What does Nordic research collaboration mean to the Norwegian political parties?

03.09.2013
Research cooperation across national borders gives the Nordic countries an edge in the global competition for new talent and important advancements. With this in mind, NordForsk asked seven of the largest Norwegian political parties for their views in this policy area.

There is widespread agreement on the need to strengthen research cooperation and, generally speaking, all the parties believe that research should be given high priority.

Areas of particular interest in political circles include climate and energy, welfare, societal security, language and research infrastructure. The Progress Party attaches greatest importance to independent research, and thus did not wish to single out any areas of specific importance.

The views expressed by the various parties are presented below. We did not receive an answer from the Socialist Left Party.

 

What is your party’s view on Nordic research cooperation?

Norwegian Labour Party: The Nordic countries have a shared history and have many cultural characteristics in common. Cooperation on such issues as use of research infrastructure, researcher recruitment and researcher mobility are important spheres of collaboration in the Nordic context.

Progress Party: The Progress Party considers the internationalisation of Norwegian research and education to be of the utmost importance. Given that Norway carries out 0.6 per cent of the world’s total research, it is essential to the future of Norwegian welfare, value creation and prosperity that our knowledge networks take active steps to gain access to and integrate research results from abroad. International publication is an important indicator of research quality as well. Extensive contacts between Nordic countries in the areas of research and education are a natural part of this process.

Conservative Party: The Conservative Party views Nordic research cooperation, like other forms of international research collaboration, as an important means of enhancing Norwegian research activities. The world of research is growing increasingly internationalised, and we must therefore take part in international research cooperation to be part of global knowledge development. This is critical if we are to provide Norwegian research groups with a good framework for development and the opportunity to work together with internationally recognised research groups.

Nordic cooperation strengthens our region as a whole. Each Nordic country on its own is small with small-scale research environments. Research collaboration between them, however, gives the region more weight.

'Research cooperation in the EU is Norway’s most important international arena.' H

 

Globalisation increases competition in all areas of society. Thus, cooperation is vital to enable the Nordic countries to take advantage of the capacity inherent in the mobilisation of a larger researcher network. A relevant example is health research, where a joint effort is being made to find treatments for rare illnesses. Research cooperation has a role to play in this context.

Research cooperation in the EU is Norway’s most important international arena. EU research cooperation is of great importance to Norway and for research players in Norway because it gives us access to the largest research collaboration in the world. The Conservative Party believes that Norwegian participation in the European Research Area (ERA) and Horizon 2020 will be crucial for the further internationalisation of Norwegian research.

Liberal Party: In our view, given the geographical, linguistic, cultural and historical ties between the Nordic countries, it is both important and natural to promote the best cooperation possible. This applies to research as well, of course.

As is the case with our neighbouring countries, knowledge is essential for Norway’s future well-being. Concentrated investment in research is critical to enhancing innovation and competitiveness, developing the welfare society and achieving sustainable development. In this light, the best solution is to seek maximum collaboration on viable solutions and to work to combine and target our resources.

Centre Party: The Centre Party is a strong proponent of Nordic collaboration. The internationalisation of research is important and is highly relevant within the Nordic region as well.

'The Christian Democratic Party is working to realise closer Nordic collaboration in general, and we believe that Nordic research cooperation should be enhanced and further developed.' KrF

Christian Democratic Party: The Nordic countries share strong cultural ties. These ties need to be strengthened and research cooperation is an important means to this end. The Christian Democratic Party is working to realise closer Nordic collaboration in general, and we believe that Nordic research cooperation should be enhanced and further developed.

 

Does your party have any special focus on Nordic knowledge transfer?

Norwegian Labour Party: We are focusing on knowledge transfer in climate and energy research because climate change poses one of the major global challenges. The Nordic countries have a strong position in climate and energy research in an international context.

Progress Party: The Progress Party is first and foremost seeking to promote closer cooperation among the various research and educational institutions in Norway and the Nordic countries. We attach great importance to academic freedom and thus do not want to focus on any particular academic areas. But the Progress Party wishes to establish a foundation for the best possible contacts, dialogue and collaboration across national borders.

'We attach great importance to academic freedom and thus do not want to focus on any particular academic areas.' FrP

The Progress Party will work to ensure that high-quality research projects receive the necessary funding to enhance the overall framework for knowledge development.

Conservative Party: The Conservative Party promotes Nordic cooperation that has mutual benefits and leads to solutions to the common Nordic challenges. In the Nordic Council, the Conservative Party and the Conservative Group has focused specifically on societal security issues in the Nordic region.

