The Research Council of Norway has drawn up its first specific strategy on innovation. The strategy emphasises the need for more innovation in the public sector and the importance of a broad national knowledge base.
The document calls for an increased effort in areas where Norway excels and for new momentum in areas that need improvement.
Focus on the public sector
The strategy devotes considerable attention to public sector renewal.
“Norway has an advanced public sector which has demonstrated a great capacity for renewal. Nonetheless, we see a clear need to improve and increase efficiency in the public services. More service innovation and better interaction between research, policy development and public administration is necessary,” says Anne Kjersti Fahlvik, Executive Director of the Division for Innovation.
Innovation in this sector, especially in the health and welfare services, is absolutely essential in order to carry out new tasks and meet demands for improvements in quality and efficiency.
“It is high time that the public sector is given greater focus on the overall innovation agenda. Demographic changes, such as our ageing population, mean that the public sector is now compelled to renew itself. We are talking about the need for new products and services, as well as processes and organisational models,” states Ms Fahlvik.
Strong industries even stronger
In addition to paying greater attention to the public sector, the Research Council will strengthen innovation activities targeting the industrial sector. This includes traditionally strong areas of industry and knowledge such as the energy sector and the marine and maritime sector, where Norway has natural advantages.
According to the strategy, these are areas where Norway has the resources, expertise, players and structures to address global challenges actively, from a strong knowledge base, and expand value creation.
Knowledge leads to competitiveness
Norwegian trade and industry consists primarily of small and medium-sized companies. The Research Council would like to see these companies increase their investment in research as well as utilise and benefit from more research results.
“The research communities have knowledge that is crucial for enhancing the competitiveness of Norwegian companies. At the same time, the companies have unsolved problems that the researchers are interested in tackling,” states Ms Fahlvik.
“In the upcoming years the Research Council will take steps to encourage greater cooperation between Norwegian companies and national and international research communities. For example, we will grant more funding to research-based innovation projects and verification projects so that a larger share of the research activity benefits Norwegian trade and industry and the public sector,” she concludes.