Norway – India: New research cooperation program
Research plays a key role in the Norwegian Government’s new strategy for relations with India. The Research Council is now following up on this by establishing a new program to promote research collaboration between the two countries.
The new research program will help to expand research cooperation between India and Norway.
“India’s increasing economic and geopolitical significance creates new opportunities and poses new challenges. The country is rapidly gaining stature as an important research and knowledge nation,” stated Arvid Hallén, Director General of the Research Council of Norway.
Opportunities in diversity
The new research program is one component of the Norwegian Government’s strategy for cooperation between Norway and India, Opportunities in diversity, which was launched at the end of August. The Government’s strategy is designed to facilitate increased investment from Norwegian trade and industry in India.
At the same time Norway seeks to strengthen, broaden and further develop its contacts in several other important areas, such as climate change, the environment, research and international and cultural issues.
Allocated NOK 100 million
The India research program will distribute NOK 20 million per year over a five-year period starting in 2009. The program will be evaluated to determine whether it should be extended for an additional five years.
“The program will give a significant boost to research cooperation between India and Norway. The result will be a more cohesive research effort and it will be easier for us to implement new initiatives more quickly,” Hallén pointed out.
Target groups for the program include R&D institutions and trade and industry alike. The funding announcements will span a wide spectrum of research projects from basic to industry-oriented research, depending on the thematic area and discipline.
The Research Council emphasizes that the new program will be viewed in conjunction with other joint research activities with India, including those that do not fall within the remit of the Research Council.
Thematic priority areas
From the outset, activities in a number of thematic priority areas under the India program that will be carried out in cooperation with the relevant thematic research programmes at the Research Council. These priority areas are:
– International political issues
– Climate change
– The environment
– Clean energy
– Social development
The program is expected to extend its scope gradually to encompass other thematic and scientific initiatives.
A designated program board will not be appointed, but there will be an external advisory committee. Funds will be announced from 2010.
Promising start – activities on the rise
Research cooperation between India and Norway is already well underway in several areas funded by the Research Council, for example within human and fish vaccines, geotechnics and climate and polar research.
The Research Council currently provides funding to three Indian PhD fellowship-holders at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). Moreover, the Norwegian Geotechnical Institute (NGI) has received funding from the Research Council for the establishment of a similar institute in Dheradun, India.
“Cooperation with India within areas such as knowledge development, research and higher education are crucial for strengthening Norway’s relations with Indian society,” added Hallén.
To learn more, visit the Research Council of Norway.