In 2006, the Norwegian government gave the University of Minnesota (UM) a $750,000 grant to help create an endowed chair (NOCC) in the fields of bioenergy, genomics and food safety. The Norwegian gift was matched by UM, and a $1,500,000 fund was established to be administered by the UM Foundation. The revenue from the fund may be used for any purpose which supports the research, teaching and service activity of the chair. The purpose of the initial bilateral cooperation was to form transatlantic research teams at UM and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB, now NMBU). The program has since evolved from a cooperative research agreement between UM and NMBU to become a strategic tri-partite collaboration which includes the University of Oslo (UiO) as a third partner. In 2015, the tripartite academic cooperation was renewed with $1,600.000 of additional funding provided by the partner institutions for NOCC chair activities. In July of 2019, this agreement was again renewed by the partner institutions at the same funding level.
The NOCC program has facilitated dozens of transatlantic exchanges between undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and faculty through short- and longer term travel awards and fellowships. This program has led to the establishment of new collaborative research and educational programs and activities between research groups and faculty at UM with research groups and faculty from NMBU and/or UiO.