“The Norwegian business sector is experiencing a tougher marketplace, and needs to think along new lines. Companies in all counties and in all sectors are opting to pursue targeted knowledge work to enhance competitiveness,” states Arvid Hallén, Director General of the Research Council of Norway.
A total of 2 946 grant applications were submitted to the SKATTFUNN scheme as of 1 September of this year, an increase of 29 per cent over 2014. Applications received by this date are guaranteed to be processed by the end of the year.
In particular, the construction industry, the agriculture and food industry and the petroleum industry have shown a significant increase in innovation activity. Oslo, Rogaland, Akershus and Sør-Trøndelag stand out as the most active counties.
Many project outlines submitted before October deadline
A large number of companies have also voluntarily submitted project outlines for innovation projects prior to the consolidated 14 October submission deadline for this area. The Research Council has received close to 300 project outlines for the calls under its innovation-oriented thematic programmes and the Programme for User-driven Research-based Innovation (BIA), and is expecting even more applications seeking a share of the overall pot of NOK 900 million that has been announced.
Knowledge facilitates restructuring
Unique expertise, lower production costs, improved logistics and better coordination between people are frequently listed as the objectives of companies’ research projects.
Companies use the knowledge they generate to create new and improved products and services; effective, environmentally sound production processes and better business models. Many are seeking to apply their specific expertise in new areas and in other branches of industry to increase competitiveness and enter into new markets – also internationally.
“If they achieve this, they will be able to adapt quickly when the market shifts. Cooperating with new partners is often a key element of these projects. A prime example is how specialised expertise within the oil and gas sector is being used to create new health services,” adds Arvid Hallén.