Research financing on the agenda in Tromsø

NordForsk and the Nordic Council of Ministers presented financing solutions during the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø 25-29 January.
 Research financing on the agenda in Tromsø
UArctic University of the Arctic) is a network university consisting of 121 participating research and educational establishments in the Nordic countries. The Arctic Frontiers conference coincided with the gathering of representatives from the Nordic financing institutions, assembled to learn about the financing possibilities Nordic collaboration can offer.

During the workshop, Senior Adviser Fredrik Melander from the Nordic Council of Ministers presented the research policy and financial structure, while Simone Heinz from NordForsk presented NordForsk and the Top-level Research Initiative. Saga Wendén from the Nordic Council of Ministers introduced NordPlus, Nordic Masters and The Arctic Co-operation Programme.

The links to these websites provide an overview of open calls presented during the workshop.

Allocation criteria
Moderator and President of the UArctic, Lars Kullerud, guided the audience through a busy programme of debates and constructive contributions. For the many smaller member institutions of the UArctic, the competitive financing situation is a recurring subject. As the altered geopolitical situation has rendered the northern areas more interesting, attention from research institutions outside of the Nordic region has increased. Many participants expressed a wish for increased financing opportunities to ensure that research on the Nordic region is “done in the North, by people in the North, for people in the North”.

Many expressed their opinion that the allocation criteria are adjusted to fit larger research institutions. Melander reiterated that the Nordic Council of Ministers and NordForsk emphasize quality and relevance. In the Top-level Research Initiative’s sub-programme “Effect studies and adaptation to climate change”, these two criteria play a central role in the allocation of funds. A total of ten projects have recently received funding within this sub-programme.

The issue of funding collaborations with the USA, Canada and Russia required clarification. According to NordForsk’s grant schemes, participants from non-Nordic countries may be included if they cover their own expenses. Projects financed by NordForsk generally include partners from three Nordic countries or autonomous regions (the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Aaland). Many of NordForsk’s activities are open to all the Nordic countries, including the Baltic countries and North-West Russia. Melander stressed that the Nordic resources are minor compared to the national ones, and that they will promote areas in which the Nordic countries already hold strong research competencies.

- This workshop has been very interesting, and for the first time, I feel that I have an overall view of the offers and conditions of the Nordic Council of Ministers. Based on what we have learned today, I believe it is possible to look at how our research and networking projects can work together with NordForsk, NordPlus, and Nordic Masters. This might prove to be a useful tool, Outi Snellman from the International Secretariat of the UArctic concluded.

Simone Heinz from NordForsk was very pleased with both the workshop and the Arctic Frontiers conference: - The joint stand of NordForsk and the Nordic Council of Ministers was well attended, and we had the opportunity to inform the public of our grant schemes and the Top-level Research Initiative.

Text: Pål Mugaas, Millimeterpress
Photo: Outi Snellman and Lars Kullerud, by Terje Heiestad, Millimeterpress