Funding to Promote Innovation and International Cooperation
The Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU) offers funding schemes for Norwegian companies that seek international cooperation.
High-quality training for employees, better understanding of the foreign market, increased rationalisation and innovation are some of the benefits to be reaped by Norwegian businesses that engage in international cooperation between the education sector and business and industry, according to the businesses themselves.
Collaboration of this kind can also contribute to smoother reorganisation processes. The company will gain access to international expertise and can learn from communities in countries that excel in the areas of interest. These are some important aspects of the cooperation project EuroLEAN+.
The downturn in the petroleum sector makes it increasingly important to reduce waste and unnecessary costs. The goal is to achieve a much more efficient flow of materials in the whole production line, according to Daryl Powell, Lean Programme Manager in Kongsberg Maritime Subsea.
Kongsberg Maritime Subsea is one of the industry partners in EuroLEAN+. This is a strategic partnership funded by the European partner programme Erasmus+. The partnership is coordinated by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and includes partners in Norway, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, from both academia and business and industry.
– We would like to see the educational institutions developing research-based education in customised lean and courses that we can use to raise the competence of our employees. At the same time it will give the students the competence we need, says Powell.
You can read more about EuroLEAN+ at SIU’s webpage (in Norwegian).
SIU’s new survey carried out among the innovation clusters shows that international cooperation on education and competence development is of great importance.
The various clusters give many different reasons for their engagement. Some of the most important are:
- strengthened competitiveness, also internationally
- companies can help developing study programmes that match their own competence requirements
- better recruitment opportunities, both at home and at offices abroad
- access to new markets
- raised competence on society, languages and cultures in the partner countries
- paving the way for future research collaborations between businesses and academics
According to the clusters, USA and Germany are by far the most important partner countries, followed by Japan, Singapore, Brazil, Sweden, France and the UK.
SIU administers several funding schemes for cooperation between the education sector and business and industry aimed at these countries.
Through Erasmus+, businesses can both lead and be partners in European projects. It is possible, among other things, to develop courses for employees together with the professional communities. If your business wishes to cooperate with other Nordic countries and the Baltic states, there is a separate scheme for this.
If your company is interested in cooperation with excellent professional communities outside Europe, SIU has funding schemes in place for cooperation with Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, the USA and Japan. If you are interested in Canadian expert communities, the company can get highly competent Master’s and PhD students to contribute to R&D projects.
If the business is active in developing countries, you can receive funding to develop educational programmes that will provide relevant skills. SIU’s new scheme ‘Building skills for jobs’ offers such a possibility within vocational education and training.
This is just a small selection of the opportunities available. To learn more, contact SIU.
– As much as 90 per cent of what we harvest and produce goes to foreign markets. We must constantly develop our understanding of how the foreign market works and for that, we need international cooperation, says Tanja Hoel, General Manager of The Seafood Innovation Cluster.
Hoel believes that it is essential to build competence, language understanding and cultural knowledge about other countries.
– International cooperation in education is one of the most important things we do. It is a precondition for the growth and development of the seafood industry. If we are to trigger greater innovation, we need educational cooperation across national borders, says Hoel.
In SIU’s survey, the innovation clusters were also asked to state any obstacles to international cooperation in education, business and industry. There were two obstacles that stood out:
- limited flexibility and/or interest among the educational institutions
- limited funding
Most of SIU’s schemes have geographical limitations and stipulate certain requirements to the composition of partners. The applications should be specific and convincing with regards to how the project activities, such as training or innovation development, will lead to the desired results. Writing a good and relevant application and establishing a partnership can take time.
Funding: The budget framework varies from 300,000 Norwegian Kroner for smaller projects to 9 million Norwegian Kroner for the more extensive projects under Erasmus+. Large and advanced sector alliances can be granted up to 36.8 million Norwegian Kroner per project.
In general, the schemes are flexible regarding fields, topics and approaches. SIU is available to answer questions and provide guidance. For some of the large European schemes, it is also possible to apply for funding to develop project applications (in Norwegian).
See also: Eliteprosjekt styrker entreprenørskap og innovasjon (Elite project strengthens entrepreneurship and innovation).