– Greater investment in R&D will make the Industrial Park even more attractive
Sverre Gotaas wants the Industrial Park’s R&D activities to become more visible and available to companies in the Industrial Park and in the Grenland region in general.
– My experience is that high levels of activity in research and development and close collaboration with the academic community make places attractive. By investing even more in R&D, Herøya Industrial Park could attract more new businesses, Sverre Gotaas says.
Three months into his new job, Sverre Gotaas, the new director of Herøya Industripark AS, has already started to get hot in the chair and has had several eye-opening experiences.
Ingenious and impressive
– When you walk around the Industrial Park, you are struck by its enormous size, the ingenuity of its construction, the degree of interconnectedness among companies, how orderly and green it is – and, lastly, by how few people you see around.
He is also impressed by the development in many of the companies: increased production, solid competence, encouraging HSE results, and increased competitiveness.
Sverre Gotaas has a background in research and innovation, which he gained in his former roles as Innovation Director at Kongsberg Gruppen ASA and Board Member at The University College of Southeast Norway (USN) and The Research Council of Norway (NFR). He believes that one of the roads to the Industrial Park can win greater appeal through R&D and closer collaboration with the academic world.
Visible and available
– Herøya Industrial Park has a solid research centre, but the activities here are primarily aimed at the large companies Yara, Statoil, and Hydro. By bringing in some of the now independent research centres, such as Sintef, the companies inside and outside the Park – both large and small – will have easier access to R&D services, he emphasises.
– I know that these ideas are not new, but we now need to put all our efforts into making that a reality, Gotaas argues.
Greater closeness to HE institutions
At Kongsberg, where Gotaas worked for many years, the engineering studies at the University College are more integrated into the businesses in the Technology Park than is the case in Grenland. For example, students can study for a Master’s degree in industry using a scheme that allows them to study half the time and work in a company the other half.
– Students join companies with new thoughts and ideas. I believe that HIP should be able to facilitate and contribute to closer collaboration with colleges, allowing companies in the Industrial Park to make greater use of the resulting expertise, he emphasises.
More money for pilot projects
Sverre Gotaas, a cybernetics expert, is back in Herøya Industrial Park, this time as facilitator and partner for existing and new businesses.
Sverre Gotaas is also showing interest in the phase that comes after research, namely testing and piloting.
– We in Norway are well-equipped when it comes to the range of instruments available to us, but the picture is a little bit skewed. For example, the Research Council of Norway has plenty of funds for research, but its funding for the post-research stage is limited. While the Norwegian Catapult scheme, with NOK 50 million already earmarked for the test centres, is a good start, it is nowhere near enough. The scheme should have annual funding of NOK 200-300 million, he says.
Herøya Industripark AS has aligned itself with the scheme The Herøya Pilot Arena, through which inventors receive support and assistance with testing on an industrial scale. The Herøya Pilot Arena was among the 38 industrial groupings from all over Norway that applied for inclusion in the Norwegian Catapult.
– Unfortunately, we did not make it into this round. But, we are keeping up the pressure to develop our piloting and testing offering. One of the purposes of the Herøya Pilot Arena is to assist a new magnesium pilot that ENOVA is supporting with NOK 19.5 million, he emphasises.
Herøya – “The Holy Grail”
Sverre Gotaas, a cybernetics expert, is excited about his return to Herøya, which is something of a “Holy Grail” for cybernetics experts. Cybernetics is the study of control mechanisms and management problems. It describes the control and regulation of technological devices such as aircraft, robots, vessels, and industrial processes.
Now, however, Gotaas has a new role – that of facilitator and partner for the various companies in the Park, and that of making Herøya Industrial Park even more attractive to new businesses.