Norwegian-German exchange more popular than ever

More and more Norwegians have set their sights on studying or conducting research at German universities, and Norway is an increasingly popular destination for German students and researchers. The E.ON Ruhrgas scholarship program provides an excellent framework for constructive exchange between the two countries.

The E.ON Ruhrgas scholarships are awarded to Norwegian and German master’s students, doctoral students and researchers in the areas of economics, law and political science. The large number of applications received this year by the February deadline indicates that interest in the programme is on the rise in both countries.

An influx of applications

Kristin Eikeland Johansen, who coordinates the program at the Research Council, is pleased with the response. She attributes it to more effective information activity as well as to the new electronic application system that has simplified the application process.

Half of this year’s applicants are seeking grants in economics, while the other half is evenly distributed between law and political science.

“Among those applying for law grants, there is a marked increase in the number who want to pursue an additional year of Master’s-level studies focusing on German and EU law,” reports Ms Eikeland Johansen.

In addition to the scientific and academic benefits, the scholarship programme encourages network-building and generally broadens the perspective of the students and researchers who spend time abroad.

Fruitful cooperation

The Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft has administered the E.ON Ruhrgas scholarships granted to Norwegian students and researchers since the programme was launched in 1983. German applicants have subsequently also become eligible for funding.

Norway, via the Research Council, is responsible for deciding which subject areas will be encompassed by the programme. In 2000, the field of political science replaced history, which in earlier years was highly relevant for German-Norwegian cooperation, not least due to the German occupation of Norway in War World II and the need for Norwegian historians to adopt a stronger European orientation.

25 years of unbridled success

The E.ON Ruhrgas scholarship programme was established to support research and education through academic exchange between Norwegian and German universities. In 2009, the parties had a celebration in Berlin to mark the 25th anniversary of successful cooperation.

The success is due in large part to the efforts of some dedicated programme veterans who were honoured during the anniversary celebration. Erling Selvik, a retired professor of law at the University of Oslo, has served as chairman of the law programme board since its inception. Jarle Simensen, professor of history at the University of Oslo, was chair of the history programme board throughout its duration. Steinar Strøm, professor of economics at the University of Tromsø and the University of Torino, headed the economics programme board from the mid-1990s until the early 2000s.

Kristin Eikeland Johansen also deserves credit for the program’s success. She has coordinated the E.ON Ruhrgas program at the Research Council since 1985, almost as long as the fund has been in existence.

Source: Research Council of Norway

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