Fafo is one of the largest social science research institutions in Norway. It was founded by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) in 1982 and reorganised as an independent research foundation in 1993, with grants from LO, the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees, Telenor, Elkem, Orkla, Umoe, Coop and Sparebank1.
Fafo works to develop knowledge on participation, living conditions, democracy, development and value creation. Based on high standards of research ethics and methodology, our vision is to contribute to social renewal. With its historic roots in the Norwegian trade union movement, Fafo’s activity is based on providing critical, action-oriented research on working life and welfare policy to key decision makers and input to decision-making processes.
Fafo is an outward-looking research institute that works in close contact and dialogue with users and commissioning agencies. We have a large number of cooperation partners and a broad academic network in Norway and abroad. We have a strong emphasis on creating meeting places and communicating knowledge generated from our projects. In addition to publishing in academic books and journals, Fafo produces a self-published report series. Fafo’s researchers are much in demand as keynote speakers at conferences and seminars, and Fafo is the most frequently cited social science research institute in Norwegian media.
We specialise in research on working life and welfare, and study topics such as labour relations, individual behaviour in working life, integration and exclusion in the labour market, qualification and lifelong learning, further and continuing education, the design of welfare services and benefits, European integration, and globalisation. The institute also conducts research on living conditions and development strategies in conflict-ridden countries, as well as post-conflict transition and development-
Each year, the institute receives a small amount in core funding from the Research Council of Norway; Fafo is otherwise financed by commissioned research. Our principle commissioning agencies are public authorities and the social partners, but we also receive significant project grants from international organisations such as the UN system and the World Bank-
The academic staff at the institute consists of 70 researchers with a background in sociology, political science, social anthropology, economics, nutritional physiology, history and jurisprudence.
Fafo has three subsidiary companies: The Fafo Institute for Labour and Social Research, Fafo Technology Consulting (Beijing) Co. Ltd, and Economics Norway.
Fafo’s quality assurance procedures (PDF - Norwegian)
The Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD) is Fafo’s data protection officer, and all projects that deal with personal data are reported to NSD.
Fafo – a brief history
Fafo was founded by the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) in 1982 as the trade union movement’s centre for research, investigation and documentation. The centre was given its own board and statutes, and seed capital of NOK 100 000. However, the institute was not established as an independent legal entity, and in formal terms, it remained an entity under the umbrella of the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions which provided an annual operating grant. In 1993, Fafo was reorganised as a foundation with grants from LO, Orkla ASA, Umoe AS, Elkem ASA, Coop Norge, Sparebank 1 Gruppen, the Norwegian Union of Municipal Employees, and Telenor AS.
The founding capital was used to purchase Fafo’s premises in the Grønland district of Oslo. Borggata 2B was converted from a school into offices in 1993; we also have an annex with an auditorium and conference room. History of Borggata 2B
In 2006-2007, Fafo marked its first 25 years, including with a jubilee magazine published online.