Nordic excellence summarized

26.01.2009
After five years of wearing the label of excellence, all parties that have been involved in the Nordic Centre of Excellence Programme on Global Change (2003-2007) met for a summarizing seminar in Oslo on 22 January 2009.
The story that reached its finishing line at Aker Brygge this winter’s day in Oslo began on the drawing table of the Joint Committee of the Nordic Natural Science Research Councils (NOS-N) in the late 1990’s. The idea was to establish a mode of cooperation between outstanding researchers working in related fields, in separate Nordic countries. By facilitating their joining of forces, the NOS-N aimed to strengthen the international visibility and advancement of the Nordic research institutions, and create a “Nordic added value”.

With financial support from the Nordic Council of Ministers and the Nordic countries, they were, in 2003, able to launch the pilot programme for what is now a well-known and highly prestigious “brand”; the Nordic Centre of Excellence (NCoE). With the environmental topic of “global change” as a common field of interest, four Nordic Centres of Excellence were carefully selected and established: the NCoE "Research centre on biosphere-aerosol-cloud-climate interactions" (BACCI), administered from Helsinki, the NCoE "The dynamics of ecological systems under the influence of climatic variation" (EcoClim), administered from Oslo, NCoE "Nordic centre for studies of ecosystem carbon exchange and its interactions with the climate system" (NECC) which had its main centre of operations in Lund, and NCoE "The Nordic centre for luminescence research", the only physical infrastructure centre of the four, situated in Risø, Denmark.

Among the participants at the seminar concluding the NCoE projects on global change, the verdict on the programme’s success was unanimous. The four centres selected for the pilot programme have all lived up to their prestigious label of excellence, and have, through advice and careful evaluation from a Scientific Advisory Board, rounds of constructive feedback and important adjustments over the years, paved the way for an inter-Nordic network design that works.

But although the evaluation seminar in Oslo marked the finalization of this NCoE, natural science research within the field of global change is perhaps more important today than ever, and as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board for the NCoE on Global Change commented in his concluding remarks: “excellence is not something you lose when your programme ends”. Now it is up to the centres themselves to continue their world-class research and successful Nordic cooperation. Hopefully the trans-institutional glue that connected the excellent researchers during their five years of cooperation will continue to stick.

Read more about the four NCoEs on Global Change here.


Written by: Katrine Ziesler
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