We have put forward several Nordic Council initiatives to strengthen language collaboration between Nordic countries.

Research is international in its very essence, seeking out the best networks in the world. This is a perspective that needs to be included in Nordic research cooperation.

Liberal Party: We believe it is especially important to collaborate in areas where the Nordic region can maximise on its natural competitive advantages in the global arena and to further develop existing areas of strength. We also support the current priority areas defined by the Nordic countries, including climate/energy and education, which are of particular importance to Norway.

Centre Party: The Centre Party supports the prioritisation in the approved strategies and thematic areas that form the basis for research policy in coming years. It is natural that we apply the same view with regard to Norwegian participation in Nordic research cooperation. We believe the Nordic countries have much to gain from joint efforts in welfare research, medicine and health science and the environment and climate change.

'Combining resources and expertise will provide research groups with greater opportunities to advance in the international arena and to realise high-quality research projects' Sp

Moreover, the humanities and social sciences, too, offer many possibilities for research cooperation. Combining resources and expertise will provide research groups with greater opportunities to advance in the international arena and to realise high-quality research projects.

The Centre Party believes there is great potential in the years to come to expand the number of outstanding Nordic research groups and incorporate research results into further industrial development and commercialisation.

Christian Democratic Party: We need to view the entire educational cycle as a whole to provide greater understanding of the importance of Nordic cooperation. The Christian Democratic Party would like to see knowledge about the Nordic region and Nordic languages be given a more prominent role in the primary, secondary and upper secondary school curricula.

The party agrees with the objective of the Nordic association to create a Nordic educational area with compatible upper secondary schools, universities and university colleges as well as vocational training programmes. It is important to dismantle barriers relating to borders, which our party has been actively working towards in the Nordic Council. It is especially important to strengthen the cooperation between Nordic universities.

 

How important is research in Norway and the Nordic region for your party?

Norwegian Labour Party: It is important because the Nordic region is an international leader in research and knowledge-based industry and these countries are, relative to their populations, our largest partners in cooperation.

'Searching for answers individually in five countries is not a recipe for solving global challenges, whereas five nations standing together can achieve a great deal.' Ap

 

While strong Nordic cooperation is important, it is crucial for the Nordic region to collaborate closely with the EU, Russia and the Baltic States as well. Searching for answers individually in five countries is not a recipe for solving global challenges, whereas five nations standing together can achieve a great deal.

Progress Party: The Progress Party supports increasing both basic funding and incentive schemes for research in Norway. In addition, we consider it a must for Norway to take optimal advantage of the opportunities inherent in the EU framework programme, Horizon 2020. This will strengthen research activities and lay the foundation for increased knowledge development and innovation both in Norway and in the Nordic region.

Conservative Party: The Conservative Party believes that research is important to safeguarding future knowledge, value creation and competitiveness. We have high ambitions for Norway as a knowledge nation and we will promote a more research-oriented culture by strengthening research activity in industry, increasing the internationalisation of Norwegian research and enhancing the attractiveness of research as a career path. It is important to increase investment in research and development in order to create a better foundation for future value creation. Nordic research cooperation is a key element in achieving these ambitions.

Liberal Party: For the Liberal Party research has been one of the main budgetary priorities in the previous, current and upcoming parliamentary periods. We see major investment in research as fundamental to safeguarding our democracy, our ability to innovate, our system of welfare and sustainable development.

'For the Liberal Party research has been one of the main budgetary priorities in the previous, current and upcoming parliamentary periods.' V

In an increasingly globalised world it is natural to try and coordinate resources in order to gain more international clout. It is also true that the challenges the world is trying to solve through research and knowledge production can not be resolved by any single country on its own. This is why the Liberal Party wishes to increase research collaboration at the Nordic, European and global levels.

Centre Party: The Centre Party maintains that research is vital to the development of the welfare society and to creating a viable foundation for the future of this country. For this reason, we have high ambitions and wish to see research investment pushed to three per cent of GDP. We will therefore work to create a better framework for encouraging trade and industry to increase its share of the overall research investment. The Centre Party considers it important to strengthen and further develop research infrastructure to ensure that research activities translate into benefits for working life and industry across the entire nation.

Christian Democratic Party: The Christian Democratic Party wants to strengthen research activities and will work to bring about closer Nordic research cooperation. Europe is in the midst of an economic downturn marked by instability and unrest. This makes Nordic collaboration more important than ever and new opportunities for research cooperation across national borders are opening up. We are interested in building the Nordic countries up as a region and research is a key factor in achieving this goal.

 

Text: Linn Hoff Jensen

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