European super-grant awarded to Tungodden

NHH
`The ERC grant will provide a unique opportunity to carry out a very exciting research project, which I believe has the potential to disseminate important knowledge to society. It is, of course, also a great honour to be awarded such a prestigious grant`, Professor Bertil Tungodden says.
By Sigrid Folkestad

6 April 2018 12:28

European super-grant awarded to Tungodden

Professor Bertil Tungodden has been awarded Europe’s most sought-after research funding, the ERC Advanced Grant. Only one other Norwegian researcher was awarded the grant.

Professor Bertil Tungodden, FAIR and the Department of Economics.
Professor Bertil Tungodden, FAIR and the Department of Economics. Photo: Helge Skodvin

The Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) has been awarded its first ERC Advanced Grant for Bertil Tungodden’s project ‘Fairness and the moral mind’, which will receive EUR 2.5 million over a five-year period.

This was confirmed when the European Research Council (ERC) announced the recipients of the ERC Advanced Grant this Friday. More than 2,160 researchers in Europe submitted applications for the ERC Advanced Grant, but only two Norwegian researchers succeeded.

Unique opportunities

‘The ERC grant will provide a unique opportunity to carry out a very exciting research project, which I believe has the potential to disseminate important knowledge to society. It is, of course, also a great honour to be awarded such a prestigious grant. I hope and believe that it will also serve as inspiration to the rest of the research community at NHH.’

So says Bertil Tungodden, professor at the Department of Economics and head of the FAIR centre, which was awarded Centre of Excellence status last year under the auspices of the Research Council of Norway.

Winner of NHH’s prize for outstanding research

Professor Bertil Tungodden is awarded the NHH prize for outstanding research and Malin Arve is awarded the Ingvar Wedervang prize for outstanding research by a faculty member below 40 years of age.

ERC grants in the category 'advanced' are funding awarded exclusively to established researchers who can demonstrate significant research achievements. The researcher applying for the grant must be at the forefront of their field in Europe. The project must be ground-breaking and include a major ‘high-risk/high-gain’ factor (see facts).

‘The grant is also fantastic in that it provides resources that allow me to pursue a very challenging project that would be difficult to carry out without this funding,’ says Tungodden.

NHH’s role

The FAIR professor underlines NHH’s role in prioritising both behavioural economists and labour market researchers in the FAIR research community. This has had a significant impact.

erc advanced grants

  • For well-established researchers (Principal Investigators (PI) to develop a new and outstanding project
  • 10-year excellent scientific track record
  • Up to €2.5 million (during 5 years)
  • Ground-breaking, high-risk/high-gain, research projects
  • Sole evaluation criterion: scientific excellence of researcher and research proposal

 NHH has demonstrated a great willingness to support FAIR and special areas of research at the business school. We have really benefited from this effort,’ says Tungodden.

NHH’s Rector Øystein Thøgersen is very pleased with the grant.

‘The academic staff affiliated to FAIR have produced research at the highest international level for many years. They have made determined efforts and their research really is ground-breaking. I have been a researcher at the same department and have followed the development. They have made a massive achievement, and it is correct, as Tungodden says, that NHH has had a major focus on this research group. It's fantastic to see that this has yielded such great results.’

Morals, freedom and responsibility

The grant for the ERC project ‘Fairness and the moral mind’ will strengthen FAIR’s research activities. The project comprises two main parts, where the common element is inequality and moral motivation. A key part of the project is conducting unique experimental studies in 60 countries. A main ambition for the project is to demonstrate how moral motivation influences an individual’s choices and, therefore, that it is of great significance for understanding developments in society.

‘Inequality is one of the most pressing problems in the modern world and plays a decisive role in nearly all areas of society. It is present in political debate about taxes, health, insurance and various forms of regulation, in the workplace in the form of pay and bonuses, and in the home when parents make important choices about their children’s future.'

NHH gets a Centre of Excellence

In competition with 150 other strong research environments in Norway, the Research Council of Norway has now awarded NHH a Centre of Excellence.

The first part of the project will investigate how perceptions of personal responsibility and individual freedom in a society shape our attitudes towards inequality. To what degree should society regulate people’s choices and how does this affect our attitudes towards inequality?

In the second part of the project, Tungodden will study how our moral motivation develops during childhood and youth. ‘It is already well-known that moral motivation, in the same way as language, is largely formed at a young age,’ explains Tungodden, ‘but we still know far too little about how this happens.’