The Research Council of Norway has systematically built up cooperation with the EU in a variety of arenas over time. Showcasing Norway and Norwegian research in a special Norway Day represents a new measure.
“The event was clear testimony that personal contact hasn’t gone out of fashion,” says Kristin Danielsen, International Director at the Research Council. “Because we’re not a member of the EU, it is particularly important that we make our mark and ensure we have an extra high profile in the EU capital,” she asserts.
Is Norway Day going to become a tradition?
“It is definitely a meeting place that we will continue and further develop,” says Ms Danielsen, who will work with her colleagues on refining the form and scope of the event.
We have to work together
The theme of Norway Day 2015 was future perspectives on research cooperation, with special focus on the energy sector.
In his keynote address, Director-General Robert-Jan Smits of the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission expressed how impressed he is with Norwegian research and Norwegian participation in European research cooperation. As a Dutchman, Mr Smits alludes to skating terminology when he warns Norway to take care not to relax and simply glide along using its current momentum.
Mr Smits stressed that the framework for research cooperation must continue to be expanded, that the pace of investment must be increased and that Europe should not be self-contained. “We have to direct our focus outwards to the world,” he said.
State Secretary Bjørn Haugstad of the Norwegian Ministry of Research and Education pointed out that in the research sector, Norway and the EU are rowing in the same direction. There is clear alignment between the three pillars of Horizon 2020 and the objectives of the Norwegian Government’s Strategy for Cooperation with the EU as well as the Long-term plan for research and higher education.
Mr Haugstad hopes that Norway Day will help to make Norway and Norwegian research more widely known in the EU. The event was designed to show that Norway is already an important partner and wants to contribute even more to the effort to strengthen Europe as an innovation region.
Targeted Norwegian expertise important for solving global climate challenges
In his remarks, Director General of the Research Council Arvid Hallén provided an overview over developments in Norway’s leading research fields and explained how the country can apply its special advantages to address major global climate challenges.
According to Mr Hallén, expertise and technology from the petroleum sector, hydropower and the marine and maritime sectors can be used to develop new, environment-friendly solutions. Norway’s cooperation with European research institutions is most extensive in the energy field. The Director General went on to say that Norway wants to strengthen this research cooperation even more. In a global perspective, energy will be one of the most important research fields in the years to come.