Cultural heritage is a visible reminder of our history. Knowledge of cultural heritage builds understanding, belonging, and meaning. Knowledge-based management of the traces of previous generations is an important factor in building thriving communities.

The Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research (NIKU) is an interdisciplinary research institute under the Ministry of Climate and Environment, and is the only research institute that has cultural heritage as its main area of ​​responsibility.

NIKU’s social mission

NIKU shall develop the knowledge that is necessary to preserve, manage and understand cultural heritage. Equally important is building ideas about how cultural heritage best can contribute to the development of our society. We provide knowledge to both public and private actors.

NIKU’s vision

NIKU shall be a leading institution in the field of cultural heritage in Norway, and provide expertise that is relevant, sought-after and important for society.

NIKU in 2023 – Aims

A: In 2023, NIKU provides demand-driven services, and is well-adapted to a competitive market.


– Project completion without deviations on quality, time frames and budget

– In 2023, NIKU shall have a profit margin of at least 5%

– In 2023, NIKU will have an equity ratio of 40%

B: By 2023, NIKU will undertake significantly more externally-funded research.


– We have gained funding for on average two NIKU-led research projects per year

– During the period 2018-23, NIKU is involved in at least five projects financed by European research funding

– By 2023, at least 15 of NIKU’s researcher person-years are fully financed through external funding

C: In 2023, NIKU has a good reputation and is a well-known actor in wider society.


– Reputation survey with relevant questions.

– Statistics from media statistics and social media

– NIKU’s research results are assessed as good in terms of social value and impact


D: By 2023, NIKU is a well-functioning organization with administrative tools and systems that ensure we work efficiently.


– Employee survey with relevant measurement parameter (workload, dedication, autonomy etc.)

– Reputation analysis with relevant measurement parameter

– Project completion without deviations on quality, time frame and budget

1. Five focus areas for NIKU towards 2023

NIKU has chosen firve themes that we will focus on and which will be used to promote NIKU both in terms of research and consultancy in the period up to 2023. The focus areas do not cover NIKU’s entire portfolio, but represent areas that we wish to prioritize and which we will further develop with help of specific measures and initiatives.

  • Middle Ages: knowledge production based on our work with rescue archaeology
  • Climate and environment-related issues affecting cultural heritage
  • Digital heritage
  • The role of heritage in the society
  • Churches

2. Criteria for strategic priorities

NIKU must always make choices that promote the institute’s financial sustainability. In addition, the following criteria can be helpful when NIKU makes strategic choices:

– Does the initiative have clear social benefits?

– Does the initiative involve innovation or method development?

– Does the measure have transferable value?

– Does the measure have networking potential?

– Does NIKU have the prerequisites and advantages needed to undertake the initiative?