We must continue building upon our strengths

Henrik O. Madsen has been appointed chair of the Research Council's new Executive Board for the period 2015–2020. Dr Madsen is Group President and CEO of DNV GL, where he has worked since moving from Denmark to Oslo in 1982 to carry out research on structural reliability.

Now, some 34 years later, Dr Madsen has been asked by Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen to take on the role as chair of the Research Council's Executive Board.

“It is a great honour to be asked, and I’m looking forward to getting started as chair of the Research Council’s Executive Board,” says Henrik O. Madsen. (Photo: Ingebjørg Aadland) “It is a great honour to be asked, and I’m looking forward to getting started,” says Dr Madsen, adding that his interest in research stems from his training as a researcher and his experience both in field studies and in heading research activities. Dr Madsen’s position as CEO of DNV GL is his tenth different job at the same company.

“At DNV GL we work in the interface between industry and society on both innovation and sustainability. I believe this will be valuable experience in the effort to guide the further development of the Research Council. The first matter that the Executive Board and I are starting on is to complete the Research Council’s new overall strategy for the next five years, where sustainability and innovation will play a major role.”

What ambitions do you have for Norwegian research?

“In Denmark we have a saying, ‘If you are going to do something, do it well’. This very much applies to Norway, a country where it is by no means cheap to carry out neither business activities nor research activities – which is why we must be extremely good at whatever we do. We must be at the cutting edge and constantly strive to reinvent ourselves. We need to work to produce highly skilled personnel and give priority to areas where Norway has special advantages. We need research to be able to generate the jobs and society of tomorrow.” 

Where do you see us in five years?

“Oil and gas will still be vital for Norway in five years,” responds the new chair, “but I hope we will see the oceans as a far greater resource than we currently do and that we achieve far better utilisation of marine resources. Within five years we should have made great strides in developing renewable energy, and Norway should have assumed a much clearer role in the European energy supply than we have today. In the health care sector, we must be willing to think along new lines that revolve around the patients. Innovation entails technology development, of course, but to succeed in restructuring to a sustainable society, we also need strong policy innovations at all levels of society. We must be willing to think creatively. Furthermore, over the next five years we need to enhance our international cooperation activities, particularly where the EU is concerned,” concludes Henrik O. Madsen.

 

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