In 2010, 2011 and 2013 the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) published an ideas competition to set up and expand innovative R&D networks with partners in the Baltic Sea countries. The aim of this funding measure was to tap into innovation potentials through international cooperation and to boost the international competitive edge of German companies and research institutions in the Baltic Sea region. It also aimed at encouraging cooperation with Norwegian partners. On average, Norwegian institutions were involved in one out of every three projects.
The BMBF has commissioned the DLR Project Management Agency's International Bureau with processing these and other funding measures.
Although Norway's research expenditure is less than 1.7% of its GDP, well below the OECD and EU average, Norway is one of the richest countries in the world. This "Norwegian paradox" is essentially due to two factors: Norway's position as a country that exports raw materials and the low dependence on R&D of a number of its important economic sectors, such as services/tourism and fishing. The Norwegian government is currently focusing on restructuring the previously only moderately knowledge-intensive Norwegian economy by extensively including private businesses in research funding and more strongly internationalising Norwegian research.
When German President Joachim Gauck visited Norway in June 2014, a revised German-Norwegian strategy was also presented. Energy, climate and environment were highlighted as important areas for cooperation. As well as expanding and deepening technical expertise and strong personal relationships among school pupils, trainees, students, teachers and researchers, the strategy also aims to strengthen cooperation in innovation and technology.
German-Norwegian cooperation in research and development is largely taking place within a multilateral framework. This applies to the projects within the technical programmes run by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), as well as to those being carried out as part of the EU's Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Horizon 2020. The projects' key areas of focus are information and communication technologies and environmental research and technology.