Under the auspices of the Norwegian Embassy in Washington D.C., the Norway-U.S. Forum for Research, Innovation and Higher Education was established in December 2001 to promote a stronger Trans-Atlantic relationship in the areas of science and technology (at the time of establishment, the name was Norwegian Research & Technology Forum to the U.S. and Canada. The name was changed in November 2005) . Significant progress has been made over the first four years, both in terms of facilitating inter-institutional co-operation agreements, expanding Trans-Atlantic networks, and more generally, to instigate new and targeted co-operative processes and modes of thinking.
Milestones in Forum activity have been the signing of several inter-institutional agreements, forging Trans-Atlantic co-operation in the areas of medical research, higher education, and marine resource management. The importance of these agreements is not limited to an institutional level, as they also serve the longer-term purpose of displaying possibilities and benefits of co-operation between Norway and the US.
So far, more than 5500 people have participated in the Forum meetings, conferences, symposia, and workshops. The Forum has acted as a facilitator for dialogue, and participants have helped communicate our strategy and extend the Forum network to include new institutions and companies. Independent initiatives have also been initiated, drawing on networks and contacts made through Forum events. On several occasions, processes initiated through Forum auspices have resulted in concrete business and research co-operation. Several participating institutions are also adopting elements of the Forum’s strategy, and plans are made to host follow-up seminars and events to further new relationships to further institutionalize Trans-Atlantic bonds.
The value of increased awareness and interest in enhanced co-operation has also resulted in spillover effects into policy and public diplomacy. For one, Norway and the U.S. signed a bilateral umbrella agreement on science and technology co-operation in December 2005. The Norwegian Government has also incorporated the Forum-activities into a long-term "USA strategy" (click here for Norwegian) to further research and technology co-operation across the Atlantic.