EU research policy - implications for Norway
Norway participates as a full member of the EU Seventh Framework Programme on Research and Technological Development as well as of the new EU Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP). EU research policy therefore has wide-ranging implications for Norwegian research. Norway's success rate in the Framework Programmes is high.
Norway and the EU Framework Programmes
As set out in the EEA Agreement in 1994, Norwegian researchers and companiesparticipate in the EU Framework Programmes on an equal footing with the EU member states. Starting in June 2007, Norway is a full member of the EU Seventh Framework Programme, which is scheduled to run through 2013. Norway will contribute NOK 1 billion to the programme each year for the duration of the programme period.
In recent years, the number of Norwegian grant-seekers awarded funding has been so high that there has almost been a one-to-one ratio between financial contribution to the EU and yield to the Norwegian research community. Under the Sixth Framework Programme some 4 000 Norwegian researchers took part in a total of approximately 800 research projects.
Scientifically speaking, the research areas encompassed by the Framework Programme represent key areas of interest for Norway, and correspond closely to established Norwegian research-policy interests. Moreover, active participation in research cooperation with the EU promotes greater international involvement among research institutions as well as trade and industry. The Framework Programme enables Norwegian stakeholders to draw benefits from knowledge development and sharing within the EU, and this in turn improves the quality of research in Norway. At the same time, membership of the programme offers a unique opportunity to enhance the profile of the Norwegian research sector at the international level.
EU focus on research and innovation
Research and innovation is the EU’s third largest area of activity, after agriculture and regional policy. As part of the effort to strengthen European competitiveness, the budget for the EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development will increase from Euro 5 billion in 2007 to nearly Euro 10 billion by 2013. This Framework Programme represents a key pillar in the establishment of a European Research Area (ERA). The Programme will cover the entire range from basic to applied research, will promote scientific and technological excellence in research, and will facilitate coordination of research activity throughout Europe.
The EU Seventh Framework Programme
In 2007 the EU launched its Seventh Framework Programme. The programme will run from 2007-2013, and has a budget totalling Euro 50.5 billion. This amount will be supplemented by the associated countries. Activities under the Seventh Framework Programme are grouped into the following categories:
- Non-nuclear activities of the EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC).
EU political objectives
The Framework Programmes comprise a central instrument of EU policy in the area of research, but the goal of establishing cooperation between researchers in different countries is only part of the targeted aims. Research activities are intended to help realise the objective of the Lisbon Strategy to make the EU the "most dynamic competitive knowledge-based economy in the world".
Accomplishing this will require a formidable effort to increase the focus on education, research and innovation. In the area of research, the member countries agree that there is a need for greater investment in research in Europe (especially from trade and industry), as well as a need for more efficient, better organised cooperation between European research communities. This is the thinking behind plans to build a European Research Area (ERA), a “single market” for research that encompasses all of Europe. The ERA will also serve as a means of motivating member states to increase their average investments in research toward the target of 3 per cent of GDP by 2010.
The EU Scientific and Technical Research Committee (CREST) is the main forum for discussions about and coordination of European research policy. CREST serves in an advisory role vis-à-vis both the EU Commission and the EU Council.
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