Survey: No NordForsk, no collaboration

NordForsk funding leads to sustainable collaboration and joint EU applications. Most of the respondents report that they could not have carried out their activity without the support of NordForsk.
These are some of the preliminary results of a survey conducted among researchers and research students who have participated in NordForsk and NorFA networks and research training courses in the 1999-2005 period. A letter with a link to the on-line questionnaire was sent by e-mail to close to 1200 network coordinators and group leaders, as well as research training course leaders. A total of 468 respondents completed the survey.

Sustainable collaboration
One of NordForsk’s aims is to establish sustainable collaboration between researchers and research institutions in the larger Nordic region. Among those no longer receiving NordForsk funding, 47% said that they still actively cooperated with their Nordic partners.

Nordic networks going European
Nordic partnership has been shown to be a success factor when applying for EU funding. Our survey data indicate that this is the case. 20 percent reported that networking through NordForsk/NorFA had contributed to joint applications for EU funding, whereas 37 percent replied that this was partly the case. Less than half (44%) had not applied for such funding with their Nordic partners.

Joint publications
Researcher groups involved in networks and research training courses are only moderately active in disseminating results from their activities in the form of joint scientific publications. 25 percent of the activities had not resulted in any scientific publications, while one in five reported joint publications as a major element in their collaboration. Networks were naturally more likely to include joint scientific publications as an important element in their activity compared to research training courses.

Low industry involvement
The network and research training activities are open to collaboration with partners outside the academic world. One in ten projects involved collaboration with business at least to some extent, but only 1% of the respondents reported that such collaboration took place to a large extent. This collaboration was more common for research training courses than for networks, and was most widespread within the technical sciences.

Not possible without NordForsk
The respondents (main coordinators and group leaders) were asked if they would have been able to carry out the activity without the support from NordForsk. It appears that NordForsk indeed fills a niche reflected by the fact that nearly 2/3 of the respondents would not have been able to create a network or organise a research training course without the support from NordForsk. Almost 1/3 might have done so but with great difficulty.

NordForsk well known and easily accessible
Although NordForsk is still a young organisation a majority of respondents believe NordForsk is well known for potential users in their own country, i.e. 63 percent. Most respondents, 65 percent, find the application procedures in NordForsk clear and easily accessible.

More results from the survey will be published when the final analysis is ready.
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