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Oslo innovation week

The Oslo region places great emphasis on innovation, and this is put on display every year during the Oslo Innovation Week.

Norway and Oslo are highly committed to become an even more competitive and knowledge-based region. The Oslo region gets top scores on lifelong learning, working population with tertiary education and public R&D expenses per capita. It is also among Europe’s most developed regions in relation to high-tech employment and innovation cooperation in medium-sized enterprises.

The European Innovation Scoreboard shows that Norway is one of the most innovative countries in Europe.

Oslo’s main street, Karl Johan, during Oslo Innovation Week 2009
© Tor Lie

Oslo Innovation Week
All this comes together in week 42 each year as the Oslo Innovation Week (OIW) brings together investors, entrepreneurs, scientists and business managers. Together they converge on Oslo to put innovation, creativity, and the accompanying financial benefits in the spotlight. Typically, Oslo Innovation Week consists of a number of events focusing on subjects within innovation and business politics. The idea is to create platforms for entrepreneurs, investors and knowledge environments from which they can promote new ideas and growth.

As a core part of the 2009 event, the important role of innovation was applied to Norway’s future as linked to the resources found along the country’s long coastline, which can be used for both renewable energy and food production. OIW addressed the challenges and the opportunities related to the need for a clear national vision for how to best use these resources, as well as the necessity to increase R&D investments.

The opening symposium and the following week’s events reflected the knowledge environment in the Oslo region and the force behind an international level of R&D in a number of specialist areas. With short distances and a transparent community, it is natural to develop interdisciplinary collaboration.

There were more than 25 events staged in the Oslo region throughout the OIW, including an ICT Conference; an ‘Innovation Camp’ that brought together the best minds from the regional secondary schools; a Lab Investment Forum; a ‘Business & Industry Day’ hosted by the Norwegian Design Council; and an Entrepreneur Day focused on the internationalization process – hosted by VentureLab, Connect, Birkeland Innovation and Innovation Norway. In 2010 OIW will take place for the 5th time between Octber 18th and 22nd.

Academia + Business = Commercialization
The ‘bridge’ between academia and the business environment is central in innovative and creative cultures, and the Oslo region is known for its ability to unite these areas in the process of commercializing R&D efforts. This was a topic in the event ‘Cooperation between Academia and Business’, hosted by the University of Oslo and Birkeland Innovation. The Norwegian University of Life Sciences organized an event that addressed other cooperative possibilities: “How can universities best cooperate with local and regional business and industry?” The participation from business sector on both events was very high. Both were over booked.

The medical R&D environment was also well represented with a seminar hosted by Akershus University Hospital related to the medical technology; and the Oslo University Hospital together with NHIIN (Norwegian Health and IT Innovation Network) covering the areas of digital services and personal information protection.

In keeping with one of the important undercurrents of the OIW – the environment as related to innovation – the topic of “Service Innovation for a Green Economy” was a well-attended event hosted by the Norwegian School of Management, Abelia, OREEC (Oslo Renewable Energy and Environment Cluster), and the Norwegian Centre of Expertise in Energy and Emissions Halden. In addition, Kjeller Innovation Park hosted a full day event with a definite future aspect – ‘Research, Environment and the Climate Perspective in the year 2050’.

Jøran Kallmyr, Commissioner for Transport, Environmental Affairs and Business, City of Oslo, at Oslo City Hall during Oslo Innovation Week 2009.
© Tor Lie

Championing Innovation
The Oslo region has seen a strong growth of actors in the regional innovation support system in recent years. This system is made up of 23 different actors, including technology transfer offices, science parks, business incubators, venture capitalists and a range of other companies and programs providing support and assistance in the process of commercializing research based ideas and helping entrepreneurs developing their businesses into the international market place. The Oslo region champions innovative activities – and the annual Oslo Innovation Week is quickly becoming an important yearly milestone in the close cooperation of the region’s business, R&D, educational, and political organizations and institution. For more information regarding the OIW, see the website:
www.oiw.no or contact Oslo Teknopol.

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