Horizon 2020

How Norwegian universities want to improve EU’s research programme

Enhanced commitment to excellence in research and better integration of the social sciences and humanities. These are among the recommendations made by eight Norwegian university rectors in the interim evaluation of the Horizon 2020 programme.


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The rectors of eight Norwegian universities think that Excellent Science should continue to be the cornerstone of Horizon 2020 and in the next framework programme. The rectors have collaborated to produce a joint position paper for the interim evaluation of the EU’s research and innovation programme.

The rectors emphasize that curiosity-driven research (ERC), access to research infrastructures (INFRA) and mobility (MSCA) are essential if Europe is to continue to be a leading contender in the area of research.

– Excellent Science is the foundation for innovation and technological advancement, and we assess ERC as being one of the greatest successes so far, UiB Rector Dag Rune Olsen explains.

The social sciences and humanities disciplines must be better integrated

The rectors want more room for the social sciences and humanities.

– Integration of the social sciences and humanities throughout Horizon 2020 has not been very successful. It is vital that these disciplines be integrated in the public announcements in conjunction with the Societal Challenges programme, Dag Rune Olsen maintains.

– It is important in this connection that the term ”impact” be adapted so as to facilitate integration of the social sciences and humanities disciplines. In addition, the term “innovation” should be expanded to include non-technological innovation in the social sciences and basic research in the humanities, Olsen says.

Raises the quality of Norwegian research

The rectors emphasize that participation in the Horizon 2020 programme is a top priority in their research and innovation policies and that they want to increase Norwegian participation.

– Being a part of Horizon 2020 has long been important for the University of Bergen, and currently we have a success rate of 17 percent, which is the highest among the Norwegian universities. This work will be important for us in the future as well, Olsen concludes.

The group of Norwegian rectors agree that the research programme helps to raise the quality and relevance of Norwegian research through competition and collaboration with the best researchers in Europe, and at the same time it provides access to advanced technology and infrastructures.

More about this in Khrono’s interview with Dag Rune Olsen (in Norwegian)

The main recommendations of the Norwegian university rectors

  • Excellent Science must continue to be a cornerstone of the programme
  • Better balance between basic research and innovation
  • Increased financing for collaborative research
  • Better integration of the social sciences and humanities disciplines
  • More international cooperation with the best research partners outside Europe

Read all the recommendations here