UKRI CEO visit to Norway and Sweden

Norway and Sweden two flags together textile cloth fabric texture

Collaboration and partnership was the focus of Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser’s visit to Sweden and Norway this week.

Between 3 October and 6 October, Professor Leyser, Chief Executive (CEO) of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has been visiting the Nordic region to forge new and strengthen existing partnerships.

This visit explored how the research and innovation systems in each country can leverage their many strengths through collaborative bi and multilateral partnerships.

Solving global challenges

Speaking about her visit, Professor Leyser said:

UKRI is developing international partnerships, enabling us to work together on exciting research and innovation, while contributing to solving global challenges and boosting economic growth.

This week I have been discussing with colleagues in Sweden and Norway how best to share knowledge, ideas and experience between talented researchers and innovators across borders to make the most of the opportunities ahead.


In Stockholm, Professor Leyser met with the Swedish Research Council, the Wallenberg Foundations and a number of universities along with other key stakeholders. She also recorded a podcast with the Swedish Research Council on the role of research in society and research culture.

UKRI collaborations with the funding agencies in Sweden, include the Humanities in the European Research Area partnership where the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) is the lead council. Other areas of mutual collaboration include health and life sciences and aerospace.


The visit to Norway has been marked by the signing of an important memorandum of cooperation (MoC), between UKRI and the Research Council of Norway (RCN).

This ‘Money Follows Cooperation’ agreement simplifies the process of applying for funding for collaborative research and will open funding opportunities which will enable collaboration between partners from both countries.

UK-based researchers can take part in RCN funding opportunities as international co-investigators, and Norway-based researchers can take part in UKRI funding opportunities, launched by:

  • AHRC
  • Economic and Social Research Council
  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
  • Medical Research Council
  • Natural Environment Research Council

Professor Leyser and RCN Chief Executive Professor Mari Sundli Tveit, formalised the MoC on 5 October 2022 at the Science Day event at the British Embassy in Norway. It comes into effect on 3 November 2022. Further details will be published on UKRI’s funding finder, and RCN’s website.

Benefiting from each other’s strengths

Professor Leyser said:

Research communities in the UK and Norway have an impressive track record of research collaboration over many years.

This agreement makes that cooperation easier, enabling collaborations to be funded through a single grant awarded by either UKRI or RCN, rather than the need for separate national grants.

International collaboration is crucial to discovering new science, developing new technologies, and advancing human knowledge.

This agreement with RCN strengthens cross-border cooperation allowing researchers the freedom to benefit from each other’s strengths.

Facilitating funding for collaborative projects

Professor Mari Sundli Tveit said:

The UK is the country Norwegian researchers collaborate with the most, second only to the US. It has therefore been important for us to facilitate funding for collaborative projects.

We are very pleased that this agreement has been put in place and believe it will be an important contribution to a continued strong research collaboration between Norway and the UK.

During her visit to the region, Professor Leyser also met with NordForsk and the Nordic Heads of Research Councils.

Top image:  Credit: Oleksii Liskonih, iStock, Getty Images Plus via Getty Images

This is the website for UKRI: our seven research councils, Research England and Innovate UK. Let us know if you have feedback or would like to help improve our online products and services.