Real GDP growth increased in Norway over the last three years, from 0.5% in 2010 to 2.9% in 2012 (as compared to -0.4 in the EU27 in 2012). Norway is a small open economy.
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It has a population of 5.077.789 (October 2013), or about one per cent of the EU-27 population. Norway participates in the European Union’s single market via the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement. Norway has the second highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Europe, with the high GDP partly explaining the low R&D level intensity. Its GDP per capita in 2012 was € 49900 (as against € 25500 in the EU). Real GDP growth increased in Norway during the last three years, from a low 0.5 in 2010 to 3.1 in 2012 (as against -0.4 for EU27 in 2012). The objective of the Norwegian authorities is that by 2030, total R&D expenditure will have reached 3% of GDP. The aim is also to increase government spending on R&D to 1% of GDP, but without any specific timeframe.
Norway is part of the Innovation Union Scoreboard group of “moderate innovators”, with a level of innovation performance and average annual growth in innovation that is below the EU-27 average. In an international perspective, Norway’s main strengths are its human resources, with a very high degree of full time researchers in the labour force and a strong dynamic of new doctoral graduates. Norway is among the OECD countries with the highest educational level in the population and the number of employees with higher education qualifications in both the private and the public sector is increasing considerably.
Research and Innovation System
The Norwegian research and innovation system is characterised by a multitude of actors at the political and performing level, while at the strategic level there are fewer actors and more overall coordination. At the political level, the responsibility for research is organised according to the “sector principle”. Several ministries allocate sizable resources to research that are related to the sectors under their respective responsibilities. However, the Ministry of Education and Research is the largest source of government research funds and is responsible for the inter-ministerial coordination of the national research policy and the government’s overall research funding. At the strategic level, i.e. below the ministerial level, three agencies, the Research Council of Norway (RCN), Innovation Norway and the Industrial Development Corporation of Norway (SIVA), are the main institutions for implementing the research and innovation policies of the government. The performance of RDI in Norway is divided between the Industrial, the Higher Education and the Institute sectors. The Norwegian research and innovation system is characterised by a multitude of actors at the political and performing level, while at the strategic level there are fewer actors and more overall coordination.
Norway’s multiannual R&D strategies are defined in periodical (every four years) white papers or so-called Reports to the Norwegian Parliament (Stortinget). Public funding for R&D is provided within the framework of an annual budget. In the latest white paper on research, published in 2013 (Long-term perspectives – knowledge provides opportunity), the government stresses the importance of ensuring and increasing the long-range perspective, predictability and transparency with regard to national investments in R&D and higher education. The aim is therefore to launch an effort to develop a long-term national plan, setting out political priorities for research and higher education in a 10-year perspective. It is anticipated that the first long-term national plan will be presented in 2014. The government also pledges in the white paper to increase allocations to research in the coming years in order to realise the strategic objectives of Norwegian research policy and to encourage industry to increase its R&D investments.