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Research and innovation plan adopted

In the October meeting, the University Board set the direction for research, artistic development work and innovation at UiA for the next few years.

University board with I4Helse

The University Board’s meeting on 12 October 2022 was held at I4Health on Campus Grimstad. As usual, the public parts of the meeting were streamed on uia.no.

Tool for achieving goals in research and innovation

The Board adopted a new action plan for research, artistic development work and innovation for the period 2023-2025. The goal for the plan is for it to be a tool for the university to achieve the goals set out in UiA’s strategy.

The plan has four priority areas:

  • Strong culture for research, artistic development work and research-based innovation throughout the organisation
  • Time and space for research, artistic development work and research-based innovation
  • External funding as a tool for attaining sustainability and quality in research and innovation
  • Competence and time to carry out research and innovation management

The action plan is based on other institutional plans, as well as the strategic plans already drawn up by each of the faculties to follow up UiA’s strategy. The plan replaces the Plan for R&D 2017-2027.

The plan has been subject to consultation and has also been considered by the University Research and Innovation Committee.

One measure was changed following the board’s consideration, measure 2 of priority area 1, which is about whether to introduce a general rule about formal qualifications for associate professor level when appointing permanent academic staff. The part that Rector should approve exceptions to the main rule was removed, and it was added that employees in such positions without such qualifications must have a career development plan. During the Board’s discussion, it was emphasised and highlighted how valuable employees without associate professor qualifications, such as assistant professors, are to UiA.

Beyond this, the action plan was essentially adopted as proposed, with some minor changes to the wording.

Separate action plan for Horizon Europe

Horizon Europe is the world’s largest research and innovation programme. The programme started on 1 January 2021 with a budget of NOK 970 billion, and EU-funded research is a priority at the University of Agder.

In order to increase participation in EU-funded research projects, a separate action plan has been drawn up for 2022-2026. Four priority areas have been defined:

  • influence on research policy 
  • increased participation in EU-funded projects and offer researchers specialist support to handle applications
  • contracts and project management
  • efficient processes for applications and project implementation

Sub-goals and activities have been defined for each priority area to ensure goal achievement.

The action plan has previously been considered by the University Research and Innovation Committee and was adopted by the University Board as proposed.

Dialogue with Grimstad municipality

The University Board invited Grimstad municipality to dialogue. Mayor Beate Skretting reviewed the results of the national student survey for higher education (the SHoT study) for the town Grimstad and the measures the municipality is taking to increase student wellbeing.

One of the challenges that was mentioned was public transport, which the municipality is working with AKT and others to improve.

The mayor emphasised how important UiA is to the municipality. During the dialogue, several speakers expressed that they were impressed by all the activities undertaken by Grimstad and that it is an example for other university towns to follow. It was also discussed how to continue the work to ensure that more students choose to settle in the municipality.

Ordfører i Grimstad Beate Skretting

Other select items at the University Board meeting:

  • The University Board decided which priority initiatives outside the 2024 block grant UiA should submit as proposals to the Ministry of Education. Investing in offshore wind expertise is added as a new item number three
  • The University Board was briefed on how the proposed government budget for 2023 will affect UiA
  • The Board formalised the continued system of two-tier management at UiA and the introduction of rector elections with election platforms and rector pairs (rector and prorector) by updating the election regulations. A proposal to require professor qualifications of candidates for the positions was defeated by a vote of nine to two
  • The Board was presented with the long-term budget for UiA, which should provide an idea about what the financial development at UiA may look like in the coming years
  • The Board approved the internal accounts for the second four-month period
  • The Board approved the number of student places for the academic year 2023-2024
  • The University Board met the general manager and board chair of I4Health Ltd. 

See all the documents from the meeting (Norwegian only)