The University of Agder (UiA) has received two of the six first allocations from the Research Council focusing on key professional educational programmes.
The School of Business and Law received NOK 9.9 million and the department of Engineering received NOK 10 million for each of their four-year research projects.
"This is great," says Rein Terje Thorstensen, Vice Dean at the Faculty of Engineering and Science and Project Manager for the research project “More Efficient and Environment-friendly Road Construction”, which has been awarded NOK 10 million by the Research Council as part of the strategy to promote professional education.
The financial allocation from the Research Council is substantial. This is the first time the department of engineering sciences at UiA has applied for funding from the Research Council.
More importantly is that Rein Terje Thorstensen and his colleagues have submitted an application that is highly rated at all levels, and has received the highest rating possible: top score six.
"We are very proud to have been awarded a top score and a positive evaluation of our first grant application to the Research Council," he says.
The department has already received NOK 6 million for this project from the Sørland's competence fund.
The starting point for the grant application is UiA's agreement with Nye Veier, which is a state-owned company that is responsible of planning, building, operating and maintaining key main roads in Norway.
The involved parties will develop new skills and industrial practices in four areas of road construction: industrialization, climate and environment, implementation capacity and digitization.
"The main challenge is to find out how we can build better, smarter and more environmentally friendly when we establish the road network. This is Nye Veier's mandate from the parliament”, says Thorstensen.
He expects six doctoral fellows to work on the project during the research period, and that each of the fellows will supervise four to five Bachelor’s and Master’s degree projects in addition.
"The Research Council's main objective is to expand the research-based foundation for professional education and professional practice in the engineering field" says Thorstensen.
About 170 people from different industrial companies are already included in the project through workshops organized together with Nye Veier. Several of UiA's professors are assigned tasks along the way. In addition, NTNU (the Norwegian University of Science and Technology), SINTEF (one of Europe’s largest independent research organisations), Niva (The Norwegian Institute for Water Research) and University College in Oslo and Akershus are important partners in the project. The project will start in 2018 and will last four years.
Professor Anna Alon at UiA’s Norwegian School of Business and Law has been awarded NOK 9.9 million for a four-year research project on internationalization of accounting and auditing.
"The award is a significant acknowledgment of the academic community and the network at the School of Business and Law at UiA, and we are very pleased to have been selected over ten other institutions," says Anna Alon.
She is a professor at the school of Business and Law and is currently heading the project who has been granted funds for four years to work on the internationalization of accounting and auditing. The project is called “Internationalization of Financial Reporting and Auditing”.
The Research Council has provided good feedback on the project, especially that the research will have both national and international impact. In addition, it is emphasized in the feedback that the research group is well-qualified and has presented thorough and relevant plans for dissemination and communication of research results. The application has received score five.
"We develop research on how international accounting rules are used differently across countries and how this affects the national accounting quality for companies," says Alon.
The EU-initiated IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) standards are central to this project. The standards will, among other parameters, make the accounts of listed companies and other companies across Europe more transparent and comparable.
"The key question is not how the IFRS standards per se impact financial reporting and auditing, but how different countries and businesses take them into use. Our research will include, among other aspects, the extent to which IFRS achieve the objectives of a common benchmark for accounting, auditing and valuation of international companies,” underscores Alon.
The School of Business and Law at UiA started its Master's programme in accounting and auditing three years ago, and became the third institution in Norway that offers such study programme.
There is relatively little research on the field and this project will contribute to increase research-based knowledge both for the School of Business and Law at UiA and the subject area.
"We aim at educating highly skilled and up-to-date auditors and economists, and this project will contribute positively to this purpose," says Geir Haaland, leader of the study programme and participant in the project.
In addition to Alon, Haaland and other academic staff both at UiA and outside, the project will involve at least one PhD candidate and one postdoctoral candidate. The Norwegian Auditors Association and the audit companies PwC and Revision Sør will also help the project in ensuring relevance to the accounting and auditing industry at large.