High aspirations for Norway in Horizon 2020

High aspirations for Norway in Horizon 2020

Arvid Hallén, Director General of The Research Council of Norway, sheds light on how the country will benefit from the Horizon 2020 programme and the opportunities it will present…

Horizon 2020 is an extensive knowledge bank under construction, and it would be unthinkable for Norway as a nation not to participate in this wide-ranging initiative.

It is widely accepted in Norway that taking part in EU funded research projects gives research communities the opportunity to join important European networks and cooperate with top-notch researchers abroad. Norwegian research policy is based on this premise, and in general the priorities of Horizon 2020 are in line with Norwegian priorities. The Norwegian government has formulated an ambitious strategy to increase the country’s participation in Horizon 2020.

Horizon 2020 offers major benefits to Norwegian research and trade and industry
Norway, too, must find ways to resolve societal challenges ranging from an ageing population to renewable energy, and the country cannot do this on its own. Horizon 2020 will play a valuable role in the development of Norwegian research, trade and industry. Increased participation in Horizon 2020 will promote greater internationalisation of Norwegian research, thereby raising the level of quality overall. Further societal impacts are expected in the form of greater innovation, new products and markets for industry and a stronger ability to meet future challenges.

Norway: an attractive partner
Norwegian researchers have achieved good success in the previous framework programmes in fields such as climate, energy, marine and polar research. A number of Norwegian research institutions are world leaders in these fields. As such, they are attractive as partners for their European counterparts and can make an important contribution to dealing with societal challenges at the European level.

Norway possesses unique longitudinal data series, with information about health, education and other socio-economic factors for large segments of the population over long time periods. The potential of these data series for comparative studies in the health and social sciences should be better exploited by national, as well as international research groups.

Great expectations for Norwegian participation in health-related projects under Horizon 2020
The goal for participation under the Horizon 2020 challenge “Health, demographic change and wellbeing” is to double the number of successful projects compared with the FP7 Health programme, and bring Norway’s level up to that of its neighbouring countries, Sweden, Denmark and Finland. The Research Council of Norway is funding 9 national Centres of Excellence (SFF) and 4 national Centres for Research-based Innovation (SFI) within the field of health to build and strengthen research groups of top international standard. Norway also participates in the EU’s Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) on health and is involved in health-related infrastructures at the European level.

Norway’s national biobank is a vital infrastructure for the health sciences. The biobank provides a basis for outstanding research and innovation, enhances Norway’s ability to participate in international research projects and makes Norwegian research institutions attractive partners for comparative studies. There is also major potential for the further development of health clusters.

Specially-targeted Norwegian support schemes
The Research Council has initiated several funding schemes to support Norwegian participation in Horizon 2020. This includes funding to cover expenses in connection with the preparation of grant applications and support for institutions taking part in policy discussions at the European level.

Norway has a comparatively large number of independent research institutes outside the university and university college sector. These institutes must be competitive and able to respond to the need for research-based knowledge in both industry and the public sector. The Research Council has introduced a targeted support scheme to encourage these institutes to take part in EU-funded projects.

The Research Council seeks to align national research programmes and funding schemes with the priorities of various European networks, while facilitating access to the European research front for Norwegian researchers.

We are currently expanding our staff dedicated to mobilising and guiding applicants to more successful participation in Horizon 2020. The Council advises Norwegian researchers to apply for funding under Horizon 2020 before applying for national funding, when possible. Given political willingness and focus, targeted funding instruments and the growing interest in and understanding of researchers of the significance of the EU research arena, we have great expectations and high aspirations for Norwegian participation in the world’s largest research programme.

Arvid Hallén
Director General
Research Council of Norway
Tel: +47 22 03 70 00


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