Norwegian Research Minister Opened NORIA Symposium

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” – the Norwegian Minister for Research and Higher Education, Tora Aasland, quoted Albert Einstein at a NORIA-symposium on the Nordic Centres of Excellence (NCoE) concept 12 March 2008. Aasland addressed the challenges imposed by globalisation, and pointed to the NCoE-programme as a relevant and useful instrument that makes our region well prepared for globalisation.
 Norwegian Research Minister Opened NORIA Symposium
“Give them time”
Aasland also called attention to other NordForsk instruments like the NORIA-nets and the programme for joint use of Nordic infrastructure. “The NCoE programmes, like other Nordic research collaboration instruments, are key elements to realise NORIA (the Nordic Research and Innovation Area)”, the Minister said. “They should be given time to develop their achievements.”

The symposium
For two days, 12-13 March 2008, approximately 100 Nordic and international researchers, policy makers, representatives from the national research councils, NCoE-leaders and members of the programmes’ international scientific advisory boards gathered at Lysebu conference centre in Oslo, to share experiences and discuss recommendations for further developments of the NCoE concept. The symposium was opened by NordForsk Director Liisa Hakamies-Blomqvist.

Visibility and Competition
NordForsk’s chair, International Director at the Norwegian Research Council Kari Kveseth, also focused on the globalisation challenge in her speech at the symposium. “Globalisation means increased competition in numerous fields”, she said, “the Nordic region needs to become more visible and competitive”. She pointed at fusions and national centres of excellence as international trends in research, and predicted that this development will call for stronger and more Nordic Centres of Excellence in the future.

Among the other speakers at the seminar were Director of the Danish National Research Foundation, Thomas Sinkjær, Director of the Icelandic Research Council RANNIS, Hans Kristján Guðmundsson, Krista Varantola from the Nordic University Cooperation (NUS), Mattias Lundberg from VINNOVA, leaders/ representatives from some of the NCoEs and members of their scientific advisory boards.

©Foto Terje Heiestad/Millimeterpress
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