Massive Open Online Course within the Nordic Neutron Science Programme

Call for organizing Massive Open Online Course within the Nordic Neutron Science Programme to promote excellence and capacity-building through the education of a new generation of neutron users and specialists.


The European Spallation Source (ESS) is presently under construction in Lund, Sweden. The facility will provide unprecedented neutron scattering capabilities for materials and biosciences in the Nordic region. It is imperative that the Nordic countries take full advantage of the scientific potential of the ESS.

To meet this need, NordForsk has established a new Nordic Neutron Science Programme (NNSP) in collaboration with the Danish Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Research Council of Norway, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research and the Swedish Research Council. The programme has a total budget of approximately NOK 60 million. The programme will run for five years (2015-2019).

The NNSP programme will strengthen the Nordic neutron community by introducing the use of neutron scattering to scientific disciplines new to neutron techniques and facilitating the consolidation of existing neutron user groups.

In 2016 NNSP organised the call to promote excellence and capacity-building through education of the next generation of Nordic neutron users in experienced user groups as well as user groups new to neutron techniques. Nordic Neutron School teaches neutron techniques at the postgraduate level and interacts with research groups in the neighbouring region and, in particular, the Baltic States.

For more information on the programme, please consult the programme webpage.

Framework for the call

The main purpose of this call is to broaden the impact and sustainability of the Nordic Neutron Science Program through Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

This is an additional call to support excellence and capacity-building in Nordic Neutron Science community through education of the next generation of Nordic neutron users to neutron techniques. The leader of the consortium producing the MOOC must be a senior researcher.

  • The MOOC will consist of a variety of training courses at the postgraduate level.
  • Course materials should be available upon request and free of charge for all participants.
  • The quality and structure of the MOOC material will fulfill professional and Nordic standards (e.g., the courses could be included in the Nordic university curriculum).
  • The MOOC material will take into account European initiatives (e.g.,
  • The MOOC will be published on a recognized international platform (e.g., edX)

The objectives of the MOOC are to:

  • Develop a Nordic neutron training and education eLearning material and a MOOC course.
  • Increase the number of young neutron users in new fields of research.
  • Stimulate the use of neutron techniques in both new and experienced neutron research groups.
  • Promote the use of Nordic state-of-the-art infrastructures in synchrotron and neutron research.
  • Promote Nordic neutron research through cooperation between the Nordic and other neutron research groups in the MOOC development.

The programme funding partners are the Danish Agency for Science, Technology, and Innovation, the Research Council of Norway, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research, the Swedish Research Council and NordForsk. The MOOC budget is maximum NOK 7 million.

Each part of the MOOC will reflect the contents and themes of the Nordic Neutron School.

Institutions/research groups are required to contribute own resources to the proposed MOOC. Own contribution may be in-kind and/or cash and must be specified in the budget form.

Eligibility criteria

The consortium producing MOOC must involve partner institutions from the three funding countries (Denmark including Greenland and Faroe Islands, Norway and Sweden).

Finland, including Åland, and Iceland are eligible to participate. Institutions from other countries, in particular, the Baltic States, are encouraged to participate but must fund their participation.

The host institution of the research project (Project Manager) must be a research institution based in one of the funding countries.

The Project Leader must be a senior researcher at the host institution.

To be eligible, proposals must be submitted in English through the NordForsk Call and Application Portal and comply with the call conditions.

Processing of proposals

Applicants must submit their proposal electronically through the NordForsk application portal no later than 21 September 2018 at 13:00 CEST. To access the application form, you must register as a user on the NordForsk Call and Application portal.

An international expert panel will assess the proposals using the assessment criteria below. The Programme Committee, consisting of representatives from the funding partners, will assess Nordic added value.

The NordForsk Board will take the final funding decision based on the recommendations submitted by the international expert panel and the Programme Committee. In the event of potential conflicts of interest, NordForsk's Guidelines on Impartiality will be applied.

NordForsk will initiate contract negotiations with the host organization of the selected proposal. Expected start-up is Q1 2019.

Assessment criteria

A panel of international experts will assess the proposals according to the following criteria:

  • Relevance to the call.
  • Quality and feasibility of the comprehensive two-year plan (including budget) for the Nordic MOOC in neutron techniques.
  • The inclusion of research areas new to neutron research with a concise plan of how to identify, introduce and engage user groups new to neutron techniques.
  • Utilization of relevant collaboration with international training communities.
  • Experience and quality of teaching and quality of the scientific team.
  • Competence to produce high-quality MOOC material.

The programme committee will assess Nordic added value. Also, the application must include:

  • An outline for the MOOC development process with a timetable and a risk analysis.
  • A description of the current gender balance in the project. If relevant, a plan for how to improve gender balance shortly. Please consult NordForsk's Gender Policy.
  • A dissemination and communication plan.
  • A plan for open access to publications and data by Science Europe Principles on Open Access to Research Publications.
Contact person
Kyösti Lempa - Senior Adviser
Contact person Kyösti Lempa
Senior Adviser
Work +47 948 86 536
Facts about the call
7 million NOK
Application expired
21.09.2018 - 13:00 CET
Funding scheme