The institute that hosts the Agri/Cultures Project – GenØk Centre for Biosafety – is officially an ‘independent research foundation’. However the institute is dependent on receiving its base funding from the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment. In October, the newly re-elected Government released the State budget for next year and it became clear that GenØk would receive significantly less funding for its operations. The institute’s budget from the government was reduced from 11.9 to 5 million for the year. This is a dramatic cut that will have significant impacts on what the organisation can do and achieve in the future.
Fortunately for us, The Agri/Cultures Project has its funding from the Research Council of Norway, and specifically from the FRIPRO Programme for Young Research Talents. This means that the funding for our project is not directly threatened. However, when the institute where we work goes through such a dramatic cut, this inevitably also affects us. This is not only in terms of the mood among the staff and within the environment where we work, but also in terms of the size and diversity of the group available for intellectual exchange and the administrative support that is on offer.
At the moment, GenØk is working to negotiate an increase in the proposed budget and of course we are writing new grant applications to secure additional sources of external funding. Still, it is difficult times right now and the changes this implies will occupy a significant amount of my time and energy these weeks.