Call for additional research funding

More money is needed for research and development in Europe and in the Nordic Region, was the stark message from an international conference on cutting-edge research under the title ‘Excellence Stems From People‘ held in Finland 27-28 August 2007.
 Call for additional research funding
Nordic Research Collaboration in a Global Context
"Research and innovation have always been top Nordic priorities but their importance within official co-operation has never been greater than it is now," said Halldór Ásgrímsson, the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers, referring to the fact that the Nordic prime ministers gave the green light to an ambitious programme designed to strengthen the position of the Region in the new globalised economy.

"The Nordic countries have strong traditions in research and innovation, as reflected regularly in international rankings," Ásgrímsson reminded delegates.

"The opportunities and challenges posed by globalisation assume ever-growing importance. Coping with globalisation is not just a matter of looking outwards and understanding the changes. It is also a matter of looking inward and understanding our own strengths and competencies," he pointed out.

Research and the Researcher Career
"Europe is lagging behind the USA and Japan, for example, when it comes to funding research and development," Professor Liselotte Höjgård of the European Medical Research Council (EMRC) told the conference.

"We need to improve our ability to attract and retain top class young researchers in our region," said Professor Fotis Kafatos, President of the European Research Council (ERC).

The conference also stressed the importance of inter-disciplinary research collaboration and investing in improvements to the conditions faced by women in order to improve the gender balance in research.

The Nordic countries have long been at the forefront of investments in research and development. The Finnish Minister of Culture, Stefan Wallin, reported on his government‘s ambitious objectives, for example.

"The government aims to increase R&D‘s share of GDP to 4%,"he said.

The conference in Åbo 27-28 August has been organised by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Finnish Ministry of Education, NordForsk and the Academy of Finland in collaboration with the ERC.

(Hel Salminen-Mankonen, Åbo University
Patrik Edman, adviser, NCM)

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