Collaboration on a new Catapult center for Norwegian companies:
- Aims to become Norwegian business's most attractive test arena
At the beginning of April, Siva announced that Smart Innovation Norway, Media City Bergen and Protomore in Molde have received funds to clarify how they can together establish a national competence center for industrial service development.
By Mari Kristine Buckholm , 29 April 2020
- This award is the result of solid collaboration between Smart Innovation Norway, IFE (Institutt for Energiteknikk) , eSmart Systems , DigitalNorway and Cyviz . We have long worked to get funding for a powerhouse within applied artificial intelligence and service development, so this is an important step in the right direction for us, says head of Communication & Visualization at Smart Innovation Norway and responsible for the application to Norsk Katapult, Mette Magnussen .
- Read also: Smart Innovation Norway launches new AI cluster
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The preliminary project for which the Smart Innovation Norway environment has received Siva funds together with Protomore in Molde and Media City Bergen will form a basis with recommendations for a new Katapult center for industrial service development in Norway.
- For Smart Innovation Norway and our competence environment in Halden, this is an important milestone that we have worked for a long time to achieve. Such a Catapult centre, with its services, will be able to function very well together with existing activities and services throughout Smart Innovation Norway's innovation platform, especially with regard to the activities in the business clusters NCE Smart Energy Markets and Cluster for Applied AI, says Magnussen (pictured) . She continues:
- The latter cluster in particular will be able to reinforce the planned Catapult in a good way, with a reinforcing effect in return. For example, we can imagine that the partners in the cluster will be able to use the centre's facilities and equipment for prototyping, simulations and testing for their AI projects, services and products.
Magnussen believes that the award of the Katapult preliminary project can be seen as a stamp of quality and proof that the work the company has put in together with its partners, and within Smart Innovation Norway, has been correct.
- This gives us a strengthened position in a national context where we get the opportunity to share the unique expertise the environment possesses, in areas such as applied artificial intelligence, with the rest of business life in Norway. It gives us the opportunity to contribute with more research and innovation activities that actually create sustainable social and business development and contribute to Norway as a nation becoming more competitive, she points out.
Planning and concept development
In the pre-project phase, which extends from March to September 2020, the three competence environments in Halden, Bergen and Molde will clarify forms of cooperation, ambitions, obligations and opportunities for a new, joint Catapult center within industrial service development.
- During this period, it will be crucial to involve potential users and customers of the center early so that we can develop services that actually solve the customer's needs or give them new opportunities for business development. This insight work, which we will carry out together with Protomore and Media City, will be important pillars in the further concept development work of the centre, says Magnussen.
She reveals that they are also looking at various collaboration solutions to be able to offer the centre's services widely in Norway without the customers necessarily needing to travel to Viken to make use of them.
- This has become more relevant than ever in these times of COVID-19, and will not become any less important in the future in order to be able to work more efficiently and "greener" together, states Magnussen.
Must make companies competitive
The purpose of a separate Katapult center for industrial service development is to assist SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) regionally and nationally to become more competitive internationally. This is done by getting new services and products onto the market cheaper and faster.
- The catapult center will focus on all aspects such as people, technology, strategy, marketing and finance, and offer piloting, testing and simulation. The center aims to become Norwegian industry's most attractive test arena for industrial service development with a focus on, among other things, offering services for the application of artificial intelligence, business modeling and the development of a performance culture, explains Magnussen.
In addition, it is a goal that the Catapult Center in question will be able to assist the other Catapult Centers in Norway with its solutions, resources and expertise, and in that way become an important national hub for industrial service development.
About Norwegian catapult
- Norwegian Catapult is an arrangement of national centers that offer facilities, equipment, expertise and networks.
- The Katapult centers make it easier for innovative companies to develop prototypes, test, simulate and visualize, so that ideas are developed faster, better and with less risk.
- The Katapult centers receive public support to assist small and medium-sized businesses throughout the country.
- The ambition is to build an infrastructure for innovation with 7-9 national catapult centers in areas of great value for future industry in Norway.
- Siva manages the scheme on behalf of the Ministry of Trade and Fisheries, and in close collaboration with Innovation Norway and the Research Council.