Cooperative Research Endeavors across the Baltics: Evaluation of the Baltic Research Programme

23 November 2023/Evaluation

In an era marked by global challenges, the assessment and analysis of collaborative initiatives has become instrumental in understanding their impact and alignment. The Baltic Research Programme (BRP), operating under the umbrella of the 2014-2021 EEA and Norway Grants, stands as a testament to cooperative research endeavors across Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, strategically poised to address shared societal and research challenges.

Strengthening bilateral collaboration through the BRP

The EEA and Norway Grants stand as a testament to international collaboration and solidarity, jointly funded by countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway. These grants do not merely represent financial aid; they embody a collective aspiration to diminish economic and social disparities among 15 Beneficiary countries. Delving deeper than mere financial provisions, these grants are anchored on the foundational principles of upholding human rights, dignified living standards, and unwavering adherence to the rule of law.

Spanning across diverse sectors, these grants serve as catalysts for progress, nurturing growth, innovation, and sustainable development. Within the expansive domain of Innovation, Research, Education, and Competitiveness, the Baltic Research Programme emerges as a beacon of intellectual pursuit and collaborative synergy. It champions the development of research-based knowledge, laying significant emphasis on fostering bilateral cooperation between donor and beneficiary nations.

Implementation and evaluation approach of the BRP

With a budgetary framework of EUR 25 million, the BRP conducted three calls between 2018 and 2024. Its focal points included addressing common challenges such as limited investments in research, inadequate returns on RDI investments, and a lack of collaboration between academia and the business sector.

The administration of the BRP is entrusted to Programme Operators and Implementing Agencies across the three Baltic states. Its decision-making body, the Programme Committee, oversees proposal calls, sets requisites, and steers the implementation process.

Each Baltic country tailored its BRP focus, selecting research topics aligned with regional challenges. Estonia underscored public health, cyber security, and resource efficiency. Latvia emphasized public health, cyber security, and regional economic development, while Lithuania pivoted towards technology, health, culture, and economic challenges.

The commencement of the evaluation process entailed an in-depth comprehension of the BRP’s objectives and contextual setting. Methodologically, the evaluation aimed to address two fundamental questions: effectiveness and coherence. Employing tools such as interviews, surveys, and extensive desk research, the assessment sought to delve into achieved results, stakeholder perceptions, and the inherent value derived from multilateral collaboration.

Our role in evaluating the Programme

Visionary Analytics played a pivotal role in the comprehensive evaluation of the BRP under the 2014-2021 EEA and Norway Grants. Partnering with Blomeyer & Sanz, we brought expertise in evaluation methodologies, offering a diverse range of services crucial for the evaluation process. Our responsibilities included data collection through desk reviews, interviews, surveys, and stakeholder network analysis. This dynamic collaboration amplified the depth and scope of the evaluation, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the BRP’s fundamentals – effectiveness and coherence.

Unveiling insights into the BRP’s impact

The evaluation matrix laid out specific indicators and sources to measure the BRP’s effectiveness. It meticulously scrutinized progress towards outcomes such as enhanced international research performance and the dissemination of research knowledge. Stakeholder perceptions regarding research collaboration, relevance, and alignment with scientific priorities emerged as crucial benchmarks in evaluating the BRP’s impact.

Additionally, comprehending the added value of multilateral collaboration underscored the programme’s significance. Analyzing the participants’ perspectives regarding the contribution of Baltic and Donor country cooperation to scientific advancements and increased collaborations across regions offered indispensable insights.


The evaluation of the Baltic Research Programme under the EEA and Norway Grants serves as a beacon illuminating its pivotal role in addressing common challenges, fostering knowledge exchange, and fortifying research collaboration. The assessment of effectiveness and coherence provides a nuanced understanding of its impact, charting pathways for sustained success and alignment with regional priorities.

As the evaluation unfolds, it heralds an opportunity to refine strategies, leverage strengths, and ensure the perpetual impact of collaborative research initiatives across the Baltic region. This intricate evaluation journey not only illuminates achievements but also propels towards continued enhancement, ensuring the enduring relevance and efficacy of cooperative research endeavors.

Photo credits: Shutterstock

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