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Still Keeping the Belt Tight

Faximile of the front page of Statsbudsjettet 2024

"The budget for 2024 warns that we must continue to work according to NMH's restructuring plan. If we do that, we have reasonably good control," says Principal Astrid Kvalbein.

The increase in funding from last year corresponds to wage and price inflation. The overall situation remains tight when we consider the increase in certain areas against cuts in others. See figures and details at the bottom of the article.

"In this sense, there is no major drama in the numbers in the budget for next year, but also no significant relief," says Kvalbein.

There is no major drama in the numbers in the budget, but there are no significant relief measures either.

Principal Astrid Kvalbein

Giving with one hand and taking with the other

On the positive side, an increase in credit production and the number of awarded doctoral degrees in 2022 will positively impact the 2024 budget, providing approximately 5.5 million Norwegian kroner. However, cuts in student positions and other reductions more than offset this "surplus."

Threatened: Programme in Artistic Research

Some proposals are of particular concern, such as the proposed closure of the Programme in Artistic Research (PKU).

"The fact that this competition arena is proposed to be removed without a clear alternative is a degradation of artistic development work. Unfortunately, the cuts in PKU coincide with other cuts to unrestricted research funding, which other institutions also react to. It's quite audacious," says Vice-Principal (Research) Sidsel Karlsen.

The proposal to remove this competition arena without a clear alternative degrades artistic development work. It's pretty audacious.

Vice-Principal (Research) Sidsel Karlsen

Many NMH employees have applied for and received funds through the PKU program, managed by the Directorate for Higher Education and Competence (HK-dir). For example, projects like Craftsmanship, Extended Composition, and Unromantic were only realized with PKU. Here, NMH's employees have similarly competed for funds with applicants for the Norwegian Research Council on the scientific side.

"Artistic research is a research field enshrined in law, just like scientific research. The removal of the program with a stroke of a pen and the distribution of funds to a few large institutions is undemocratic and incomprehensible in this context," says Deputy Principal Morten Qvenild.

The distribution of funds to a few large institutions is undemocratic and incomprehensible.

Deputy Principal Morten Qvenild

NMH Talks to Politicians

The leaders of the Norwegian Academy of Music, the School of Architecture and Design, and the National Academy of the Arts have contacted several members of Parliament about the situation for arts education in the future. PKU, education funding, and scholarship programs for students from outside the EEA are discussed.

Next Thursday, October 12, there will also be an interpellation in the Parliament by Kari-Anne Jønnes (H) regarding arts education. The minister will be asked about how the government plans to ensure the quality of these programs in the future, and you can follow the discussion when it is available (

Budget Figures for NMH

The Norwegian Academy of Music has allocated a total of 333.7 million Norwegian kroner in the proposed budget for 2024, with the following distribution:


  • NMH's budget for 2024 increases by 13.9 million kroner due to general wage and price adjustments. This is not an actual budget increase but rather what is needed to maintain funding at the same level during significant price inflation.
  • At the same time, NMH's budget for 2024 increases by 5.6 million kroner because of a good production of study credits and doctoral candidates in 2022. These are referred to as "result funds."
  • The Academy has also seemingly received a budget increase of 3.1 million kroner for artistic research. This is not a budget increase for NMH but represents funds we have previously received (see above) through applications to the Directorate for Higher Education and Competence (HK-dir). These funds are thus shifted from the budget for the now-threatened "Programme in Artistic Research" (PKU) and are proposed to be distributed directly to NMH and other institutions that typically receive funds for artistic research from 2024 onwards.


NMH has also faced reductions in the budget:

  • The first cut applies to student positions, reducing 3.8 million kroner. As expected, these reductions follow through with the cuts announced in the 2023 budget. These cuts will be continued with further reductions each year until 2028.
  • NMH and other institutions have also had reductions in "corona funds." NMH's allocated doctoral positions during the pandemic are reduced by 1 million kroner in 2024. This reduction will be continued with a double the size cut in 2025.
  • The Ministry also proposes a reduction of 0.9 million kroner from NMH's budget as a follow-up to Parliament's decision to collect fees from applicants outside the EEA. When some of our international students manage to pay tuition fees, the authorities consider it income for NMH, and these cuts will continue in the years to come.
  • The Academy has also had a reduction of 4.1 million kroner for "Covering Investments" in the sector, including a small cut to stimulate efficient office lease agreements. "Investments" are additional allocations to areas the government wants to strengthen, such as research in artificial intelligence and other fields within technology and health. These allocations do not benefit NMH. Quite the opposite.

This year's cost-saving measures are helpful, but NMH must still be run more expensively. This means that we must continue with the steps we started.

Head of Finance Kai Øderud

Cost-saving measures will continue

It's difficult to say how much more will be cut in 2025. The budgets we see now represent a significant and lasting reduction in NMH's funding.

The cuts will continue to impact in the coming years, and with the 2024 budget, NMH's situation has worsened. In the 2023 budget, we received a notice of cuts in student positions, with budget cuts increasing until 2028, reaching a total annual amount of 12.5 million kroner.

The 2024 budget has proposed cuts of approximately 5 million kroner more than in 2023; see the first two bullet points regarding cuts in student positions. These cuts will be continued and increased in the coming years. In short:

"This year's cost-saving measures are helpful, but NMH must still be run more expensively. We must continue the steps we started in 2023 to balance the budget. It's crucial that we create a realistic and sensible budget for 2024 within the framework we have," says Head of Finance Kai Øderud.

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