On Tuesday, August 27, an agreement has been signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Latvia on the implementation of the European Economic Area and Norway Grants programme "Research and Education".

By spring 2024, the programme "Research and Education" (furthermore – programme) will enhance research-based knowledge development, strengthen regional cooperation in research between three Baltic countries and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, provide an exchange of knowledge and experience between Latvian and Norwegian higher education students and staff and promote knowledge and career development in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for pupils, students and teachers.

The program will support three areas - the Baltic Research Program, scholarships for students, academic and administrative staff of higher education institutions and the creation of innovation centres in Cesis, Daugavpils, Liepaja and Ventspils.

In the framework of the Baltic Research Program, research organizations from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein will participate in open calls for proposals in Latvia and Lithuania in 2019 and 2020 respectively (open calls for proposals in Estonia has been launched already in 2018) in order to address the major challenges of our region through joint research projects.

In the framework of an open call for proposals in 2020, higher education institutions of Latvia in cooperation with Norwegian, Liechtenstein and Icelandic universities will apply for scholarships for their students, academic and administrative staff in order to improve their competencies.

In the framework of predefined projects, municipalities in Cesis, Daugavpils, Liepaja and Ventspils, in cooperation with Norwegian science centres and higher education institutions in Latvia, will create innovation centres in order to promote STEM knowledge and career development by developing new extra-curricular education and training programs for pupils, students and teachers. Each of the regional innovation centres will have their own specialization – space, environmental science, natural sciences, information communication technology, entrepreneurial side of STEM and will be accessible to all pupils, students and teachers in Latvia.

The total allocation for the program is 17 million euros, of which Latvia has co-financed 2.5 million euros. In addition, 150 thousand euros have been granted to the program for bilateral cooperation activities, which will include the exchange of experience and strengthening of bilateral relations between Latvia, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

The Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Agency for International Cooperation and Quality Enhancement in Higher Education and the National Agency for International Education Affairs of Liechtenstein are donor states partners of the programme.