President Eric Kaler will lead a 10-person University of Minnesota delegation to Norway, starting Thursday, in what’s billed as a trip to “strengthen and expand relationships” with four Norwegian universities and other partners.
One purpose of the trip, according to the university, is to discuss ways to expand an ongoing research agreement with the Norwegian government and several universities. The U has been working with the Norwegians on “cutting-edge transatlantic research in renewable energy, environment and sustainability, climate change,” among other fields, according to a news release.
The university did not say how much the weeklong trip will cost.
But it did say that the travel expenses for Kaler, his wife, Karen, and speechwriter Jay Weiner will be covered by funds from the University of Minnesota Foundation, the nonprofit that raises money for the U. Their costs were estimated at $5,500 a person, including airfare and hotel.
The university will pick up the tab for the seven other delegates: three college deans, an associate vice president, one professor, the chief of staff of global programs and Robert Elde, the former dean of biological sciences, who the university says has been instrumental in forging the U’s partnerships in Norway.
Asked why the U needed 10 people on the trip, spokeswoman Julie Christensen said that the delegation includes representatives from the colleges that are most involved in the transatlantic research: veterinary medicine, biological sciences and science and engineering.
She noted that Kaler’s wife holds an official, if unpaid, position as goodwill ambassador for the university, and that her travel expenses are authorized on these types of trips.
This is the second time that Kaler has led a university delegation on an overseas trip since becoming president in 2011, according to the U. The first was a visit to China last summer.
In addition to meeting with university and industry partners, Kaler plans to visit members of Norway’s Parliament and “connect with the U’s Norwegian alumni and current students studying in Norway,” according to the news release.
The group will be in Norway until Aug. 27.