It will be a tight budget for the UiB. So its important that we find room, within the budget framework, to prioritize quality, says Grønmo.
2.6 billion to the UiB is slightly less than in 2011?
We must look more closely at the numbers, but the budget doesnt appear to necessitate big cuts. There is no increase worth mentioning either. It is a budget that makes it possible for us to carry on with our current activities, but it is of course important that quality is given first priority, said Grønmo.
He is glad that the Government has provided the Research Council of Norway with more funding for project support, although the increase is smaller than the universities would have wished for. The Government has allocated 100 million crowns for this. The universities will contribute the same amount, which will give a grand total of 200 million.
No new admissions
The Government has promised that there will be 100 new student places at the UiB in 2012.
These are places that were allocated in an earlier budget and which have been given further funding. Admissions in 2012 will be the same as in 2011. There will be no extra places at the UiB, says Grønmo.
Grønmo is glad that the Government will continue to fund these places, but believes that many more applicants wish there were more places available at UiB.
I have noted that the number will not increase. As far as I know, there will be no extra admissions at other universities either, says Grønmo.
It is good news that 1000 new student accommodations will be made available in 2012.
More housing will be made available for students, and we agree with the student organisations that more accommodation is needed not least here in Bergen. We anticipate that Bergen will receive its fair share of this housing, says Grønmo.
Looking for agreement
UiO Rector, Ole Petter Ottersen hopes that a political agreement will be reached regarding the direction Norwegian research should take, as the Research fund is to be discontinued.
The discontinuation of the Research Fund means that research funding will be vulnerable with regard to political decisions. We need a plan that can replace the long-term perspective that the fund represents, he says.
Deputy Rector Inga Bostad at UiO is disappointed that there will be no increase in result based funding.
This means that everyone will still be fighting for money from the same purse, she says.
Acting Rector Kari Melby of NTNU says the budget is more or less the same as in 2011.
This doesnt represent an improvement for Norway, she admits.
Rector Grønmo agrees.
The economic situation in Norway is better than it is in the rest of Europe and the world in general. The Government would be wise to exploit this advantage by providing more funding for education and research. This is important and could have a significant effect on the country for many decades to come. This can be my personal appeal to the Government with regard to the budget and future economic development, says Sigmund Grønmo.
Ottersen of the University of Oslo is not impressed either.
The politicians need to open their eyes and make the most of the unique opportunity we have been given. Norway must take responsibility and contribute to an increase in global knowledge, now that other countries have put their foot on the brake pedal, he says.