The Russian Foundation for Humanities (RFH) and the Research Council of Norway recently signed a cooperation agreement that encompasses research in the social sciences as well as the humanities.
In addition to promoting cooperation between Norwegian and Russian researchers in these two areas the agreement will facilitate the mutual exchange of scientific material and literature. Joint calls for proposals with funding from both countries will be an important measure in order to reach the objectives of the agreement.
The agreement was signed by Director of the RFH, Vladimir Nikolayevich Fridlyanov, and Director General of the Research Council, Arvid Hallén.
Mr Hallén emphasised that Russia is a priority partner country for Norway and that the new agreement will provide both countries with a stronger basis for further developing their cooperation. Russia ranks from fifth to eighth on the list of Norway’s top partners for research cooperation, depending on which indicators are used.
Mr Fridlyanov identified several areas of interest for cooperation, including research on the literary works of Henrik Ibsen and topics relating to the Norwegian polar explorers Roald Amundsen and Fridtjof Nansen. “These men are our heroes, too,” he said, and pointed out that the two countries have longstanding shared traditions. Mr Fridlyanov also believes that there is great potential for cooperation within disciplines such as archaeology and history.
During the signing, Executive Director of the Research Council’s Division for Society and Health, Jesper Simonsen, pointed out that a modernisation of Russo-Norwegian cooperation has taken place in recent years. The new agreement is based on the intention of these two “good neighbours” to engage in mutually beneficial cooperation.
The RFH is one of four foundations in Russia that provide public research funding. The current annual budget of the organisation is RUB 1.5 billion.
The Research Council has signed an agreement with the Russian Foundation for Basic Research as well. Russia is also home to the Russian Foundation for Technological Development and the Foundation for Assistance to Small Innovative Enterprises.
In his final annual address to the State Duma as prime minister in 2011, Vladimir Putin stated that allocations to the foundations would be increased substantially. He singled out the two foundations with which the Research Council cooperates in particular, and promised an escalation in allocations to reach an overall annual budget of RUB 25 billion in 2018. For the RHF this could mean a nearly three-fold increase in its budget.