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Praise for the Top-level Research Initiative

  • Published 01/12/2011
The Top-level Research Initiative received many words of praise at its annual conference in Oslo on 28-29 November. According to the Norwegian Government, the initiative puts Nordic ideals into practice, and Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Halldór Ásgrimssón is impressed by the results achieved in such a short time.

The Norwegian Minister of Research and Higher Education Tora Aasland opened the Top-level Research Initiative (TRI) Annual Conference by referring to a speech given by Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, when he came to Norway in 2007 as co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize with former US Vice President Al Gore. At that time, Dr Pachauri noted that climate change must be addressed with a joint scientific effort, the development of new knowledge, and the will to acknowledge the realities of a changing climate.

- These are also three key considerations for the TRI, which can be viewed as an initiative in the spirit of the Nobel Peace Prize. The TRI can also be said to put Nordic ideals into practice, said Minister Aasland.


A leader in green growth

Continuing her remarks, Minister Aasland reminded the audience that the Top-level Research Initiative was launched by five exceedingly pleased Nordic prime ministers in 2008 as a large-scale effort to promote research and innovation in the areas of climate, environment and energy.


Minister Aasland took the opportunity to point out that “green growth” has now been placed high on the Nordic agenda. The Nordic prime ministers have stated that the region will become a leader with respect to dynamic, green industrial activity and sustainable solutions and that it has the potential to be at the international forefront in this area. The Norwegian Government recently launched a strategy for industrial development and green growth with a focus on the development of environmental technology, and both the OECD and EU are expanding their focus on this area as well.


- The Top-level Research Initiative is in close alignment with the new objectives and priorities emerging at national, Nordic, European and global levels. Nordic research cooperation is translating the ideals and ideas into a cooperative scientific effort that generates concrete results and that we hope will also bring positive change to society, said Minister Aasland.


Impressed by the TRI’s results

Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Halldór Ásgrimssón expressed admiration for the results achieved by the TRI in such a short time.


Halldor Asgrimsson TFI 2011
 Halldór Ásgrimssón. Photo: Terje Heiestad

- We are especially impressed that the programme has built new platforms of cooperation between research and industry and established broad-based European cooperation so quickly. In fact, I think that the TRI is paving the way for even broader Nordic cooperation. We should view this annual conference as a springboard for our future efforts to carry out the task given to us by the prime ministers, which is to ensure that the Nordic region becomes a leader in green growth, said Mr Ásgrimssón.


The TRI can inspire Europe

Cornelis Vis, Adviser at the Bureau of European Advisers which is connected to the Office of the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, took his starting point in the global financial crisis that has hit several EU countries especially hard.


- There is no other choice than to launch joint European solutions to today’s problems. The EU’s goal is not only to combat the crisis; it is also to stimulate new growth. In a few days the European Commission will discuss the new Horizon 2020 initiative, which aims to facilitate research cooperation across national borders. We will have simpler funding mechanisms and less ‘red tape’, and I have no doubt that the TRI will be a good match with Horizon 2020 and inspire the other countries to increase their cooperation, said Dr Vis.