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Norway exceeds two per cent share of Horizon 2020 contribution for the first time

Norway has fulfilled the Government’s ambition to achieve a two per cent share of its EU contribution from Horizon 2020, and has won NOK 5.4 billion of the total competitive funding allocated thus far under the EU Horizon 2020 framework programme.

The combined value of Horizon 2020 projects with Norwegian participation totals an impressive NOK 39 billion.

“This is excellent news. Horizon 2020 is the largest, most important international competitive arena for research. Whenever Norwegian research groups succeed in this arena it means that they have come out on top in competition against the best researchers the world over,” says Minister of Research and Higher Education, Iselin Nybø.

Chief Executive of the Research Council, John-Arne Røttingen, is also very pleased that Norway has surpassed the two per cent target. “Norwegian research and innovation is getting better and better. Our efforts are yielding results: top researchers are applying for Horizon 2020 funding and meeting with success. Clearly, Norwegian researchers, enterprises and public agencies are taking part more actively in European research and innovation collaboration.”

Professor Kristian Berg of Oslo University Hospital has received Horizon 2020 funding. Here he is giving Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Minister of Research and Higher Education, Iselin Nybø, and Chief Executive of the Research Council, John-Arne Røttingen, a tour of his laboratory.

“At the same time, it is important not to rest on our laurels. Close to half of the funding available under Horizon 2020 is still to be distributed. We can and must seize this opportunity to expand research and innovation collaboration,” Dr Røttingen says.  

The world’s largest research programme

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s framework programme for innovation and research. The programme has a budget of EUR 77 billion for the 2014–2020 period, and is considered the world’s largest research programme. The objective of the programme is to stimulate growth and employment in Europe. Norway participates as a full member.

“It’s not just the money we bring home that’s important for Norwegian participation in Horizon 2020,” says Dr Røttingen. “Through their projects, Norwegian researchers, companies and public entities participate in the world’s leading research network, where they gain access to excellent knowledge, infrastructure and markets,” he explains.

The green line in this illustration in Norwegian shows the share of funding Norway has secured from all available Horizon 2020 funding thus far. The blue line shows the change in the share of funding won since the most recent update.

Biggest contribution in the area of research to tackle societal challenges

Horizon 2020 is organised around three pillars:

  • includes the European Research Council (ERC), mobility programmes, future and emerging technologies and infrastructure.
  • Industrial Leadership includes enabling technologies such as ICT; nano-, bio- and space exploration technology; access to risk finance, and innovation in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • Societal Challenges, with its underlying seven broad challenges.

Norway both contributes and gains the greatest returns from participation in Horizon 2020 under the third pillar in particular. “A full 55 per cent of the funding awarded to Norwegian actors is for activities under the Societal Challenges pillar,” states John-Arne Røttingen. Here, the private and public sectors and researchers all work together, and a growing number of Norwegian actors are taking on the role as coordinator in large-scale collaborative projects. This role entails greater responsibility, but also increases involvement in the projects and offers a larger portion of the budget.

The above overview shows EU support granted to projects with Norwegian participation. The orange column represents the total amount of support for projects with Norwegian participation; the blue column represents support granted to Norwegian actors.

EU-støtte til prosjekter med norsk deltakelse

EU funding for projects with Norwegian participation

Fremragende forskning

Excellent Science

Konkurransedyktig næringsliv

Industrial Leadership


Societal Challenges

Millioner euro

EUR million






Future and Emerging Technologies



Avansert produksjon

Advanced Manufacturing and Processing

Avanserte materialer

Advanced Materials








Space Exploration Technology









Klima, miljø og ressurser

Climate Action, Environment and Resource Efficiency




Safety and Security

Herav støtte til norske aktører

Share of funding granted to Norwegian actors

All støtte i prosjekter med norsk støtte

Total support for projects with Norwegian funding


Norway has cracked the code

The share of EU contribution fluctuates from update to update. “What is involved here is the share of funding allocated overall, so it is going to vary over time,” Dr Røttingen says. At the same time, figures from the EU show a steady increase in the number of Norwegian projects with successful proposals. “We see that the overall number of projects awarded funding is not increasing, but the size of successful project proposals is larger than previously. It would appear that Norwegian applicants have cracked the code and that we’re now surging ahead,” he states. “We must reiterate, however, that these figures can fluctuate from here on out. The fact that we have now achieved the target of two per cent is linked to a particularly high success rate of nearly three per cent of all funding allocated over the last two periods.



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