NORA-partners strongly represented in new Centers for Research-based Innovation

Research Council of Norway has announced grants for 22 new Centers for Research-based Innovation. With representation in 19 of the 22 new centers, NORA-partners have consolidated their strong position. 

Strong competition

In this round, Research Council of Norway (RCN) received applications from 70 consortiums, and chose to support 22 of them, of which 19 are connected to NORA-partners either as host institutions or research partners. In 11 of the consortiums, NORA-partners are the host institution and leading research partner. At least half of the consortiums where NORA-partners are involved have strong AI or robotics components. 

- We are delighted to see that NORA’s partner institutions are represented in 19 of the 22 new centers, and that at least 10 of them have important AI or robotics components. This confirms the important role NORA partners have in strengthening Norwegian AI research and innovation, says CEO of NORA, Klas H. Pettersen.

The new centers will become the fourth generation of SFIs since 2005 and will be established for a maximum period of eight years (5 + 3). Each center will receive an annual grant of up to NOK 12 million from RCN. The centers that receive funding now will be able to start from coming fall.

Creating values for the society

One of the centers that will be focusing highly on artificial intelligence and machine learning is Visual Intelligence, with UiT The Arctic university of Norway as host institution and University of Oslo and Norwegian Computing Center (NR) as research partners.

The center has ambitions to further develop, as the name states - ​​visual intelligence through deep learning from images, beyond what is possible with today's technology. The approach is multidisciplinary and will create value across different areas where automated analysis of complex image data will be of great value. 

- The status as SFI gives us greater power and opportunities to conduct research, innovate and develop technologies in the field of artificial intelligence, one of the areas in the society that is evolving the fastest. The purpose is to develop new methods for extracting important information from different types of image data, says Robert Jenssen, head of center and professor at the Department of Physics and Technology.

The research and innovation activities in Visual Intelligence will help to solve important societal challenges related to health, resource management and environmental and climate monitoring. The center will develop better tools for detecting heart disease and cancer, monitoring and detection of natural resources, monitoring of the environment and climate, and monitoring of risks and potential natural disasters. 

- The program will close some important gaps in research on deep neural networks. Moving away from traditional RGB-images to other types of images such as satellite, health, X-ray changes the landscape. For example, one may not have the right tools to extract the right information from the images, says Jenssen and continues. As deep networks work today, they do not have a way to tell about uncertainty in the analysis. Our program will also be able to tell when the input to the system falls outside the type of data the system is designed for, concludes Jenssen.

Promoting innovation

The overall objective of the Centre for Research-based Innovation (SFI) scheme is to enhance the ability of the business sector to innovate and create value through a greater focus on long-term research. A research centre is a dedicated, long-term initiative designed to strengthen and further develop elite, creative research and innovation groups or to build up research groups in strategically important areas.

The following SFIs where NORA-partners are involved, have been supported by RCN in this round:


Host / Partner(s)


Centre for Industrial Biotechnology SINTEF / NORCE, NTNU, NMBU The center will develop expertise and technology that positions the Norwegian biotechnology industry internationally.
Centre for Rescue of Earth Materials and Waste in the Circular Economy NMBU / NGI, Norwegian Business School BI, Østfoldforskning, IFE, NIBIO, NIVA og NILU The Center's ambition is to become a nationally leading and internationally recognized research and innovation center for the sustainable use of soil materials.
Centre for research-based innovation in marine acoustic abundance estimation and backscatter classification Institute of Marine Research / UiB, NORCE and Norwegian Computing Center The center's main goal is to further develop the use and understanding of acoustic methods for use in marine surveillance, fisheries, aquaculture and the energy sector.
Centre for research-based innovation on Mobile Mental Health Bergen Hospital Trust / UiB m.fl. The center's main goal is to expand the use and impact of digital mental health interventions through research on effectiveness compared to standard treatment, health economic and socio-economic effects, strategies for implementation and early "Health Technology Assessment".
Centre for Space Sensors and Systems UiO / FFI og University of California, Los Angeles The center's main goal is to contribute to increased innovation and competitiveness for the Norwegian space industry and to contribute to national needs in satellite systems for earth observation, as well as exploration of "the near space" (Moon and Mars).
Centre for Subsurface Well Integrity, Plugging and Abandonment SINTEF AS / NTNU, NORCE, IFE, UiS The main goal of the center is to gain a scientific understanding of permanent well barriers and to develop new and better designs for underground barriers.
Centre for the development of biodegradable plastics in marine applications - Innovations for fisheries and aquaculture UiT The Arctic university of Norway / SINTEF Ocean, SINTEF Industry, Østfoldforskning and Norner Research The center's main goal is to reduce plastic waste and associated problems in the marine environment, such as macro / microplastics and ghost fishing, caused by the fishing and aquaculture industry.
Climate Futures NORCE / UiB, Norwegian Computing Center, NERSC (Nansensenteret), Norwegian Business School BI, SNF and The Norwegian Meteorological Institute The center's main goal is to develop new and innovative solutions for predicting and managing climate risk from 10 days to 10 years ahead. 

