New agreement on research cooperation with Russia
The Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Research Council of Norway. Through joint calls in areas of common interest, both parties hope to gain in quality and create new synergies.
The RFBR delegation visiting Oslo is headed by the Chairman of the Board Mr. Vladislav Panchenko. In the delegation is also his adviser Mr. Alexander Akhmanov and his assistant Mrs. Olga Dmitrina. The delegation is staying in Norway for the better part of the week.
On Thursday the delegation will participate in the celebration of the 90 years anniversary of The Russian Trade Mission of Norway. The visit includes exposure to Norwegian research within nanotechnology, which is a RFBR priority area.
Researcher initiated and thematic
Mr. Panchenko presented RFBR as relatively young institution. – Russian science used to be dominated by the old universities and the academies of science. Amongst important social institutions in Russia, the academies come second only to the church, he said, adding that the foundation was established by the Russian state 20 years ago by Boris Jeltsin.
RFBR is funding “initiative projects”, which is bottom-up, as well as “goal oriented basic research”, which is more top-down. All kinds of grants are awarded. Annually about 10.000 proposals is submitted and one out of three receive funding. The annual budget is about 6.1 billion RUB (200 million USD).
- President Medvedev has listed five major directions for the economic development of Russia. These areas are energy effectiveness and saving, nuclear, space, medicine and strategic IT technologies, said Panchenko. – Many of the RFBR goal oriented calls falls within these areas, although medicine is a dominant discipline.
The Chairman could present 23 themes for goal oriented calls. Themes included low temperature nano structures, new particles, superstrong magnetic fields, composite multiferroid materials, brain-computer interface, and degradation of permafrost and hydrates.
Russia and Norway collaborate extensively through various programme activities. The budget for RCN funded projects involving Russian scientists was close to 50 million NOK in 2010. Under the EU Framework Programme (FP7), Russia is the one “third country” that Norwegian scientists cooperate the most with. A renewed state agreement on science and technology between the two countries is currently being prepared.
RFBR have structured cooperation with more than 25 countries and more than 30 partner institutions, in addition to the multilateral programmes.
- The MoU with RFBR is a welcome supplement to the agreement that we already have with The Russian Academy of Science, signed in 2008, said Mr.Arvid Hallén, Director General of RCN. He added that Russia is on the Norwegian shortlist of prioritised countries for science cooperation – 1 out of 10, in fact.
Aiming for joint calls
– We are looking forward to a fruitful collaboration. Collaboration with Russia has increased in recent years. We think that the agreement between our two research funding institutions can improve the framework for cooperation and thus further develop and extend relationships between researchers and institutions across the border.
The Russian delegation was eager to move on to discuss an implementation procedure. They proposed two meetings of experts, one in Norway and one in Russia, to identify the common fields of interest – as preparations for joint calls.
Mr. Hallén expressed hope that the parties could move swiftly to implementation: - This must be subject to further discussions. You have extensive experience with international cooperation. I hope you can propose some models for further development, he told his new Russian counterpart.
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