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13.11.2020: "EU-programmes – Discover the opportunities for the public sector" event 

(Recorded live stream)


Rolf Einar FIFE, Norway's ambassador to the EU.
Photo credit: Kristian Nicolai Stakset-Gundersen ©Mission of Norway to the EU

Norway in Horizon Europe and Erasmus+: Views from the Ambassador

By Iben Dahl

Amid a pandemic, 2021 marks the beginning of a new programme period for the EU's research, innovation and education programmes. NorCore had a chat with Norway's ambassador to the EU, Rolf Einar Fife, to hear his views as Norway joins Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe in the 2021-27 programme period.

On 9 April, the Norwegian government announced that it wants Norway to join the EU’s framework programmes within R&I and education, in the upcoming 2021-27 programme period. This came, perhaps, as no surprise. The decision to renew Norway's participation is based on solid evidence that this is valuable: 

- Participation in these programmes represents a considerable investment for Norway. We know from previous years that the benefits that the Norwegian society reaps from participation, are significant, Norway’s Ambassador to the EU Rolf Einar Fife said. 

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Photo credit: © Eivind Senneset

European Research Council Celebrates Professor Inga Berre as She Becomes the 10,000th ERC Grantee

5 May 2021


14 years after its inception, the European Research Council (ERC) last week could announce its 10 000th grantee. A virtual ceremony boasted messages from both researchers previously granted by the ERC; EU Commissioners; and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. 

“Let’s celebrate science!”, President ad interim of the ERC Jean-Pierre Bourguignon said in his opening address. 

The celebratory spirit could be felt through the screen as the speakers shared their stories and encouraged the ERC’s further progress. The revelation of the 10 000th grantee, however, must have induced pride among the ceremony’s Norwegian audience and those connected to the University of Bergen (UIB) in particular:

Inga Berre, Professor in Applied Mathematics at UIB, examines the potential role of geothermal energy in a carbon-neutral future. Having thanked the ERC after Commissioner Maryia Gabriel’s announcement, she also stressed the value of the European community in researcher’s careers and to producing science.

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Please Try Again! CESAER and LERU React to Inadequate Involvement of Universities in Progress on the new ERA 

27 April 2021

Presidents of CESAER and LERU expressed in a letter to European Commissioners and Commission President Ursula von der Leyen their deep concerns with the prevalent approach to realize the European Research Area (ERA) last week. They called on the Commission to improve their Pact for R&I in Europe, as well as to strengthen its legally binding dimension, and the procedures by which R&I stakeholders are involved.

Leading universities have insisted on a comprehensive approach to the new ERA over time, reiterating the imperatives of the Communication on A New ERA for Research and Innovation launched in September and Council conclusions on the matter from December 2020. By the same token, both LERU and the Guild have voiced concerns over the current bloodless avenues for realizing it, e.g., through its non-binding content. The last straw came when the Commission presented its draft Pact on Research and Innovation for Europe, on 20 April:

- It's always nice if the European Commission and the Member States list R&I principles and actions. Unfortunately this happens, again, in a non-binding way and with no direct involvement of the [stakeholder organisations] in the ERA Forum itself, Secretary-General of LERU Kurt Deketelaere told LERU’s newsletter.

So, what is the discontent about? LERU and the Guild cite two overarching weaknesses:

First; the proposed Pact for R&I, especially its non-binding content, which in their view brings "no added value" and even threatens to regress achievements with the new ERA. This includes an alleged meagre legally binding dimension, and a lack of binding targets for public and private funding. The two organisations miss an "effective reconfirmation" of a previous target of 3% of GDP for public and private funding for R&I , as well as new commitments. 


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Norwegian Government Launches New Strategy for International Cooperation on Research and Higher Education

Against the backdrop of Covid-19 and the climate crisis, international cooperation within research, innovation and education is more important than ever. The renewed Norwegian Panorama Strategy, therefore, comes timely: 

"Panorama" is the government's strategy for cooperation on research and higher education with key partners outside the EU: Brazil, Canada, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, and USA, for 2021–2027. Corresponding to the EU's framework period, the strategy has now been renewed for the next seven years. The Panorama countries together contribute to a high share of global knowledge production. This edition expands on the previous selection of partner countries, adding Canada, USA and South Korea to the original six. 

The strategy's purpose is to increase quality and relevance in higher education, research, and innovation in Norway, through internationalisation and cooperation with the business sector. Panorama has a coordinating role in this, as it aims to ensure that Norway's bilateral agreements on research and/or higher education are followed up in a coherent manner. An instrument under the long-term plan for research and higher education, it also underpins the government’s long-term ambition that half of the higher education graduates in Norway will have had a study or training period abroad,  as it follows up on the White Paper “A world of opportunities — International student mobility in higher education” (Meld. St. 7 (2020- 2021). 

Norway's R&I and education sectors are heavily intertwined with the EU's, however. Panorama countries can participate in both Horizon Europe and Erasmus+ as third parties. As Norway expediently joins the EU's R&I and education framework programmes in the new programme period, therefore, the strategy also addresses how Panorama country cooperation should tie in with these. 


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