International Cooperation

Cooperation with other institutes
International cooperation will be funda­mental for bringing Norwegian AI research to the forefront and making NORA partners’ research internationally visible. The key to success for Norwegian research lies in strategic collaboration with like-minded partners both in the Nordic countries, and active participation in the Horizon Europe framework, both of which NORA plays an important role in.

One example of such cooperation is the conference Nordic AI Meet. With the sup­ port of the Research Council of Norway, NORA organised the first Nordic AI Meet in 2021 and will organise this conference annually until 2025. The conference pre­ sents an excellent opportunity for NORA to bring together the top Nordic partners in the field of AI. NORA achieved great suc­cess in the first conference by establishing programmes and organising committees for the Nordic AI Meet which integrated the top players from the region, such as:

  • WASP, Sweden
  • AI Sweden
  • RI.se
  • Pioneer Center, Denmark
  • Science AI Center, Denmark
  • Finnish Center on Artificial Intelligence
  • Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines
The active participation of committee mem­bers from these clusters and networks en­ ables a strong Nordic collaboration and creates many opportunities for Norwegian research efforts to be integrated and visible at the regional level. Nordic AI Meet enables a platform for young researchers from the Nordic region to exchange notes and also presents an opportunity for research lead­ ers to interact and inspire the community collectively.

Similarly, NORA also is responsible for running the CLAIRE office for the Nordic countries and UK, which again strength­ens the pan­-European link with a strong regional focus. The NORA secretariat interacts with other CLAIRE offices on a weekly basis to explore synergies and exchange notes on ongoing programmes and activities.

NORA organises the Nordic AI meet conference
NORA signed two agreements with HIDA
NORA helps host CLAIRE events in Norway

Helmholtz Information & Data Science Academy: HIDA
HIDA – the Helmholtz Information & Data Science Academy – is Germany’s largest postgraduate training network in the field of information and data science.

HIDA is a hub for the exchange of know­ ledge and methods in the field of infor­mation & data science at the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest research organisation. It serves as an umbrella organisation for six newly founded Helm­holtz Information & Data Science Research Schools. They are linked by a network of 14 national research centres and 17 top­-tier universities across Germany. Over the next five years, these data science research schools will train over 280 fully funded doctoral researchers.
NORA signed two agreements with HIDA in 2021. One agreement is called ‘Friends of HIDA’ which is to cross­-pro­mote opportunities of mutual interest in each other’s network. The other is to pilot an exchange of young researchers (PhD students) in 2022 on the basis of prob­lem statements floated by experts from both sides. If the exchange programme in 2022 is found beneficial by participating researchers, then the agreement may be planned for a future period.

The Alan Turing Institute
The Alan Turing Institute, headquartered at the British Library, London, was created as the national institute for data science in 2015. In 2017, because of a government recommendation, AI was also added to the scope. The institute is named in honour of Alan Turing, whose pioneering work in theoretical and applied mathematics, engineering and computing which are considered to be the key disciplines com­prising the fields of data science and AI.

Five founding universities – Cambridge, Edinburgh, Oxford, UCL and Warwick – and the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council founded the Alan Turing Institute in 2015. Eight new universities – Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Queen Mary University of London, Birmingham, Exeter, Bristol, and Southampton – joined the institute in 2018. Since its inception, the institute has been funded through grants from research councils, university partners and from strategic and other partnerships.

NORA has been in active discussions with the Alan Turing Institute, mainly regarding the international cooperation division to connect researchers from both sides on topics of mutual interest. The topics explored in 2021 for research collab­oration are related to AI in dementia pre­diction and synthetic data in healthcare.
NORA also involved the experts from Alan Turing in CLAIRE Oslo office launch and other NORA programmes in 2021 where we explored synergies and collaboration.

NORA has also reached a cooperation agreement with the Alan Turing Institute under the NORA Research School. Two Norwegian PhD students will be hosted every year at the Alan Turing Institute under the enrichment programme from 2022. NORA had also planned an official signing and exchange of MoUs with the Alan Turing Institute in London in Dec 2021, which unfortunately had to be post­poned due to rising COVID cases. The cooperation is formally supported by the British Embassy in Oslo. NORA is grateful to the staff of the British Embassy for their support of this important collaboration.

NORA started collaborating with the Confederation of Laboratories for AI Research in Europe (CLAIRE) in 2019. To support CLAIRE’s efforts in Norway and Europe, NORA dedicates resources towards hosting activities and events in Norway both independently and in col­laboration with the other CLAIRE offices. As the largest network for AI research, CLAIRE represents an important plat­ form for cross­border collaboration and promotes Norwegian research in Europe.
NORA actively contributes towards plan­ning and executing CLAIRE events in Nor­way and is also a member of the CLAIRE Innovation Taskforce. The Innovation Taskforce leads the CLAIRE Innovation Network which aims to strengthen the relationship between researchers, industry and startups.

CLAIRE and NORA Innovation Network Collaboration
In 2021, CLAIRE and NORA entered into a collaboration agreement regarding their respective innovation networks. When Norwegian companies become a principal partner in the NORA Industry Network, they immediately get dual membership in the CLAIRE Innovation Network. The CLAIRE Innovation Network was launched in 2021 and consists of companies, legal entities and groups within large com­panies that develop or use AI in their products/services.
CLAIRE NORA Office Launch - Openning Ceremeny
Representing the CLAIRE office in Norway and the Nordic countries, the NORA office has dedicated resources towards the innovation and research network in CLAIRE. On the 3rd of June 2021, NORA and CLAIRE officially launched the CLAIRE Oslo Office. The Confed­eration of Laboratories for Artificial Intelligence Research in Europe (CLAIRE) opened four new offices in Zurich, Oslo, Paris, and Brussels. The new offices will complement the 4 existing offices in The Hague, Saarbrucken, Rome, and Prague. The CLAIRE Oslo Office was the second stop on the CLAIRE Roadshow, and the theme was The Nordic Model ­ Connecting Young Talent.

National actors representing NORA and Norwegian Open AI Lab joined the event in addition to CLAIRE representatives and representatives from the Alan Tu­ring Institute.
The launch ended with a virtual networking event in Gathertown, where the actors invited had open booths which participants could visit virtually for a chat. The launch included a digital post event with 24 booths, ranging from Telenor, Graphcore, Smart Innovation Norway, Uni­versity of Stavanger, University of Oslo, dScience, NORA.startup, European Startup Network, Oslo AI, Iris.ai, SINTEF, Norwegian Ar­tificial Intelligence Network for Europe, Norwegian Cognitive Center, NORCE, Norway Health Tech, SFI Visual Intelligence, to mention a few.

Nikolai Astrup, the former Minister of Local Government and Modern­isation recorded a video statement of support in honour of the launch of the CLAIRE Oslo Office:

“It’s my humble opinion that cooperation, co­creation, and collaboration, is of the utmost importance for future innovation, and also absolutely essential for a sustainable future. As the ministry responsible for coordinating the government’s efforts to reach the UN sustainable development goals in Norway, I’m glad to see we’ve put our best efforts into developing techno­ logy that will be fundamental in solving our future challenges”.

Nikolai Astrup