The Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Iceland, the Principality of Liechtenstein and the Kingdom of Norway signed a programme agreement yesterday for granting more than 8 million euros of aid from the financial mechanisms of the European Economic Area (EEA) to implement partnership projects in research and higher education.
The total of the EEA Financial Mechanism Programme, including co-financing from the Estonian government, is 8.35 million euros whereof 7.1 million is foreign aid. The programme ends in 2021.
The Head of Research Department of the Ministry of Education and Research Katrin Pihor noted that Estonian researchers can involve partners from Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein in their research topics. “We intend to open the first call for proposals under the Baltic Research Cooperation Programme this autumn already,” said Pihor. “The new programme benefits institutions of research and higher education, and students, academic staff and researchers. The grants will surely boost the mobility of researchers and academic staff as well as students,” said Pihor.
The grants will be distributed between various measures with most of it - nearly 6 million euros - intended for research partnerships. Partnerships where at least one partner is from Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and at least one from Latvia or Lithuania will be eligible.
Further, higher education institutions can apply for grants to support the learning mobility of their staff, develop curricula and implement higher education partnerships. The amount planned for measures related to higher education is 1.3 million euros.
Also, the programme will support hiring a teacher for Norwegian language and literature at the University of Tartu, and developing a curricula for inclusive education jointly by the University of Tartu and the Tallinn University.
Measures related to higher education will be implemented by the Archimedes Foundation, and measures related to research partnerships by the Estonian Research Council Foundation.
A memorandum of understanding was signed in May 2017 between Estonia, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein to use the EEA financial mechanisms.
The primary purpose of grants is to contribute to reducing economic and social inequalities within the EEA and strengthen bilateral relations between donor and recipient countries in important spheres, including education and research.