Tag: research

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Difficult to find funding for Nordic co-operation

The Nordic governments can, to a greater extent than today, join forces to identify important research areas and make joint calls, according to a report from Nordforsk. There is a long tradition of collaboration between researchers in the Nordic countries, but now many are instead looking to Europe.

In the Curie article, the journalist Charlie Olofsson asked some representatives of the research world to address the need for research from a Nordic perspective.

Difficult to get EU money for Nordic projects

An important funder of Nordic research collaborations is Nordforsk. They provide funding for research projects involving researchers from at least three different countries, where at least two must be Nordic. Nordforsk receives its basic funding from the Nordic Council of Ministers, but they often announce funding in collaboration with other funders.

Arne Flåøyen, Director at NordForsk, sees that researchers who want to apply for funding together with colleagues in other Nordic countries currently have difficulty obtaining joint funding. There is nothing to prevent Nordic researchers from joining forces and applying for research funding from the EU, but in practice, it is difficult to get EU money for Nordic collaborations, he says.

Common challenges in the Nordic region and directly fund foreign researchers

This summer, Nordforsk released the report “How to mobilize the Nordics!” with 14 proposals on how to strengthen co-operation in research and education in the Nordic region. Arne Flåøyen describes it as an inspiration catalogue that can be developed over time. Among the 14 proposals, for example, is the importance of raising more money for Nordic research projects.

The Nordic countries stand out internationally through their well-developed registers with various authorities and organizations. Through the registers, it is possible to collect large amounts of information, for example for research in the field of health.

The floor to the experts

Arne Flåøyen believes that it is important to promote Nordic co-operation in research for several reasons. He sees that there are many areas where the Nordic countries have similar conditions and face similar challenges from well-developed industries or similar climates. Besides, the report also points to the benefits of Nordic co-operation on research infrastructure, for example in the IT area.

However, Ingrid Petersson, General Director at Formas, explains the duality in their mission.

“We will support Swedish researchers and universities, but we will also contribute to solving our biggest societal problems. The latter can be interpreted as meaning that we should fund the researchers who are best suited, regardless of where they are located.”

Ingrid Petersson, Formas General Director

Ingrid Petersson does not rule out that in the future they could also make announcements together with national financiers from other Nordic countries. She sees several issues that can be valuable to tackle from a Nordic perspective. For example, the Nordic security policy situation and the common challenges for agriculture at our latitudes.

Carl-Henrik Heldin, professor at Uppsala University and chairman of the Nobel Foundation, agrees that there are good reasons to develop Nordic cooperation in for example health research. He also sees that there are research questions where a Nordic perspective can be relevant. At the same time, he does not think that the importance of cooperation within the Nordic region, in particular, should be exaggerated.


Curie is a Swedish web magazine devoted to the world of research. It monitors the latest research trends. Curie explains and analyses and puts research into context. The magazine takes the pulse on the decision-makers and examines how their decisions affect the day-to-day lives of researchers.

Text adapted and translated by the SweDev Secretariat from the original article written by Charlie Olofsson (Curie)

COVID-19 pandemic highlights urgent need to scale up investment in lifelong learning for all, says OECD

This article was first published on OECD.

“Countries must step up their efforts to enable people to continue learning throughout their lives to navigate a rapidly changing world of work shaped by globalisation and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new OECD report.”

OECD Skills Outlook 2021: Learning for Life says that public policies should play a key role in facilitating effective and inclusive lifelong learning, but much remains to be done. It will be crucial to invest part of the resources devoted to the recovery to lifelong learning programmes, involving all key stakeholders and with a focus on vulnerable groups, particularly young people, the NEET (neither in employment, education or training) and those whose jobs are most at risk of transformation, says the report.”

““It’s essential that lifelong learning becomes a reality for everyone since the crisis has further accelerated the transformation in our economy and skills needs. Today, too many adults do not participate in workplace learning and the pandemic has further reduced their opportunities to do so,” said OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann, launching the report in Paris.”

“Even before the pandemic, only two out of ten low-educated adults took part in formal or on-the-job training, compared to six out of ten high-educated adults. The pandemic may also affect the learning attitude of children and youth. The disruptions to regular schooling led many children to progress less than expected in skill development. In the short term, the pandemic could lead to increases in early school leavers. In the medium and long term, lower engagement could result in the current generation of students failing to develop positive learning attitudes, at a time of profound structural changes that will require individuals to upgrade their skills throughout their life, warns the report. Furthermore, the report identifies potential cause of gender inequality in training opportunities. Up to 28% of “inactive but motivated” women mention family obligations as a barrier to participating in training, compared to only 8% of men. The gender gap widens when children appear in the family.”