Greetings from NORA 2.0!
Since Christmas several extraordinary events have happened within the Norwegian AI society and NORA. Many excellent research, innovation and education results have been achieved. Especially, I want to congratulate AI-Mind and SFI Visual Intelligence! These large AI projects kicked off in 2021 and will surely be forming Norwegian AI the next years. I also want to mention that NORA has been expanded with four new partners, making the collaboration even stronger. NORA has also become a NFR supported AI EU network for Horizon Europe, NORA.startup has become an Innovation Norway supported innovation ecosystem for AI and we have expanded the secretariat with excellent people to support our partners and fulfill our mission. NORA and Norwegian AI have surely taken giant leaps the last months, and with these major upgrades we now refer to ourselves as NORA 2.0.
We have seen many great research results and publications so far this year. These are important research with implications far beyond the AI community. This is illustrated by recent publications in top journals such as Nature Reviews Cancer, Nature Machine Intelligence and Nature Scientific Data.
New projects have been started. Many of the new SFI’s have substantial AI components. SFI Visual Intelligence is a pure AI SFI built around strong environments at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, University of Oslo and Norsk Regnesentral. The center had its kickoff in January. The project is in close collaboration with industry partners and public organizations. Methods of complex imagery will be developed with a special focus on medical imaging, remote sensing, marine sciences, industry and energy.
The 14 million euro EU project AI-Mind was kicked-off in March. It has been a pleasure for the NORA secretariat to support the application process, connecting excellent Norwegian neuroscience environments with excellent AI environments. The project will develop and deploy artificial intelligence to identify early brain network disturbances and provide early markers of risk for dementia in people with mild cognitive impairment.
With NORA’s recent status as an AI EU network for Horizon Europe, a project including many collaborators also outside the NORA partners, NORA will have an even higher focus on supporting the Norwegian AI community in building strong collaborations. The coming years we will take an active part in even more research and innovation proposals in our endeavors to do excellent AI research and innovation fueled by funding from Horizon Europe.
NORA.startup has expanded with more startup companies. With the help of incubators such as Grundergarasjen, StartupLab and VIS and with boost.ai and iris.ai in the steering group we have been able create a meeting place for researchers and innovators within AI and robotics. This has led to collaborations, research proposals and will surely also inspire further innovation projects at Norwegian universities, university colleges and research institutes. Innovation Norway supported our proposal to become their innovation ecosystem for artificial intelligence. We will continue to focus on research based innovation, and we will continue to have a high threshold for startups to become members of NORA.startup. This ensures high quality and warrants NORA.startup to be an interesting meeting place for researchers.
From now and until September 15th NORA’s research school will have the highest priority. We will apply to become a national research school within AI, machine learning and robotics. We will seek to harmonize the PhD education in Norway. Together with our partners we will offer courses, hackathons, internships, student exchange and in general create an excellent national student community. If you have ideas on what to include in the research school and how to achieve our ambitions, this is the time to contact us with your ideas.
With new partners, many new initiatives and projects and funding from external sources we have also expanded the secretariat.
Birte Hansen is our Innovation and industry coordinator. She has a double PhD degree in Digital Entrepreneurship and Innovation, with a focus on women in technology (Roskilde University and the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences). She has been working in the Norwegian Business Association Singapore and China and she is even speaks Mandarin Chinese!
Sachin Gaur is NORA’s new Research coordinator. He has a double masters in mobile security and cryptography (Aalto University, Finland and University of Tartu, Estonia). He has long experience facilitating international research collaboration, he was also a contact point between EU and India. Sachin also has extensive experience with research driven start-ups and innovation, and was awarded top 10 Innovators in India under India Innovates Growth Program 2013 by FICCI. Al-Jazeera even made a documentary about Sachin and one of his innovation project, you can watch it here.
Bjarte Håvik has started in a 20% position as a Senior policy adviser. Bjarte has a PhD in molecular biology from the University of Bergen. For many years he was working as a researcher but he has also been working deeply in politics, as he recently had four and a half years as a Counselor for Science, Technology and Higher Education at Norwegian embassies in USA (Washington DC) and Canada. There, he implemented and realized bilateral research, education, innovation and technology agreements between Norway and North America.
In addition to these three new employees Alex Molzau (AI policy and ethics) and Anam Javaid (Communication adviser) and I are always ready to support your activities. We really have a strong secretariat, don’t hesitate to contact us!
NORA will also host two big conferences this fall. On the 1st and 2nd of November, we will host the Nordic AI Young Scholars Conference in Oslo, and on the 17th and 18th of November we will host the NORA annual conference in Bergen.
We hope to see you at these events!
Greetings from NORA 2.0!
On behalf of the Secretariat,