Over the past several years, the internationalisation of research and research policy has gained momentum. "We don't want to be left standing on the platform when the train pulls out of the station. The new strategy for international cooperation will enable us to take a more proactive approach," says Research Council Director General, Arvid Hallén. He is hoping that the research community at large will respond with input and comments to the document that has now been sent out for consultation.
Competition and cooperation
In the international research context, broad-based cooperation and competition are two sides of the same coin. Applying for research funding in competition with researchers from other countries is a means of measuring the quality of research. The best researchers compete with each other independently of where they come from. Hallén stresses that the new international strategy will give Norway a better basis for participation in the international competitive arena.
"It is the Research Council's job to help to expand and improve Norwegian research. This means that we have to create an even better framework for scientific collaboration with the best researchers in other countries. We are ambitious in terms of what we believe can be achieved through international research cooperation, and we must ask ourselves at every step of the way whether our ties to the global research community are good enough," he states.
A key component
The new strategy will be implemented with an eye to incorporating international cooperation as a key component of the vast majority of the projects funded by the Research Council by 2015.
According to the Director General, there are three main challenges to be dealt with:
- Up to now, international cooperation has mostly been organised between individuals. The research institutions need to introduce general measures to facilitate more organised, systematic internationalisation efforts.
- The various boards of the Research Council programmes need to ensure that the international dimension becomes an integral part of all programme initiatives, and that constructive priorities are identified. Furthermore, international collaboration perspectives must be incorporated more clearly into the priorities set out at the national level.
- Funding cooperation between countries is on the rise. These activities need to be coordinated and structured more efficiently.
Changes to the research sector
The new international strategy will change the Norwegian research sector as we know it today.
"A greater proportion of the research carried out in Norway will be the result of international collaborative activities. This will be further reinforced by the global nature of the challenges we are facing: energy, climate, environmental and health-related issues do not stop at national boundaries and we need to work together to find common solutions. We also need to pool our resources with others to establish the necessary scientific infrastructure, as the investments needed are extremely costly. Moreover, we need to ensure that there is coordination between our national initiatives and international needs and focus our efforts on becoming world leaders in the areas on which we choose to concentrate," explains Hallén.
Consultation and dialogue
What kind of responses are you expecting from the consultation process for the international strategy?
"We are looking for input from the research community as to what we need to do in order to better fulfil its needs. The greater our insight into the situation in the Norwegian research sector, the better equipped we will be to design clearly targeted measures," Hallén concludes.
The dialogue with research and industry as well as society at large is an essential part of the finalisation of the strategy, and the Research Council will be implementing a broad-based consultation process that will include consultative meetings as well as an opportunity to submit responses in written form and via the Internet.
The document version for consultation is in Norwegian only. You may download it here: International strategy - version for consultation (PDF-124.7 KB)
Responses to the document may be submitted by E-mail to eja(at)forskningsradet.no, before 16 April 2010.