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Call for proposals: Norec grant «Exchange cooperation» 2024-2025

About the grant

Norec supports global partnerships for sustainable development. Norec grant funds support collaborative work exchanges, giving young professionals the opportunity to develop international work experience and expertise in sustainable development.

  • Norec strives to maintain a diverse portfolio of exchange project, both in terms of themes and the parties involved.
  • Applicants working on themes related to climate, climate adaption, and food security are especially prioritised for 2024.

The sustainable development goals, climate goals, and human rights form the basis for Norwegian development policy and the use of aid funds.

Norec will contribute to achieving the overarching goals of Norwegian development policy.


  • Deadlines and grant funds

    Collaboration agreement

    • Deadline: 1 June, 2024
    • Earliest start date: January/February 2025
    • Total funds available: Up to NOK 30 million*
    • Application processing finalised: During October 2024

    Feasibility Study

    • Deadline: 15 August 2024
    • Total funds available: Up to NOK 1 million*
    • Application processing finalised: 1 month after the deadline

    Final allocations depend on Norec’s annual budget.

    *These are the total funds available for all projects.

  • Intended purpose of the grant

    Through this call for proposals, Norec aims to support and strengthen partnerships that contribute to:

    • New knowledge and relevant skills and expertise to promote sustainable development;
    • Improved capacities for diverse leadership and inclusive work environments;
    • Strategic and institutional learning, innovation and development across the partnerships and within the grant recipient organisations;
    • Innovative and global networks and reciprocal partnerships created or sustained by grant recipients;
    • Reciprocal learning, exchange of knowledge and expertise in support of Sustainable Development Goal 17;
    • Increased intercultural understanding and tolerance;
    • New or improved quality of services delivered by grant recipients;
    • Development impact on the local community;
  • Who can apply for grant funds?

    • The grant scheme is competition based.
    • Complete applications are processed and approved or rejected on the basis of the guidelines and criteria set out in this call for proposals.
    • Applications are also assessed in comparison to other applications.
    • No applicant is automatically entitled to a grant under this scheme, even if they meet all the formal and practical criteria.
  • First time applying for a Norec grant?

    If you have never received a Norec grant, you must apply for a feasibility study. This is an important step to establish the partnership and plan the exchange project.

    In the application for a feasibility study, Norec will consider:

    • Whether the partnership is eligible for the grant
    • The project’s potential to reach the desired outcome
    • The partnership’s ability to carry out an exchange that corresponds with the purpose of the grant

    Afterward, the partnership will have the opportunity to apply for a collaboration agreement.

2. Who is eligible to apply?

The following groups are eligible for Norec grants:

  • Civil society organisations;
  • Public institutions;
  • Private sector companies, or:
  • Multilateral and global organisations.

The applicants must be legal, registered entities as per the categories above. Accurate and complete information about the nature of the entity must be provided in the application.


  • Applicant qualifications

    • Applicants must be based in Norway or in one or more of the countries on Norec’s partner list.
      • In exceptional circumstances, where Norec sees that the project carries strategic relevance to the overall objectives set and has transformative potential, a partnership may include countries beyond the above partner list. Projects must at any given time be implemented in a country eligible for Norwegian development assistance (ODA countries).
    • Applicants must have the necessary administrative and financial capacity to be able to implement the exchange project.
    • Applicants must demonstrate good understanding of the subject areas for which expertise will be exchanged and must have a realistic results framework for the project.
    • The applicant must confirm that the entity’s ethical guidelines satisfy the minimum requirements set out in Norec’s ethical principles.
  • "Leave no one behind"

    Norec adheres to the principle of “Leave no one behind”. Beyond the overall priorities and eligibility of Norec’s grant scheme as described above and below, Norec will strive to facilitate the inclusion of actors and exchange participants who otherwise may not engage in global partnerships for sustainable development.

    Primarily two categories of actors are considered here:

    • Entities that are not traditional aid recipients and that wish to strengthen their international engagement and collaboration.
    • Entities that comprise of, or work, with marginalised or vulnerable groups.

