Stakeholder conference helps map the way forward for NER
On October 25 Nordic Energy Research hosted a invitation-only seminar with key stakeholders from the Nordic energy sector, including representatives from research institutes, government departments and energy providers. The seminar, "New…
On October 25 Nordic Energy Research hosted a invitation-only seminar with key stakeholders from the Nordic energy sector, including representatives from research institutes, government departments and energy providers. The seminar, “New Nordic Energy Research – Adding Value to National Programs,” was designed to initiate a discussion on the added value and benefits of increased Nordic cooperation in energy research.
Stakeholders were invited to discuss and assess ideas for new joint Nordic research initiatives within Nordic stronghold areas, and to help define an appropriate process for further in-depth assessment that can be translated into proposals for joint Nordic research initiatives. The backdrop to this discussion was the report by Jorma Ollila on stronger Nordic co-operation (the so called “Ollila report”) and the fact that the Nordic energy ministers at their meeting in Lund on 22 May 2018 mandated Nordic Energy Research to propose roadmaps for:
- creating a 67 MEUR Nordic research and demonstration program promoting Nordic positions of strength,
- using Mission Innovation to create and reinforce Nordic positions of strength, and
- setting up a Nordic PhD program within energy.
At the seminar in Stockholm, initial ideas were also presented and reviewed for a possible 67 MEUR research and demonstration program based on Nordic preparatory meetings, the recommendations in the Ollila report and the new Nordic Energy Research strategy.
One of the outcomes from the seminar was a list of 3 guiding principles for prioritizing new Nordic energy research initiatives:
- Adding Nordic value
- Thematic areas of collaborative interest
Nordic research funding can add Nordic value by making the funding administratively efficient, creating critical mass of researchers, creating research leverage from similarities in regulations such as in safety and security, and by utilizing the availability of data in the Nordics needed for the research.
Financeability can be secured when national research funding is used for joint Nordic research in thematic areas of collaborative interest. The funding experiences of NordForsk are that Nordic support is attractive where common pot, virtual common pot or other financing designs have been applied. Financing models should be selected with flexibility and consensus among funding institutions in focus.
A general recommendation is that Nordic Energy Research should focus on catalyzing Nordic collaboration by providing thematic conferences and arrange funding to exchange of researchers, summer schools etc. This in the collaborative thematic areas identified.
Thematic conferences can be used to detail out research areas of common interest. However, there is also a need for scientific Nordic conferences where peer reviewed articles are presented and discussed.
Several thematic identified as having potential for future Nordic research collaboration:
- Flexible, reliable and integrated electricity grids/Nordic power system
- Digitization and automation
- Market design including integration of electricity and heat markets
- Large scale storage including electrofuels
- Clean (maritime) transport
- Carbon Capture and Storage
- Materials acceleration program
- Biomass and biofuels
- Offshore wind technologies such as more cost efficient floating and seabed foundations
The role of Nordic Energy Research should be to catalyze Nordic collaboration and facilitate in developing research programs and projects
Based on the recommendations from the conference and subsequent meetings in the Nordic countries, the following actions have been identified for the way forward.
Nordic Energy Research should:
- Arrange thematic conferences with participants from the whole value chain to detail out possible joint Nordic initiatives. This will be done based on the thematic areas identified.
- Facilitate the process of creating new Nordic research programs that may attract national funding for NordForsk Open Calls.
- Arrange and fund scientific conferences where researchers from the Nordic countries meet and present peer reviewed articles. This will benefit mutual exchange of knowledge in the Nordics and will stimulate Nordic research collaboration.
- Fund scientific researcher summer schools on specific research topics – preferably from the identified preferred areas of interest.
- Fund Nordic researcher exchanges – both for Ph.D. students and senior researchers.