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Aquaculture industry needs innovative thinking

Bilde av BI-professor Torger Reve
Industry, biologists and engineers will need to cooperate more closely if Norway is to maintain its position as a leading marine nation.

This is the opinion of the well-known BI Norwegian Business School professor Torger Reve, who thinks it a pity that the Ocean Space Centre in Trondheim has not been built yet.

"The Ocean Space Centre should have been here by now. Pooling the whole range of expertise in the field of ocean space is essential if we wish to maintain Norway's international position", says Reve, who gave an inspiring talk during Ocean Week at NTNU's Gløshaugen Campus. Reve, who is professor of Strategy and Industrial Competitiveness at BI, believes that a major reorganisation of the industry is needed.

"Given that every third job in the petroleum industry is expected to disappear, reorganisation is essential. I said as much in 2012, and if you say something often enough, you end up being right", says Reve with a smile. Norway's most important concentrations of effort in ocean space are petroleum, the maritime sector and seafood production. Much of the future growth will probably continue to come in ocean space, but for this to happen, we will need to think innovatively," believes the professor. "In addition to our traditional industries, wind- and wave-power will be important, not to mention sea-floor mining, the production of other types of seafood than fish, and many other things that we have not even thought of yet.

"The population is growing and food for this increase in numbers will have to come from the sea. But, if we are to be successful in this effort, the people who understand technology, i.e. the engineers, will have to cooperate with those who know a lot about fish; the biologists. The research people will also have to cooperate with industry, because if they don't, it will be impossible to put the technology to practical use," says Reve.

Bjørn Haugland in DNV GL also spoke to a full room during Ocean Week. He too was very concerned that Norway would need to work hard to maintain its position as one of the world's leading nations in ocean space technology.

"The world looks to us when it comes to innovation in ocean space. We must ensure that that continues to be the case in the future. We have seen only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the potential for shipping, particularly in digitalisation," says Haugland.

The bright minds of the future were also at Ocean Week. NTNU students showed off a boat that they had built in collaboration with MARINTEK. This summer, they will take part in an international ship design competition with their innovative solution.

"These young people were born in the digital age. They are very good at thinking simultaneously about the environment and innovation," concludes Haugland.