In the past decade, an ever-increasing share of the embassy’s budget has gone to research cooperation, leading to a dramatic rise in co-publications between Indian and Norwegian researchers, especially in the areas of climate, energy and the environment. Now the Research Council will assume most of the responsibility for administering the embassy’s research funding. Ann Ollestad, Norway’s Ambassador to India, signed an agreement to this effect with the Research Council in New Delhi on 24 May 2012.
NOK 125 million over five years
Under the agreement, NOK 125 million will be available to promote Norwegian-Indian cooperation in the period 2012-2016. The funding will be administered by the INDEMB activity, which was recently established under the Research Council’s Norway – Global Partner programme (NORGLOBAL). The efforts will be closely coordinated with other Norwegian-Indian research cooperation administered by the Research Council’s Norwegian Programme for Research Cooperation with India (INDNOR).
The signing in New Delhi. From left: Renu Wadehra , Vivek Kumar, Signe Gilen, Aslak Bruno and Ambassador Ann Ollestad of the Norwegian Embassy, Hans Borchgrevink, Marianne Jensen and Inger-Ann Ulstein of the Research Council.
The Research Council will also follow up projects already underway, representing an overall budget of approximately NOK 30 million.
“The embassy’s funding for research cooperation between Norway and India is a long-term investment that both countries will benefit from greatly,” says Ambassador Ollestad.
This is the first time that the Research Council has signed an agreement with an embassy to administer its research budget.
Better coordination and open competition
“Thanks to this agreement, the range of Norwegian research cooperation with India will be better coordinated,” states Jesper Simonsen, Executive Director of the Division for Society and Health at the Research Council.
“The Research Council can help to improve how the funding is utilised by ensuring openness and competition, which will lead to higher quality in research. This will be a huge advantage for the research institutions. From our perspective, we view this new cooperative measure as a way to strengthen the internationalisation of Norwegian research even further,” says Mr Simonsen.
Thematic programmes to form basis
Funding of up to NOK 25 million will be announced annually for new cooperative projects between Norway and India, primarily through relevant thematic programmes under the Research Council. Calls for proposals may also be issued jointly with the Indian authorities.
The applicants must be Norwegian research institutions and companies working in close cooperation with research institutions in India. The Research Council will use the same expert advisory group to assess the applications as it uses for the INDNOR programme.
The thematic focus has yet to be decided but it is likely that the first funding announcement will follow up two working meetings held recently under the auspices of the INDNOR programme on the social sciences and humanities.