EEA collaboration – Opportunities in health
Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway contribute through the EEA Grants and Norway Grants to reducing economic and social inequalities in the European Economic Area. In addition, the grants aim to strengthen bilateral relations with 15 countries in Central and Southern Europe.
All countries have different needs and priorities. Each country has agreed on a set of programmes with the donor countries based on needs, priorities and the scope for bilateral cooperation.
(Blue Book, http://eeagrants.org/What-we-do)
The last three years the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has been Donor Program Partner (DPP) for Estonia, Hungary, Portugal, Slovenia and The Czech Republic in the Public Health Initiatives Programme under the EEA and Norway Grants.
As DPP, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health conducted an online questionnaire in January 2016 to gain insight into how the Norwegian project partners experienced their collaborations through the EEA and Norway Grants. The results illustrate that there are significant gains from participating in partnerships through the EEA and Norway Grants, and that there is an enthusiasm reflected in the responses regarding the benefits from working with the EEA Public Health Initiatives Programme.
Among the benefits of partnerships under the EEA and Norway Grants are mutual learning experiences in different health systems, advantages from scientific collaboration and exchanges, and not least the increased visibility the relevant institutes in the recipient countries acquire. One of the main messages from the survey is the added benefits from a broad international network illustrated by 85 % of the respondents highlighting this particular value. These networks often spill over to new collaborations and applications under for example the EU Research and Innovation Programme Horizon 2020. The three main success factors according to the respondents of the survey are: mutual understanding of a specific problem to solve (4,5 on a scale of 1 to 5), trust (4,3) and enthusiasm (4,0). Most importantly, there was an unanimous recommendation to enter into a partnership under the EEA and Norway Grants despite some of the challenges which include delayed start, administrative and financial issues.