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About the Top-Level Research Initiative

- a major Nordic venture for climate, energy and the environment

The world’s major climate and energy challenges demand new knowledge and innovations. The Nordic countries are particularly well placed to contribute to this, due to their high level of education, political will to act, and abundance of natural resources. The Nordic region is already a world leader in several types of renewable energy, and these competencies must be further strengthened.


In the autumn of 2008, the Nordic countries joined forces on the largest joint Nordic research and innovation initiative to date. The Top-level Research Initiative will involve various Nordic organisations and national institutions, with a budget of DKK 400 million over five years.


In addition to being a Nordic contribution towards solving the global climate crisis, the initiative will promote research and innovation within the region. It will focus on fields of climate and energy research of common interest to the Nordic countries, and where the region can contribute with international solutions.


The Top-level Research Initiative is supported by national institutions and agencies, in particular those financing research and innovation. The initiative will promote research and innovation of the highest level, involving the very best agencies and institutions, and employing processes of the highest quality within the initiative. Great importance is attached to a close partnership with business and industry to ensure application and utilisation of research results. The initiative has high ambitions to spread knowledge of the opportunities it provides through extensive network-building and communication with relevant partners.


The Top-level Research Initiative will last for five years, and the first calls for proposals opened in 2009.


The Nordic Prime Ministers stated in the Riksgränsen Declaration (2008):

The Nordic Region is in a strong position to pioneer work on combating climate change. We will therefore intensify Nordic cooperation and promote initiatives striving to ensure that a new international climate agreement is reached in 2009. A sustainable Nordic model for meeting climate challenges will demonstrate the potential for combining reduced emissions with economic growth.


Top-level Research Initiative Programmes:

The initiative consists of the following six sub-programmes:



Within the framework of these six themes, the initiative will also include:

  • Advanced climate modelling
  • Social sciences and humanities
  • A focus on the Arctic area