Although there is substantial overlap in the research interests of Canadian, Norwegian and US researchers in the Arctic, a number of reviews and analyses of cooperation between the three countries clearly indicate that there is much untapped potential for expanding cooperation.
Earlier this year, the Canadian research evaluation firm Science-Metrix Inc. presented the results of a major bibliometric analysis of Norway’s research collaboration activities with other countries that shows where this cooperation should be increased. Based on this report, the Research Council of Norway has drawn up roadmaps for bilateral cooperation with ten non-EU countries. Canada is one of the priority partner countries with great potential for expanded cooperation, and this point was highlighted during Transatlantic Science Week in Toronto in October.
Common Canadian, Norwegian and US issues and challenges in relation to the Arctic comprised the theme of the Transatlantic Science Week in Toronto. (Photo: Ingebjørg Aadland)
“Our bibliometric analyses demonstrate that Norway and Canada have highly productive partnerships in many subject areas. The analysis actually shows that in some areas Canada exhibits slightly stronger affinities towards Norway than the other way around,” states Éric Archambault, President and founder of Science-Metrix.
This year, Transatlantic Science Week focused on common Canadian, Norwegian and US issues and challenges in relation to the Arctic. The conference is hosted annually by the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and in 2014 the main thematic focus was Society, sustainability and safety in the Arctic.
Approximately 300 researchers, university rectors, heads of research and relevant representatives of government authorities in both Canada and Norway attended the conference.
Arvid Hallén, Director General of the Research Council of Norway, views the need to strengthen research cooperation with Canada in a strategic context.
“Transatlantic Science Week provides a means to further develop existing research contacts and to create new ones. I am certain that this year’s event has laid a foundation for expanded collaboration with Canadian researchers and institutions. The fact is, we have less cooperation with Canada today than we might think, given the numerous challenges and social and cultural characteristics our two countries have in common. Now we have to put effort and energy into keeping what we started in Toronto going,” Mr Hallén states.
“The conference has given us more insight into how indigenous peoples are dealing with climate change, how geopolitical challenges relating to the High North are being approached, understood and shaped, and it has shown us clearly once again how extremely vulnerable the Arctic is – for example, to oil spills. There is a great need for knowledge in all these areas,” said Mr Hallén after Transatlantic Science Week 2014 concluded.
Thematic areas in which the Research Council plans to expand cooperation with Canada include:
- polar research (both in the Arctic and Antarctic)
- marine environment and aquaculture
- petroleum and energy.