Norwegian-Polish research fund launched

Poland and Norway have launched a joint research fund with the goal of boosting bilateral research cooperation between the two countries.

The new fund, which was officially launched in Warsaw on 26 September, has a total value of ?15.3 million, ?13 million of which was donated by Norway, with the remaining ?2.3 million coming
from Poland.

The scheme is part of the European Economic Area (EEA) Financial Mechanisms, under which EEA-EFTA (European Free Trade Association) nations make funding available to the 12 countries which have
joined the EU since May 2004.

The fund will focus on research in the fields of health and the environment. Health-related topics slated for support include epidemiology, ageing, cancer, innovative medicines, health services
research and telemedicine. In the environment field, issues of interest include environmental management, biological diversity, optimisation of the use of natural resources, arctic research,
energy and water scarcity.

Projects which meet the criterion of involving Norwegian-Polish collaboration will be judged on the basis of the importance of the scientific purpose of the project, as well as its quality.
Proposals will be judged by a team of external referees, with the final decision being taken by the Board of the Fund.

It is expected that around eight large, Polish-Norwegian research projects will receive funding of up to ?2 million each. In addition to this, 70 smaller grants will be given to support
bilateral workshops or seminars designed to facilitate cooperation between Norwegian and Polish researchers.

Norway’s Minister for Education and Research, ÃËŔystein Djupedal, is optimistic about the fund’s success, pointing out that his country has a long
history of collaboration with Poland.

‘Good scientific networks are already in place,’ he said. ‘To mention one example, Poland and Norway already have a long history of allied research efforts on Svalbard, and there is great
potential for expanding Norwegian-Polish research cooperation.’

The countries also work closely together in the EU’s framework programmes; under the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) they participated in almost 250 projects together, mostly in the fields of
information and communication technologies (ICT), environment and agriculture. Furthermore, they are partners in 14 ERA-Nets, which bring together research funding agencies at European level.

‘This makes Poland one of Norway’s top 12 partners in the Framework Programme,’ commented Mr Djupedal. ‘I am confident that the Polish-Norwegian research fund will be a success, and strengthen
the relations between our countries even further.’

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