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Norway's input to the future of European education and research

What impact will the digital revolution have on the future of education, research and innovation? This was the topic discussed at Norway Day 2017 in Brussels on June 21.

The Norwegian Contact Office for Research, Innovation and Education (NorCore) in collaboration with the Norwegian Mission to the EU, hosted the annual Norway Day at Norway House in Brussels on June 21. The event gathered more than a hundred participants from the research and innovation community in Brussels, including the EU and European companies and organizations.

The digital development will shape education, research and innovation – as well as the next generation of EU programs, including preliminary positions on FP9 and the successor of Erasmus+.

The State Secretary from the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research, Mr. Bjørn Haugstad, presented Norway’s perspectives on the future programs. Norway has participated in EU’s framework programs for education, research and innovation for 25 years.

Reports show that 44 percent of the adult population in Europe does not have basic digital skills.

- The rapid technological development means that we need students and employees who can think creatively and critically. Universities and research institutions must play a leading role in shaping tomorrow's workforce, the State Secretary said.

Mr. Haugstad also stressed the importance of strengthening mobility in the future framework program for education.

- Erasmus+ has been an important tool for mobility in Europe. We will support the continuation of the program after 2020, but Norway wants participation to become easier, and that students in high school get the opportunity to move abroad. Mobility is important for internationalization, and we believe that this measure will result in both increased student mobility in higher education in addition to improved language skills, Haugstad said.

Norway's inputs well received

The proposal for the next framework program for research and innovation is expected to be presented by the European Commission in the spring of 2018. Norway is one of the first European countries to submit its inputs on the framework program. The European Commission commended Norway’s for its early involvement.

- I want to thank Norway for their thoughts and their prompt response, said Sophia Eriksson Waterschoot, Director of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture (DG EAC).

By delivering its inputs at an early stage, State Secretary Haugstad believes Norway is increasing its opportunities to influence the EU's research, education and innovation strategies.

- The green shift, digitalization and blue growth are some of the Norwegian priorities in our first inputs to the future EU framework program for research and innovation. We will elaborate on these priorities in our next position paper, Haugstad said.

Google: - Norway has many possibilities

Directors from the NorCore partner institutions, John-Arne Røttingen (Research Council), Anita Krohn Traaseth (Innovation Norway) and Gro Tjore (Center for Internationalization of Education), participated in a panel discussion on how digitalization will shape future programs for research, innovation and education in Europe.

Director Lie Junius of the EU Public Policy and Government Relations in Google there after opened a discussion on technological opportunities and trends. She stated that the number of people connected to technological tools worldwide will increase dramatically over the coming years. Junius underscored the private sector’s joint responsibility for developing digital skills among the general population.

Junius applauded Norway for being an innovative country, but stressed that Norway to a greater extend must use its position to influence decision makers in Brussels.

  • View all photos from the event here

Representatives from Kongsberg Digital, University of Bergen, University of Oslo as well as the European Commission participated in a discussion on how technological trends such as the development of artificial intelligence could affect the future's labor market.

- There is nothing new about jobs disappearing, but the labor market is changing more rapidly than ever before. We need a new strategy on how to develop the skills and knowledge of each individual in accordance with the rapid technological shift, Rector of the University of Bergen Dag Rune Olsen said.