Norway - Global health R&D

Norway shows leadership by hosting the secretariat of CEPI, a vaccine development initiative

According to G-FINDER , Norway provided US$3 million in 2018 for research and development (R&D) on poverty-related and neglected diseases, referred to as ‘global health R&D’ in this profile. Norway’s funding for global health R&D, as reported to the G-FINDER, has remained low following a peak in 2011. Total funding for R&D to global health is higher than the US$3 million reported to the G-FINDER, as funding to major initiatives is not covered (see below).

Norway's Global Health R&D

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Norway’s global health research strategy mainly focuses on the field of immunization. In 2018, 46% of its funding went to the development of preventive vaccines. The government supports and hosts the permanent secretariat of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). CEPI is a global vaccine development fund, launched in 2017, that aims to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines during outbreaks. In its 2017 White Paper, ‘Common future, common responsibilities‘, Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) named CEPI the government’s most important new initiative in global health. Norway supported CEPI’s launch at the World Economic Forum in January 2017, with a commitment of NOK1.0 billion (around US$120 million) until 2021.

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, the Norwegian government pledged an additional NOK2.2 billion (US$210 million) to CEPI for 2021 to 2030. In addition, the Research Council of Norway (RCN) has announced NOK100 million (US$12 million) in funding for the World Health Organization’s (WHO) for COVID-19 treatment trials and for COVID-19 research relevant to low-income countries.

Norway also funds global health R&D through the national ‘Program for Global Health and Vaccination Research’ (GLOBVAC). GLOBVAC focuses on vaccination research and high impact research aimed at improving health equity in low- and middle-income countries. It plays a crucial role in Norwegian knowledge production, strengthening national capacity in global health and vaccine research, while also contributing to capacity-building in partner countries. GLOBVAC is jointly managed by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and the RCN. GLOBVAC initially planned to deliver NOK594 million (US$72 million) in financing for 2012 to 2020; the government has since increased its allocations by NOK105 million (US$13 million) between 2018 and 2020. It disbursed NOK91 million (US$11 million) in 2018.  Norway supports 87 projects through GLOBVAC.

Funding for global health R&D comes from the Research Council of Norway and the MFA

Two public institutions provide funding for global health R&D: the RCN and the MFA (including Norad).

The RCN distributed two-thirds of global health R&D funding in 2018 (67%), mostly to Norwegian universities. The 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 (33% in 2018). Contributions to CEPI come from the Ministry of Health.