DigiWells: Digital Well Center for Value Creation, Competitiveness and Minimum Environmental Footprint

NORCE / University of Stavanger, NTNU and University of Bergen

The center will improve methods for placement, design and reduction of costs associated with drilling oil and gas wells through increased digitization and automation. The work will help to optimize well production and reduce negative environmental impact and at the same time increase value creation opportunities.

Norwegian Center for Cybersecurity in Critical Sectors NTNU / SINTEF Energy, SINTEF Digital, SINTEF Manufacturing, Norwegian Computing Center and UiA The center's main goal is to strengthen its private and public stakeholders' ability to respond to current and future cyber security risks by developing, validating and operationalizing innovative socio-technical solutions in the energy, health, manufacturing and supply chain sectors - and public safety.

Norwegian Center for Research-Based Artificial Intelligence Innovation

NTNU / University of Oslo, University of Stavanger, SINTEF AS (Digital) and Norwegian Computing Center

The overall goal of the center is to meet technical challenges from artificial intelligence (AI) as well as non-technical challenges such as ethical issues, clarity and trust in AI. The center wants to accelerate the innovation of sustainable and reliable artificial intelligence in Norwegian industry.

Precision Health Center for optimized cardiac care

Oslo University Hospital* / University of Oslo, NTNU, Simula og Sørlandet Sykehus HF

The main goal of the center is to create a clinically driven and validated ICT platform for cardiology that enables individualized health services through the use of large data sets and artificial intelligence. The center will develop, test and validate new tools that can reliably predict a single patient's disease progression, estimate the risk of sudden cardiac death, and provide a long-term overview that includes past and future treatments and enables optimal disease management.

Research Centre for Responsible Media Technology & Innovation

University of Bergen / University of Oslo, University of Stavanger, NORCE and several foreign universities

The main goal of the center is to generate significant innovation and value creation for the Norwegian news media and the media tech industry through long-term research on responsible media technologies. The center will develop advanced new media technology for responsible and effective media user engagement, media content production, media content interaction and accessibility, as well as researching new methods and metrics for precise audience understanding.

SFI Autoship: Safe autonomous ships for sustainable operations

NTNU / University of Oslo, SINTEF and Institute for Energy Technology

The main goal of the center is to utilize the expertise of the complete Norwegian maritime cluster and consolidate Norway as a leading global player in autonomous vessels. The center will develop and manage technologies, systems and operations for safe, sustainable and cost-effective autonomous maritime transport and operations.

SFI Digital Food Quality Nofima / NMBU og SINTEF Digital. The center's ambition is to transform the food production industry into a more efficient and sustainable industry. The goal is to develop smart sensor-driven solutions that provide the food quality information required to achieve successful process optimization and digitization of the food industry. The results will provide a more resource and cost-effective production of higher quality foods, which will also help reduce food waste.
SFI Harvest - Technologies for sustainable biomarine value creation SINTEF Ocean AS / Nofima, NMBU, UiT The Arctic university of Norway, NTNU, SINTEF Digital  The center's main goal is to develop knowledge and technology to fish and utilize low-trophic marine resources, such as krill, calanus, and mesopelagic species of fish.
SFI Smart Ocean – Flexible and cost-effective monitoring for management of a healthy and productive ocean UiB / NORCE, FFI, Institute of Marine Research , HVL and Stiftelsen NERSC (Nansensenteret) The main purpose of the center is to establish a wireless observation system to monitor a variety of parameters related to the subsea environment and installations.
Smartforest: Bringing Industry 4.0 to the Norwegian forest sector NIBIO / NMBU and UiO.  The main objective is to improve the efficiency of the Norwegian forest sector by facilitating a digital revolution that will transform information and data on forest resources, forest management, operating technology and timber deliveries to the industry, as well as an overall digital information flow throughout the forest sector. The digital transformation will take place through a series of innovations that will lay the foundation for the development of a strong "forest-tech" sector in Norway. The center will also be important for the reputation of the forest sector, contribute to better recruitment to both research, management and industry, and contribute to a higher proportion of women in the forest sector.

Visual Intelligence

UiT The Arctic university of Norway / University of Oslo and Norwegian Computing Center

The center has ambitions to further develop the area of visual intelligence, deep learning from images, beyond what is possible with today's technology. The approach is muTrelated to health, resource management and environmental and climate monitoring.

* Affiliated with NORA through University of Oslo


Read more about the new SFIs on RCN’s webpage (in Norwegian).

Av Anam Javaid
Publisert 25. juni 2020 08:53 - Sist endret 26. aug. 2020 19:32