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Norwegian centres of expertise - innovation through cluster cooperation

Clusters are regional concentrations of specialized companies and institutions, with multiple linkages and mutual interests for collaboration. Dynamic clusters are key drivers of innovation and growth, for regions and for nations. Building unique strengths out of the specialized capabilities of the cluster will strengthen competitiveness in an open and global economy. The competition to be qualified and selected as an NCE project is demanding. The 12 NCE projects accepted so far represent the most dynamic and ambitious clusters in Norway.

 Financial and Professional Support
The NCE programme offers financial and professional support to the clusters for up to 10 years. The support is aimed at strengthening the linkages between the companies and institutions within the cluster as well as between the cluster and the world outside. A strategy for long-term development and renewal, building on the partner’s joint interest and commitment forms up the platform for the joint actions. This strategy can include a number of approaches and objectives as in, for example, facilitating collaborative innovation processes, improving regional and national education to better meet the demands from the cluster, attracting new firms and talents and branding of the cluster.


NCE projects represent the most dynamic and ambitious clusters in Norway
© Heidi Widerø/Innovation Norway



The programme has established a network among the NCE clusters, aiming at creating linkages between the clusters, sharing experiences and supporting the development processes with models and tools. Special attention is given to the highly important objective of creating stronger bonds between Norwegian clusters and international business and knowledge environments. Developing trans-national cooperation between clusters is one of the important ambitions in the NCE programme.

The NCE Programme seeks to stimulate innovation and creativity
© Heidi Widerø/Innovation Norway


The 12 NCEs in Summary
Currently, there are 12 NCEs, and the following provides a short summary of these clusters, each of which are presented in greater detail in the following pages in this issue.

NCE Maritime – This maritime cluster on the west coast of Norway consists of 12 design companies, 17 ship owning companies, 13 shipyards and 161 equipment suppliers. The cluster is complete and covers all the elements of the value chain, with several companies in each segment, which both compete with each other as well as cooperate, all within a small geographical area.

NCE Subsea – The Bergen area has grown to become one of the world’s most complete environments for subsea technology with a regional cluster consisting of some hundred companies and organizations. The cluster’s main focus is on the markets for maintenance, modification and operation of subsea installations, including a great number of suppliers of services and high-tech products.

NCE Systems Engineering Kongsberg – The Kongsberg cluster comprises knowledge-based companies, several of which are world leading in demanding industries like subsea, maritime, automotive, aircraft, defence and aerospace industries. The cluster has generated new industries and value creation using brainpower, expertise and collaborative solutions and has achieved a key position in global markets.

NCE Raufoss – The core areas of activity to be developed are lightweight materials and automated production. These also comprise the core areas of expertise for all the companies in the cluster, as well as the area in which the cluster is on the international cutting edge. NCE Raufoss seeks to become a national resource centre in these areas.

NCE Instrumentation – Situated in Trøndelag, NCE Instrumentation represents high-tech knowledge within the field of instrumentation. The instrumentation cluster in Trøndelag consists of companies specializing in supplying advanced control and communication solutions for different branches such as natural gas processing and transportation, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), maritime, offshore fish farming, deep sea constructions, energy and medicine.

NCE Micro– and Nanotechnology – NCE Micro- and Nanotechnology is the result of a long-term commitment to microtechnology in the region of Vestfold. The companies in the cluster comprise the most important commercial arena for micro- and nanotechnology in Norway, and play a leading role in the Norwegian electronics and ICT fields. Most of the companies in the cluster are international leaders in their product areas – marketing and selling their products to major, demanding international customers.

Oslo Cancer Cluster – Oslo Cancer Cluster is an exciting biotechnology cluster focused on developing new cancer treatments and diagnostics for the benefit of cancer patients all over the world, integrating members from the life science industry, research institutions, university hospitals, government and the Norwegian Cancer Society. The aims of the cluster are to accelerate the development of innovative cancer diagnostics and treatments, and to ensure that patients get access to the new treatments developed.

NCE Aquaculture – NCE Aquaculture focuses on value creation and innovation associated with commercial production of farmed fish and seafood for the global market. The cluster consists of companies involved in the production of fry and edible fish, processing, feed production, technology, health and environment, finance, research and training. These are key actors who by virtue of their competence and resource base will play a decisive role in the further development of Norwegian aquaculture.

NCE Culinology – NCE Culinology’s main objective is to strengthen the knowledge platform and capacity for innovation in the field of gastronomy and culinary differentiation for the benefit of Norwegian food production. The food cluster in Rogaland has deep historic roots in the production of agricultural-based food and seafood. In addition to a strong production side, the district has an acknowledged culinary environment and a well established network in which industry, R&D institutions and the public authorities are working in close collaboration to develop the industry.

NCE Tourism – Fjord Norway – This newly established NCE has been established as a “center for innovation” that creatively and systematically explores the potential for converting the region’s unique “ingredients” in the form of new products and experiences, all closely connected to a deeper understanding of the global community and the commercial potential that the global target group represents. The goal is to make the Fjord Norway region the world’s leader in theme tourism, facilitating strength and the ongoing growth of tourism in Western Norway.

NCE NODE – NCE NODE is the oil and gas technology cluster at the southern coast of Norway consisting of approximately 50 companies in the value chains of three niches – offshore drilling, offshore loading and offloading, mooring and anchoring, and active heave compensated cranes. These companies are based on the region’s long industrial and shipping tradition, many among the pioneers when the era of oil and gas exploration started in Norway in the mid 1960s. Products range from complete oil and gas platforms to critical high technology equipment for drilling and production of oil and gas in harsh climates.

NCE Energy and Emissions Trading Halden (NCE EET Halden) – The energy industry is facing rapid and radical changes to business conditions, market designs and policy instruments, and NCE EET is a cluster dedicated to tackling these changes that pose significant challenges for the energy industry, such as trading new instruments, understanding the interdependence of different energy and non-energy commodities and instruments, and changes in working processes, methods and tools.


The NCE Programme aims to create linkages between clusters, sharing experiences and developing processes
© Heidi Widerø/Innovation Norway

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