A Stavanger-based company seeking to save lives when sudden illness occurs and reduce infant mortality in developing countries has been given The Research Council of Norway’s Innovation Award for 2011.
The prize is presented each year to a Norwegian organisation that has applied the results of research in a manner that generates added value and successfully transfers research into innovation. The award, with a cash prize of NOK 500 000, was presented to Laerdal Medical AS at the Research Council's annual event that highlights exciting developments in Norwegian research and innovation.
Laerdal Medical won the award against fierce competition from five other Norwegian companies. The jury emphasised the company’s success in converting research findings into financial and social benefits.
“Once a traditional production company, the systematic innovation efforts of the winning company has transformed it into a modern, knowledge-intensive company and international market leader in training and therapy equipment for life-saving first aid”, the jury’s statement read.
Reducing infant mortality
Laerdal Medical is widely known as a supplier of equipment and training systems for life-saving first aid. The company vision is that no one should die or become disabled unnecessarily during birth or as a result of sudden illness or trauma. The company’s commitment to saving lives extends well beyond the borders of Norway.
Efforts targeted towards developing countries have resulted in the development of a simulator for use in neonatal resuscitation training and a reusable oral and nasal suction unit for use on newborns. Laerdal Medical received the Norwegian Design Council’s Award for Design Excellence for both these products in 2011.
Comprehensive research that saves lives
Laerdal Medical was established in 1940 and started to produce first aid equipment and training aids during the 1960s. Today the company is a world leader in the field of medical technology and innovation remains high on the agenda.
The company’s research and innovation activities are extensive. In addition to developing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) barrier devices, patient simulators and anatomical models the company is well known for its training systems for health personnel. But life-saving first aid is not just the domain of health service employees – members of the general public also have an important part to play.
“Our aim is that in the future it will be as common to take a course in CPR as it is to go to the dentist,” says Tonje Søraas Birkenes, an employee of Laerdal Medical who is pursuing a doctoral degree under The Research Council’s Industrial Ph.D. scheme.
The scheme is primarily targeted towards companies that need to develop new scientific knowledge and methods to improve their level of expertise and their future competitiveness.
According to Tor Morten Osmundsen, CEO of Laerdal Medical, Ms Birkenes’ research is important for achieving the company’s goal of increasing the survival rate of people suffering sudden cardiac arrest.
“If we are to achieve a higher survival rate everyone, especially those over 50, must feel able and willing to take action when someone goes into cardiac arrest. We need to build effective local life-saving chains where both ordinary people and professional life-savers have the right skills at the right time. Research shows that this has positive effects,” explains Mr Osmundsen.
The very best of Norwegian industry
Director General of the Research Council Arvid Hallén was a member of the jury and was very pleased with this year’s choice of winner.
“This year’s candidates were all excellent and the winner represents the very best of Norwegian industry. Laerdal Medical has shown that a Norwegian company can make a difference to the world and compete on a tough international market.”
“Laerdal Medical has maintained a systematic, forward-looking focus on research and innovation. The company has successfully managed to apply its research results to the benefit of both the company and the Norwegian and international users of its products. This makes Laerdal Medical a truly worthy winner of this year’s Innovation Award” he said.
Facts about the Research Council’s Prize for Most Innovative Company
The Research Council’s Innovation Prize is presented to a Norwegian organisation that has applied the results of research in a manner that generates added value and successfully transferred research into innovation. The award carries a cash prize of NOK 500 000 and is presented every year at the Research Council’s annual event together with the Award for Outstanding Research (Møbius Prize).
Nominees for the Prize for Most Innovative Company 2011:
Laerdal Medical AS
Mustad Longline AS
Salmon Brands AS
Tomra Systems ASA
Ingvild Myhre - Chair of the Research Council’s Executive Board
Sverre Gotaas – Kongsberg Gruppen ASA
Vibeke Hammer Madsen – Federation of Norwegian Commercial and Service Enterprises
Tor Saglie – University of Oslo
Ragnar Tveterås – University of Stavanger
Arvid Hallén – Director General of the Research Council of Norway