Policy Areas

Research and Technology

Under the EEA Agreement, Norway takes part in all EU programmes and activities in the field of research.

The Government’s goal is to ensure that Norway occupies a leading position internationally in terms of new technology, skills and knowledge. Norway has one of the world’s highest gross domestic products per inhabitant and the world’s highest level of education – factors that provide the preconditions for becoming a leading research nation. At present Norway spends around 1.6 % of its GDP on research and development. The 2005 White Paper on Research stresses the importance of raising this level to 3 % in line with the European policy set out in the Lisbon strategy.

Under the EEA Agreement, Norway has since 1994 participated fully in the EU Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. The Norwegian GDB based financial contribution to the current 6th Framework Programme (2003-2006) adds around 2.1 % (375 million euro) to the EU Framework budget (17 886 million euro). By virtue of this contribution and of Article 81 in the EEA Agreement, Norwegian participants in Framework projects have the same rights and obligations as participants from the EU Member States. In practice, this means that they are entitled to compete for Community Framework funding and can coordinate Framework research projects with partner from EU Member States or other Associated States.

On the average, one out of ten EU research project has a Norwegian partner: by mid-2006 more than 800 Norwegian research companies and companies have qualified for funding under the 6th Framework programmes. Norwegian participation is particularly strong in the areas energy, marine sciene and technology and the environment.

The Norwegian Research Council is mandated by the Ministry of Education and Research to have the overall operational responsibility for Norway’s participation in the EU Framework Programmes. The Ministry is currently preparing a proposition to the Parliament on Norwegian participation in the 7th Research Framework Programme (2007-2013).

Norway also participates in the Community initiative for a European Research Area, ERA, a research and innovation area equivalent of the “common market” for goods, capital, persons and services. The ERA is regrouping all Community support in order to improve the co-ordination of research activities and the convergence of research and innovation policies at national and EU level.

Norway is a full member of many other European organisations and institutions for research and development, including COST (the European organisation for scientific and technological copperation), EUREKA (the European network for market oriented research and development), ESA (European Space Agency), CERN (European Centre for Particle Physics) and EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory).

Contact at the Mission of Norway to the EU: Tore Grønningsæter

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Minister of Research and Higher Education, Tore Aasland.Photo: Ministry of Education and Research / Arild Hjelm