Norway and Portugal strengthen cooperation
Norway and Portugal sign agreements on increased ocean-related scientific and technological cooperation. "All it takes is a glance at the map to see that Portugal and Norway share a common interest in boosting research for sustainable management and exploitation of marine resources," states Director General Arvid Hallén of the Research Council of Norway.
Two mutually beneficial agreements
On 4 May, government ministers and research council heads from Portugal and Norway convened at the Research Council of Norway in an official meeting to sign two bilateral agreements. These agreements emphasise the strategic importance of the sea for growth and development.
Both agreements were signed in the presence of the President of the Portuguese Republic, His Excellency Mr Anibal Cavaco Silva.
Norway's Minister of Education and Research, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, and Portugal's Minister of Education and Science, Nuno Crato, first signed a declaration of intent between the two countries on collaboration in research and technology.
The declaration of intent is formally realised in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Ocean-related Scientific and Technological Cooperation, signed by Arvid Hallén and Maria Arménia Carrondo on behalf of the Research Council of Norway and the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT), respectively.
Norway's Minister of Fisheries, Elisabeth Aspaker, and Portugal's Minister of Agriculture, Sea, Environment and Spatial Planning, Assunção Cristas, also took part in the ceremony. The various ministers present stressed how important the agreement is for both countries.
Opposite ends of Europe
Minister Røe Isaksen stressed that Portugal and Norway, from their respective ends of Europe, both need to find new solutions to meet today's global challenges. "We have numerous examples of successful collaboration we can build upon. There is still great potential for expanding cooperation in ocean-related research," Mr Røe Isaksen stated.
His Portuguese counterpart also sees the ocean as a natural starting point for collaboration. "Research has no limits, but there is no limit to the challenges either," Mr Crato points out.
Biotechnology and new industry
The signing ceremony was followed by a workshop on marine biotechnology and bioprospecting for researchers and business leaders from Portugal and Norway, organised in collaboration with Innovation Norway and the FCT.
Parallel sessions were also held on the topics of seafood, marine environment and offshore energy and technology, giving researchers from both countries the opportunity to meet and discuss research collaboration. These thematic areas are also encompassed by the agreement.