Nordic research infrastructure cooperation

Excellent research infrastructures (RI) are a prerequisite for the performance of high-quality research. Such infrastructures typically comprise high-cost investments, and cooperation on RI and e-infrastructure will therefore be beneficial in terms of use, access and investment at the Nordic level in particular.

Objectives

Nordic RI cooperation is a strategic priority for NordForsk, as a means of enhancing research quality and impact. The focus is on actions to increase joint Nordic use and access to RI at the national, Nordic and international levels.

Background

Since 2013, a high-level advisory group has provided NordForsk with strategic input on Nordic RI cooperation. The high-level group consists of:

Lars Börjesson (Sweden), Peter Sloth (Denmark), Paula Eerola (Finland), Ingileif Jónsdóttir (Iceland), Solveig Flock (Norway), Vigdis Kvalheim (Norway), Juni Palmgren (Sweden), Hans Chang (Netherlands), Steven Krauwer (Netherlands), and Cherri Pancake (USA).

NordForsk’s activities within Nordic RI cooperation previously followed recommendations from advisory groups such as the NORIA-net Nordic Research Infrastructure Network (NRIN) and the NOS organisations.

Activities

NeIC

NordForsk hosts the Nordic e-Infrastructure Collaboration (NeIC), an organisation that facilitates the development and operation of high-quality e-Infrastructure solutions in areas of joint Nordic interest. The NeIC is a distributed organisation consisting of technical experts from academic high-performance computing centres across the Nordic countries.

NeGI

The Nordic eScience Globalisation Initiative (NeGI) promotes Nordic collaboration on eScience through focused efforts on eScience research and graduate education. The NeGI also takes part in the development of research collaboration and Open Science. In 2014, three Nordic Centres of Excellence and three projects were awarded funding under the NeGI initiative. Upcoming calls will target education and training in eScience.

Joint Nordic Neutron Research Initiative

Joint Nordic Neutron Research Initiative’s objectives are to increase the number of Nordic-region researchers skilled at utilising neutrons in scientific analysis, as well as raise the competency level regarding neutron scattering, particularly among younger researchers and other groups without extensive experience in this field. The programme is designed to support long-term use of the European Spallation Source (ESS) among the Nordic countries. The ESS is one of the priority European Research Infrastructures identified by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI). 

NOS organisations

NordForsk also serves as the secretariat for the Joint Committee of the Nordic Research Councils for Natural Sciences (NOS-N) and the Joint Committee of the Nordic Medical Research Councils (NOS-M). The NOS organisations are collaborative bodies for the national research councils in the Nordic countries and RI issues are often on their agendas.

Research infrastructure networks

NordForsk has provided support to Nordic RI networks that strengthen Nordic cooperation on specific, large-scale international research infrastructure projects, including efforts to increase joint Nordic use of international research facilities. The aim is for the networks to become a Nordic platform, thereby facilitating more coordinated Nordic participation in international RI projects. Several of the networks have focused on Nordic coordination in connection with ESFRI Roadmap projects.

Nordic networks targeting international RI projects (ongoing)

  1. Kjetil Taskén, University of Oslo: Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine – coordinated action as a translational research infrastructure
  2. Göran Karlsson, University of Gothenburg: Nordic NMR Network
  3. Taina Pihlajaniemi, University of Oulu: Nordic Infrastructure for Mouse Models (NorIMM)
  4. Sanna Sorvari, University of Helsinki: Research Infrastructure Network for Nordic Atmospheric and Earth System Science
  5. Bente Maegaard, University of Copenhagen: Nordic CLARIN Network
  6. Jón Egill Kristjánsson, University of Oslo: NordicESM
  7. John Eriksson, Åbo Akademi University: Bridging Nordic Imaging – Enabling Discoveries from Atoms to Anatomy
  8. Mikael Elofsson, University of Helsinki: Nordic Chemical Biology Consortium
  9. Tomas Lundqvist, MAX IV and Adrian Rennie, Uppsala University: Coordinated and enhanced usage of neutron and synchrotron techniques
  10. Kristian Hveem, Norwegian University of Science and Technology: Nordic Biobank Initiative
  11. Dag Kiberg, Norwegian Social Science Data Services: Making Nordic Health Data Visible
  12. Bengt Persson, Linköping University: Nordic ELIXIR

 

Nordic networks targeting international RI projects (concluded)

Tor G. Heggberget, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research: Nordic LifeWatch, 2012–2014

Registries/biobanks

When properly coordinated, Nordic registers and biobanks provide policy-makers and other actors with new, research-based knowledge. Nordic register-based research attracts international interest and has the potential to achieve a world-leading position. NordForsk therefore facilitates activities to increase the use of the unique data registries and biobanks in and among the Nordic countries, thereby strengthening Nordic cooperation on register-based research.

The NORIA-net on Registers and Biobanks working group (2011–2014) focused in the publication Joint Nordic Registers and Biobanks - A goldmine for health and welfare research on overcoming existing obstacles that impede Nordic data-sharing and proposed ways of enhancing coordination to strengthen Nordic register-based research. A new Nordic expert group will be mandated to continue this work in 2015.

Funding

NordForsk funds Nordic research infrastructure cooperation through open calls for proposals announced via the NordForsk newsletter.