3. Project and application criteria


  • Project requirements

    • The project must comply with the OECD/DAC criteria for ODA support;
    • The project must be in line with the objectives of Norec’s grant scheme and must seek to meet a specifically defined need;
    • The project must have clearly defined, realistic and measurable goals, and applications must include a description of the current situation/baseline and indicators that will make it possible to measure and report results (results-based management);
    • The project must be cost-effective and this must be reflected in the budget.
  • Application requirements

    • The application must show that sufficient risk assessments have been carried out for its exchange participants and the project, and the necessary measures have been taken through, for example, visa and work permits, training, guidelines, insurances and equipment;
    • The application must describe the strength and reciprocity of the partnership, joint ownership of the results framework and collaboration through the project description.
    • The application must include a plan for how the exchange participants will be guided and supported before, during and after the exchange period.
    • The application must substantiate that the project is anchored within the entities’ strategic direction and management.
    • The application must identify risk factors for any unintended negative consequences resulting from the project, and must analyse and manage these risks throughout the project cycle. These unintended consequences must be analysed across four themes:
      • Human rights, with a particular focus on participation, accountability and non-discrimination;
      • Women’s rights and gender equality;
      • Climate change and environment;
      • Anti-corruption.

    Norec will assess whether the applicant’s risk analysis and management give sufficient insurance against unintended negative consequences.

4. Project activities eligible for funding


  • For the feasibility study

    Norec’s grant for the feasibility study is primarily intended to cover costs related to convening the partnership at one of the partner organizations and conducting meetings with Norec to plan the project.

  • For the exchange project

    The Norec grant scheme is primarily designed to cover budgetary costs related to the reciprocal work exchange of young professionals (stipends, housing, travel, training, etc.).

    Main focus of the project:

    • Physical work exchange of employees and/or volunteers aged 18 – 35 for a minimum of 6 months (exceptions may apply).

    The exchange should lead to change such as:

    • Use of innovative and/or digital methods and tools to strengthen project outcomes and partnerships;
    • Organisational development and learning, including use of alumni networks and communities of practice;
    • Sharing of, and building knowledge and expertise across partnership and with end-users and local communities;
    • Strengthening international cooperation and organisational development through sharing of knowledge, expertise and learning;
    • Strengthened ownership, knowledge and outreach of the project and partnership including work with relevant staff across the partner organisations;
    • Strengthened focus on interdisciplinary issues in Norwegian international development cooperation; human rights, women’s rights and gender equality, climate and the environment, anti-corruption.

5. How do we assess applications?

In addition to the criteria above, Norec will consider:

  • The project’s relevance in relation to Norwegian development policies and priorities;
  • Relevance to the objectives of Norec’s grant scheme and theory of change;
  • The composition of the portfolio under Norec’s grant scheme;
  • The extent to which the project strengthens the development of reciprocal international partnerships;
  • The extent to which the project facilitates the strengthening and reciprocal exchange of knowledge and capacity between the partner organisations;
  • The extent to which the project has a ‘catalytic’ effect in its approach and results chain;
  • The project’s relevance to the local context and development priorities;
  • Degree of additionality of Norec’s support;
  • Where relevant, the extent to which the project addresses cross-cutting issues;
  • Due diligence of project and project partners, including reference checks where relevant;
  • For returning applicants, experiences from previous grant allocations and projects (reporting, risk and financial management, RBM, support to exchange participants and partner collaboration) will be assessed.

Experience from the Feasibility study will also be an important criterion for assessing the application.

6. The application process

To apply for a Collaboration Agreement (CA), the applicants must have completed the Feasibility Study. Prior to a CA award, all reporting from the Feasibility Study must be submitted to, and approved by Norec.


  • Collaboration agreement duration

    • Applicants can apply for a short-term agreement from 1 to 3 years, or a long-term agreement from 3 to 5 years.
    • New applicants in their first round can apply for a collaboration agreement of maximum 2 years.
    • Applicants with a previous and successful collaboration agreement with Norec can apply for a long-term agreement from 3 to 5 years.
  • Application processing and guidance

    Applicants will continue working with a programme adviser who will guide and support the partnership throughout the process.

    • Final applications will be assessed in accordance with the process and criteria described above. If necessary, Norec will engage internal and external advisers in the application assessment.
    • Applications will be treated in accordance with the Norwegian Freedom of Information Act.

    Detailed information about the application requirements and process (including guidelines) can be found here.