Academic research grants that broaden cooperation
EEA and Norway Grants 2004-09 have strengthened ties between researchers, universities and research institutions across Europe.
National managers of the EEA and Norway Grants research funds in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia report that the funding has helped establish new bilateral partnerships between scientists and research communities and renewed already existing partnerships between researchers in the beneficiary states and the donor states.
Leading to new partnership projects
The 240 projects under these research funds are in the process of being finalised. It is therefore too early to measure the significance of the academic research funds for the research community in the beneficiary states. However, the feedback from the managers of the research funds indicates that the EEA and Norway Grants support has played a substantial role in broadening the research cooperation with institutions and researchers in other European countries.
In some cases, research cooperation established or renewed in EEA and Norway Grants financed research projects has even lead to the submittal of new project proposals or a prolongation of the projects supported under other research and development schemes.
320 partnership projects
Academic research has proven to be the thematic sector of the EEA and Norway Grants with the highest number of bilateral partnership projects.
Under the academic research funds 175 projects were partnership projects, of which 89 were with Norwegian entities. The largest of the research funds, the €21.4 million Polish-Norwegian research fund, required all of its supported projects to be carried out on the basis of bilateral scientific cooperation.
In addition to the projects financed under the research funds managed at national level, 86 individual research projects won through in the ‘ordinary’ open calls for proposals held in the beneficiary states. 53 of these included bilateral research cooperation.
Differs from EU funds
Research communities in several of the beneficiary states also benefit from support from the EU Structural Funds and the EU's Seventh framework programme for research and technological development. The national managers of the EEA and Norway Grants research funds in the Czech Republic and Slovakia underline that the Structural Funds is a substantial funding source for the research communities in these countries. The EEA and Norway Grants differ from the EU Structural Funds by focusing on research funding and only to a lesser extent on research infrastructure. “From this point of view, the EEA and Norway Grants are highly welcomed by the scientific community as important sources of research financing”, says fund manager Juraj Koppel of the Slovak Academy of Sciences.
Protecting human health
The research projects under the funds have had a strong focus on improving health services and childcare. In the period 2004-09, 85 health and childcare projects and 71 environmental projects were supported. Other supported research projects were found in the sectors for human resource development, promotion of sustainable development and conservation of European cultural heritage.
An evaluation of the support to academic research will be conducted in the beginning of 2011.
Photo: Piotr Waniorek/Zelazna Studio