Last autumn Norwegian universities and university colleges enrolled around 200 students from the Brazilian scholarship programme Science without Borders (SwB). Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has funded scholarships for 100 of them and also made 40 internships available.
Oil and gas companies operating on the Brazilian continental shelf are required to invest one per cent of the profit from their Brazilian operations in Brazilian research and education. Funding scholarships for SwB students is one way of doing this.
This is a win-win situation both for Norway and for Brazil, according to Henriette Undrum, Statoil’s Vice President for Frontier Development.
“For us it represents a long-term recruitment strategy. Brazil is a country in which we will be doing business for many years to come, and we are looking to attract talented technologists and engineers with the relevant cultural knowledge.”
SwB provides funding for Brazilian students in so-called STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Statoil gave priority to candidates studying petroleum-related subjects when selecting the 100 scholarship recipients. The 100 chosen students will also be able to apply for 40 internships offered by Statoil in the summer of 2015. The internships will be created in various departments at Statoil's research centres in Bergen, Oslo and Trondheim.
Other enterprises encouraged to follow suit
The Director General of SIU, Alf Rasmussen, says the Statoil initiative is a good and welcome example of business and higher education working closely together.
“Offering Brazilian students work experience during their studies in Norway helps make their education more attractive and relevant. Combining work experience with studies abroad is something we’d like to see more of in Norway, too,” he says.
Rasmussen encourages other Norwegian companies to follow Statoil's example and to acknowledge the value of offering internships to international students in Norway.
Education partnership with Brazil
- Brazil is a priority country for Norway’s international engagement. The country is home to some of the best universities in Latin America and is now investing heavily in international cooperation in higher education.
- With a Science without Borders scholarship, Brazilian students (including postdoctoral researchers) are able to apply for enrolment at Norwegian institutions. In 2013/14, 65 Brazilian students were admitted to Norwegian universities. In 2014/15, the figure was 197.
- Statoil’s funding is not paid directly to the students but to a federal Brazilian agency named CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior). The close to 200 Brazilians studying in Norway this year will therefore receive the same amount of funding, even though only half are financed by Statoil.
- SIU is the national agency for Science without Borders in Norway.