Policy Areas

Norway supports renewed EU efforts on research and education

On 14 March Kristin Clemet, Minister of Education and Research, met with the Commissioner for Science and Research, Janez Potočnik, and Commissioner for Education, Training, Culture and Multilingualism, Ján Figel, to discuss the upcoming 7th Framework Programme on Research and Development.

18/03/2005 :: Both Norway and the EU give precedence to research and education.

“Norway has been one of the most dedicated countries in the previous EU Framework Programmes on Education and Research, and we will continue our involvement,” said Clemet after the meeting with Commissioner Figel.

Research and education have been two of the highlighted areas in the EU proposal for the 2007-2013 Financial Perspectives, which is in sync with Norwegian priorities. 

The fourth Ministerial Conference of the Bologna Process was one of the key topics for discussion in the meeting between Clemet and Figel. Set for 19 and 20 May in Bergen, host-country Norway and the current EU Presidency, Luxembourg, will jointly lead the Conference with 45 participating Member States.

“In Bergen we will attempt to establish a qualification framework for higher education in Europe. We will also attempt to write up a status report for the first time. Now that we are halfway to our targeted date of 2010 we need to find out how far we have come in achieving our goals and how we should proceed after 2010,” Clemet said.

Measures such as quality assurance and institutional changes, as well as increasing mobility of researchers across borders and the raising of competition levels between univerisities have been used by the EU in its work towards improving and harmonizing higher education in Europe. Norway fully supports these efforts.

Although Norway and the EU are in concert on the promotion of higher education, Norway stands on its own as the only country in Europe where universities are and will continue to be fully financed by government funds.

“Norway stands by its principle of providing free higher education despite the fact that other Nordic countries are discussing the possibilities of introducing tuition. In Norway the process of accessing institutions of higher education is relatively easy, and we have prioritized this concept over quality assurance,” Clemet said.

Clemet further outlined the Norwegian input to the upcoming 7th Framework Programme in her meeting with Commissioner Potočnik.

“There has been a growing attention towards research and education within the Community. For us ocean-research is a priority, and my impressions were that it will be a highlighted area for the Commission in the Framework Programme,” Clemet said, adding that this attention most likely will have a strong impact on the future development in these areas.

Other especially targeted research areas in the Framework Programme will be improvements in innovation and creativity. In addition, the creation of a single European Research Area is highlighted as one of the main challenges facing the EU.

In correspondence with the proposal for the 7th Framework Programme on 6 April, the EU will submit a plan that aims to simplify the application process for researchers and encourage mobility across borders.

“We would also like to see more private funding go into the research sector to create a diversity of sources, which, ultimately, would lead to more creativity,” Clemet said in a comment.

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Minister Kristin Clemet discussed research and education with EU Commissioners in BrusselsPhoto: Anne Grethe Nilsen, EU-del.