Nordic added value in research

Nearly 10 per cent of all participants under the EU Sixth Framework Programme were from the Nordic countries. And nearly one-half of the Nordic participants had expressly sought out Nordic partners for their projects. Intra-Nordic collaboration was most extensive between Norway and Iceland.
Nordic added value in research

Erik Arnold, Managing Director of the Technopolis Group. Photo: T. Heiestad

These are some of the findings presented by James Stroyan of the Technopolis Group at the seminar “Nordic cooperation in the coming European research landscape: Strategies for added value” in Oslo on 26 May.

The seminar brought together a large number of participants from the Nordic countries to discuss Nordic added value in the EU Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes. More findings may be found in the policy brief “Enhancing the Effectiveness of Nordic Research Cooperation”, which is based on analyses of participant groups and a survey of all of the Nordic participants in the EU Framework Programmes (FPs).

Why promote cooperation between the Nordic countries?

Gunnel Gustafsson, 26. mai 2011The Nordic countries cite cultural factors (language), geographic proximity, scientific expertise and shared Nordic interests as their primary motives for engaging in Nordic collaboration.

According to the study, the main challenge of FP participation is the complexity of the rules and requirements and generally high administrative burden associated with FP proposals. Despite this, two-thirds of the participants considered the outcome of their participation satisfactory relative to the effort involved.

Recommendations of the report

The report recommends the development of a joint Nordic strategy for FP participation in order to identify Nordic strengths and shared interests, boost Nordic-level representation in Brussels and improve the flow of information on Nordic-level activities and capabilities.

It would be to the advantage of Nordic researchers to focus on shared Nordic interests and find out more about the opportunities offered by the EU Framework Programmes. As one respondent put it, “researchers still know too little about most things.”

Nordic versus European added value

Erik Arnold of the Technopolis Group discussed what we have learned about international research cooperation. He believes that international networks are beneficial both in terms of cost-sharing and knowledge production. Certain research topics, he said, are too complex and wide-ranging for a single country to address on its own and well-functioning infrastructure is a major driver of research cooperation. Such cooperation, he pointed out, may create added value in the long term, although this is not always visible from a short-term perspective.

Nordic cooperation can help to enhance Nordic unity in research and develop a Nordic research profile. It can also reduce fragmentation of the Nordic research system and provide opportunities to support outstanding researchers and develop a platform on which Nordic stakeholders can achieve a more visible profile on the European and global markets.

At the European level, added value from research cooperation may take the form of, for example, more effective research activities, less duplication of research and greater sharing of infrastructure. Such cooperation also makes it possible to address cross-border issues and opens up access to large amounts of data to supplement national data collections.

Nordic input to the EU

The seminar concluded with a summary by representatives of the Nordic countries of their respective responses to the consultation on the “Green Paper on a Common Strategic Framework for future EU Research and Innovation Funding”. These are found in the documentation from the seminar.

Presentations from the seminar

You can order or downloaded the reports here

Policy Briefs 1-3, 2011

Text: Tina Lindström
Photo: T. Heiestad

Image 2: NordForsk Director Gunnel Gustafsson and Senior consultant James Stroyan from the Technopolis Group.