Global health R&D spending is low and has decreased

In 2015, Norway provided US$7 million for research and development (R&D) on poverty-related and neglected diseases (PRNDs), referred to as ‘global health R&D’ in this profile. These figures are based on G-FINDER data. Norway distributes this funding across multiple diseases, including tuberculosis (US$2 million, or 26% of its global health R&D funding), HIV/AIDS (21%), and African viral haemorrhagic fever (18%).

Norway’s global health research strategy mainly focuses on health research in the field of immunization. In this context, the government supports and hosts the permanent secretariat of the newly-established Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). CEPI is a global vaccine development fund aiming to shorten the development time of new vaccines in case of an epidemic such as Ebola. Norway’s strategy documents also emphasize research related to communicable diseases in developing countries, as well as research to strengthen its knowledge base on non-communicable diseases.

Public funding for global health R&D is provided by two main organizations in Norway

Two major public institutions in Norway provide funding for global health R&D: the Research Council of Norway (RCN) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA; including the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Norad).

RCN distributed just over half of global health R&D funding in 2015 (53%). RCN serves as the advisory body for the government authorities on research policy issues. It awards research grants and is overseen by the Ministry of Research. The RCN follows the research policy guidelines of the government and parliament, and additionally advises the government. The MFA, including Norad, provides the remaining global health R&D funding (47% in 2015).

These two institutions also work collaboratively to channel financing to global health R&D. For example, the ‘Program for Global Health and Vaccination Research’ (GLOBVAC), a joint program by Norad and the RCN, plays a crucial role in Norwegian knowledge production. GLOBVAC strengthens the national capacity in global health and vaccine research, while also contributing to capacity building in developing countries GLOBVAC plans to deliver NOK594 million (US$94 million) in financing for 2012-2020; NOK120 million (US$19 million) was allocated in 2017. GLOBVAC focuses on vaccination research and other research with potential for high impact that can contribute to improvements in health equity in developing countries.