A tale of successful Nordic research cooperation
Northernmost part of the world
“I consider the entire Nordic region to be part of the Arctic,” asserts geologist Lars Kullerud, President of UArctic. This may give cause for concern when climate researcher Torben R. Christensen, project manager for the Top-level Research Initiative’s NCoE DEFROST, explains that global warming is happening at a much faster pace than expected. These changes may lead to new diseases, more illness, more allergies and contaminated water in the Arctic, warns professor of infectious diseases Birgitta Evengård. “We don’t know enough about what is happening in the Arctic,” she says, “and we urgently need to find out more.”
Both the outgoing Director of the Nordic Council, Jan-Erik Enestam, and the incoming Director, Britt Bohlin, have high ambitions for Nordic research in the years ahead. “We should not be satisfied until a research group from the Nordic countries receives a Nobel Prize,” says Dr Enestam.
NordForsk’s Nordic Centre of Excellence (NCoE) scheme provides stable funding for large-scale collaborative projects between many researchers from different countries. What does it take to head such a large project? Gunilla Holm, project manager of the NCoE Justice through education in the Nordic countries, shares her experience of coordinating the efforts of 56 researchers from eight countries.
Cancer researcher Cecilie Kyrø’s career got off to a flying start at the NCoE Nordic Health – Wholegrain Food. Now the research team has expanded its project and is helping to conduct one of the world’s largest population surveys. This centre and four others launched in 2007 are now being evaluated to find out more about the research results they have generated and the success of this cooperation model.
Knowledge available for all
All knowledge generated in the official Nordic collaboration should be accessible to everyone, believes Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten. He is working to achieve the development of an Open Access database that will be openly available for use by others, thereby enhancing the knowledge base for political decision-making.
The Danish Minister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education, Morten Østergaard, is eager to build bridges between research and society. He is looking forward to Copenhagen’s hosting of the Euroscience Open Forum (ESOF) research conference in June 2014.
NordForsk’s new magazine presents all these topics and much more. Read the magazine or order a copy here!
Main photo by Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen
Smaller photos by Kim Wendt