AG highlights how the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research is ensuring their commitment to research and development over the coming year…
The EU’s significant investment in research comes in the form of the Horizon 2020 programme. This programme is the biggest of its kind with nearly €80bn of funding available over 7 years.
In May 2014, Iceland and Norway became the first non-EU countries to associate to the 7 year programme. Norway has been associated to EU research and innovation programmes since 1987, and by associating with the programme, Norway aims to take advantage of the great opportunities it could bring for the country’s research and development (R&D).
The Ministry of Education and Research is responsible for research priorities throughout Norway. The Minister Torbjørn Røe Isaksen has set out clear goals in regards to education and research in the country. Over the next 7 years the government has identified 7 measures to help achieve higher quality in research and education across the nation.
The measures detail how “Norway should develop more world leading research. In dialogue with the higher education sector, the government will find and invest in relevant research environments and institutions that can contribute to breakthrough research in the world.”
The Horizon 2020 programme offers a number of great opportunities for Norway including:
- Strengthening industrial competitiveness;
- Building up excellence;
- Accessing a wide range of European Infrastructures;
- International Networking;
- Training of staff;
- New level of Benchmarking;
- Expanding to new markets and business;
- Strong focus on support for SMEs.
In an edition of Projects Magazine EU, the Minister explained how there has been “strong growth in both the research and education budgets through the Horizon 2020 programme, compared to the previous FP7 funding period.
“Given that the Norwegian government is spending billions on our participation in Horizon 2020, we believe that this implies an obligation for the research community of Norway,” said the Minister.
The government is keen to increase international research cooperation, which it feels is important to help the nation achieve its other research goals. In 2014, the government presented a strategy for cooperation with the EU on research and innovation which establishes a target to increase Norwegian participation in the EU Framework Programme on Research and Innovation, Horizon 2020 (2014-2020), by about 60%, compared to participation under the previous framework programme.
“An important part of the research will be to solve economic and social challenges Europe is facing, such as climate, environment and population issues,” said Isaksen. “This is a massive investment that gives Norwegian minds opportunities to collaborate with some of the best researchers in the world.”