Focus on research, innovation and education
To tackle the many challenges facing our societies and economies today, we need to step up investment in innovation, research and education. Throughout April, in conjunction with a series of information events taking place in Norway, we are taking a special look at the significant contribution provided by the Grants to these areas.
Europe leads the world in some technologies, but faces increasing competition from traditional powers and emerging economies alike. The EU has pledged to increase investment into research and development to 3% of GDP on research by 2020, but currently most of the EEA and Norway Grants partner countries spend well below that. The Grants are investing around €100 million in research cooperation programmes that will last until 2016 in Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Romania. The Norwegian Research Council is organising a conference in Oslo on 24 April to present opportunities on how partners can get involved.
With governments across Europe struggling to respond to high unemployment levels, there is also a renewed urgency in addressing the skills gap. Boosting transnational mobility helps students acquire new skills and strengthens future employability. The EEA and Norway Grants support student mobility through scholarship programmes worth €32.8 million in 11 countries. In Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, opportunities under the Grants will be presented for educational institutions at a event on April 26 and 27.
Green industry innovation is a new area under the Norway Grants. Worth almost €100 million, it is a business development programme targeting the private sector, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Innovation Norway held a seminar on 17 April in Oslo presenting possibilities for SMEs to participate within the green innovation programmes.
Photo: Oceanography Division-Instituto Hidrografico (Portugal)