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Research results inadequately publicised - Doc. No. 3:6 (2004-2005)

The Office of the Auditor General of Norway (OAG) has uncovered weaknesses in the Research Council of Norway’s management and implementation of action-oriented research programmes. As a consequence, end users are likely to have benefited to a lesser extent from the research programmes.
Published 2/16/2005 12:00 PM

Document No. 3:6 (2004-2005) The Office of the Auditor General’s study of the Research Council of Norway’s action-oriented research programmes was submitted to the Storting on 16 February 2005. The purpose of the study was to shed light on the degree to which the Research Council of Norway (RCN) safeguards the Storting’s intentions that research should benefit the authorities, the business community and the general public. The study principally covers a sample of nine selected action-oriented programmes primarily aimed at the public sector, trade associations and special interest organisations.

The review shows that the RCN has not established an overarching strategy for user-oriented dissemination of knowledge and technology as requested by the Storting. The individual research divisions within the RCN have developed such dissemination strategies although these are frequently not specific in nature. This may entail inadequate follow-up of the RCN’s responsibilities in this area.

The study shows that:

  • Several programmes have not identified target groups for their research to a sufficient extent. Furthermore, their overview of the central users of the programmes varies somewhat.
  • A survey conducted among the end users of the selected research programmes indicates that in five of the nine programmes the majority of end users are dissatisfied with the level of accessibility of the research results.
  • The RCN’s homepage facilitates retrieval of information on research publications and research results only to a limited degree.
  • Specific goals have been developed only to a limited extent for several of the programmes, and the final reports delivered by the programmes are incomplete. This implies that the RCN only follows up the existing routines for planning and reporting to a limited extent.

The Ministry of Education and Research is of the opinion that the study has raised points related to the RCN’s administration of research programmes where there is clearly potential for improvement. In addition, the Ministry has indicated that a future report to the Storting will review the subject of the dissemination of research. The Ministry has already initiated efforts to improve the circumstances highlighted in the study with regard to administrative matters at the RCN.

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