The India-Norway Joint Working Group on S&T at its meeting on Wednesday decided to extend S&T co-operation between the two countries to include areas like quantum science and technology, electric mobility, green hydrogen, ocean science, cyber-physical system, blue economy, information and communication technology and strengthening existing areas of co-operation like polar sciences, bio-economy, renewable energy, nano-science and technology and anti-microbial resistance.
The meeting decided on furthering activities like bilateral workshops, support for on-going joint research projects, new joint R&D project call with industry participation, human capacity development, focusing on areas which has more relevance or impact to society as well as industrial R&D programmes
“The co-operation will help in enhancing quality and relevance of R&D, technology translation, taking it to market, connecting industry, startups, MSMEs to R&D labs and academia, societal connect, science for people, diversity and inclusion (Youth, Women, Rural, SC/ST), aligning S&T with national priorities, water, energy, environment, transport, health, manufacturing, waste processing and so on,” said S K Varshney, advisor and head, International Cooperation, Department of Science and Technology (DST), who led the delegation from the Indian side.
Anne Line Wold, director general, ministry of education and research, who headed the delegation from Norwegian side, underlined that India is among the 9 priority countries outside Europe in S&T co-operation for Norway and emphasised on strengthening co-operation on priority areas like ocean, health, energy, climate and security.
Hans Jacob Frydenlund, Ambassador of Norway to India, highlighted the successful areas of S&T co-operation between the two countries and expressed the hope that the meeting would help expand co-operation to areas of increasing relevance like green hydrogen, anti-microbial resistance, renewable energy and so on.
Representatives from the scientific and education ministries as well as the ministry of external affairs of India and their counterparts from Norway discussed in details the thematic areas in which co-operation can be taken forward and the mechanisms to do so.
The Indo-Norwegian S&T Cooperation was formalised through an inter-governmental agreement signed in Tromso, Norway in 2006 and was activated through a Programme of Cooperation (POC) signed in Oslo in May 2009. A Joint Working Group constituted under the framework of Inter-Governmental agreement met for 6 times so far, alternately in India and Norway.
The activities so far included support for joint workshops on ICT and Bio-economy during 2016-2017, joint projects under ICT and projects under bio-economy. A joint call on renewable energy was launched in 2017-2018. Joint projects on energy storage, microgrids and solar cell applications were supported. During 2018-2019 a joint call on Nanoscience and Technology was launched and 7 joint projects were supported.