carrying out the doctoral project. The Research Council requires you to break down the project budget into the following cost categories:

  • Payroll and indirect expenses: salary and personnel costs for the company’s staff, including the candidate and internal supervisor, and salary and personnel costs for the degree-conferring institution. These costs are to be calculated on the basis of hourly rates for each individual participating in the project. The basis used to calculate costs, i.e. the costs included in the hourly rate, is to be described in the application (in the specification field under the budget tables). Different rules apply for the calculation of hourly rates for company personnel and for staff at the degree-conferring institution. Please read and follow the guidelines carefully. Calculating payroll and indirect expenses for companies, the public sector and other applicants; Calculating payroll and indirect expenses for the university and university college sector.
  • Procurement of R&D services: costs related to the procurement of R&D services from a supplier such as laboratory activity, analyses, etc. See What to enter in the project budget for more information.
  • Equipment. Please note that there are restrictions on which equipment costs may be included in the budget. It is important to read the guidelines carefully. See information relating to equipment here.
  • Other operating expenses: costs related to purchase of literature, conference-related travel, other operating costs such as laboratory experiments, external advisers, etc.

Please visit the webpage What to enter in the project budget for more information.

Calculating support The table below shows the maximum yearly and monthly amount of support to Industrial PhD Scheme projects. Funding is calculated monthly from the time of project start.

                 2022     2023     2024     2025     2026     2027   

3-year projects 612 850 631 236 650 173 669 678 689 768 710 461

Support per month 51 071 52 603 54 181 55 806 57 481 59 205

4-year projects 459 638 473 427 487 629 502 258 517 326 532 846

Support per month 38 303 39 452 40 636 41 855 43 111 44 404

Support is limited to maximum 50 per cent of total project costs. *The rates are adjusted on an annual basis and may therefore change at the beginning of a new year.

Funding will not be disbursed as a lump sum allocation and will be adjusted to reflect costs entered in the accounts. Funding may not exceed 50 per cent of total, approved project costs. This means that if the costs recorded in the project accounts are lower than budgeted, the Research Council’s disbursement will be reduced so that it will not exceed 50 per cent of project costs.

If multiple partners have accrued eligible costs, a genuine cost and support allocation must take place. Companies that receive funding under the Industrial PhD Scheme may not receive support in excess of 50 per cent of their eligible costs. In other words, a single contributor may not received funding to cover more than 50 per cent of its eligible costs. It is thus not permitted to distribute the funding according to approximation, for instance by allocating each partner 50 per cent of the overall support, if this does not reflect the partner’s actual contribution to the project.

Funding is disbursed as project support to the company, not as a personal grant to the candidate.

Personal Overseas Research Grants

Companies that are awarded funding under the Industrial PhD Scheme may also apply for a Personal Overseas Research Grant for their doctoral candidate provided that the candidate is associated with a degree-conferring institution in Norway. The Research Council has separate calls for proposals for Personal Overseas Research Grants.

Tax deduction for R&D project via SkatteFUNN

Companies within all sectors and industries can apply for SkatteFUNN and with an approval get 19 percent of the project costs as a tax deduction through the tax settlement. See the SkatteFUNN website for more information.
Learn more or apply
All information about this funding has been collected from and belongs to the funding organization
08 May 2023