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Review of Norwegian partnership projects

In the period 2004-09, one in five supported projects was carried out in cooperation between entities in the 15 beneficiary states and partners in Iceland, Liechtenstein or Norway.  At the time of this review, in early 2008, 22 % of the supported projects had Norwegian partners.

Strengthening bilateral relations

A key goal of the EEA Grants and Norway Grants is to strengthen bilateral relations and to bring actors from beneficiary states and donor states together at the project level in areas where partnerships may be of mutual benefit by bringing added value and strengthening quality. In the period 2004-09, 275 partnership projects were awarded €308 million in grants. In addition, a multitude of partnership projects were supported through specific funds set up for academic research, scholarships, NGOs and regional development.

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Key overall findings

• There are 98 Norwegian institutions which are quoted as partners in the 145 partnership projects. 25 of these are partners in more than one project.

• The biggest category of Norwegian partnership institutions is “Private business companies” with 21 of the institutions (21.4 %). There are 18 institutions (18.4 %) in each of the two categories “Research institutions” and “Regional and local government”. There are 11 higher education institutions (11.2 %) and nine museums (9.2 %).

• There is a need for necessary access to information on potential partners. Furthermore such new partnerships depend on adequate time to find and build the relations.

• Steps should be taken to better disseminate information to the public and relevant institutions on possibilities for and achievements from partnerships.

• A clear policy document with expected objectives for bilateral relations should be developed.

Lessons learnt

• Successful partnerships depend on a clear understanding of the benefits and value added for each party and the tasks and responsibilities this involves. In most cases the benefits are based on complementarity and compatibility.


• There is a need of a clear strategy from the donors of what they want to achieve with regard to improved bilateral relations

• Institutions in Beneficiary States (BS) involved in the management of the Financial Mechanisms should prepare a comprehensive documentation on existing guidelines and procedures on partnerships.

• BS should be more proactive in assisting project applicants in addressing issues which may be detrimental to partnerships.

• BS should collect and present positive experiences from partnership projects.

• Institutions in the beneficiary states must take into account that they will have to be active in order to find and motivate institutions in the donor states for partnership.

• This means that they must develop their ideas on what they want from such partnerships, what they expect from the other and what they themselves will bring into such a partnership and how this may strengthen their application.

• Donor states should discuss with the beneficiary states possibilities to alleviate procedures and requirements which may be detrimental to partnerships.

• Donor states should take the necessary steps to better disseminate information to the public and relevant institutions on possibilities for and achievements from partnerships.

Photo: The Norway Grants financed a comprehensive overhaul of Kuldiga District museum, including a training centre for wooden architecture restoration that have spurred invaluable links with Frogn municipality in Norway. Photo: Per-Willy Færgestad.