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Annual Report 2020

The ‘Year of Corona’ went better than we feared

The Covid crisis has affected our day-to-day lives and has had a major impact on health and economies around the world. And even as I write this report, the dramatic war in Ukraine is challenging every one of us. While Ukraine, its citizens and refugees are caught in a most difficult situation, the security of Europe as a whole is also in the balance. We are seeing serious ripple effects for supply security, not least in the energy, food and materials

Today, as the world changes around us, we at SINTEF are experiencing a massive demand for our research and innovation. Our vision, ’Technology for a better society’, continues to be relevant to those of our clients and partners who are responding daily to challenges linked to health, energy and food security, as well as public safety. Moreover, in connection with the major underlying climate and biodiversity crises, we are seeing that our contributions are making a difference. One of our achievements in 2021 was to energetically mobilise the public and private sectors to join us and
participate in the EU’s ‘Green Deal’ and the Norwegian ‘Green Platform’. We have also established a new group-wide biodiversity initiative that is working strategically to ensure that sufficient consideration is given to the natural world as industrial and technological development progresses.

SINTEF’s more than 2,000 employees have made a great effort to deliver, and are pleased with the ways in which we have adapted to new ways of leadership and interaction, whether in our labs and workshops, in the office or at home. And in spite of the great uncertainties generated by the pandemic forced upon us in 2020, our results from 2021 bear witness to the strength of our efforts and creative will.

In partnership with our clients and the funding organisations, and aided by extraordinary basic grant funding made available to the technical-industrial institutes, ongoing innovation project (IPN) announcements, and the Green Platform, SINTEF has been able to continue to contribute to the green and digital transformation throughout the period of crisis. In 2021, our net revenues grew by 9.2 percent, and we delivered a robust operating profit of NOK 268 million (8.2 percent).

This encouraging result means that, as a foundation, SINTEF can continue to invest for the future. Activities in 2021 have included investment in laboratories for zero emission buildings and constructions in the maritime sector, a lab for Norway’s growing battery industry, and the modernisation of SINTEF’s main buildings in Forskningsveien in Oslo.

We are also investing in the development of the new Norwegian business sector, and many external investors are joining us. The Covid crisis has seen an acceleration in the emergence of commercialisation concepts at SINTEF, and we decided before the end of the year to establish yet another venture capital fund, enabling SINTEF and our co-investors to invest in start-up  companies offering new, research-based products and services.

We are also working to identify new opportunities to contribute towards meeting the challenges facing wider society, and towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which serve as the guiding principles for SINTEF’s activities. I myself attended the Climate Change Summit in Glasgow in November, which I found very motivating. At the summit, we launched the SINTEF Global Climate Fund, into which SINTEF is investing its own funds with the aim of conducting research to produce the new climate-positive solutions on which all 1.5-degree global warming scenarios depend. Our Global Climate Fund is working specifically to attract new partners to the fund so that together, we can create a foundation for the new and large-scale ideas that a growing market needs in order to secure a climate-positive future.

Portrett Alexandra Bech Gjørv Konsernsjef
Alexandra Bech Gjørv, Konsernsjef SINTEF (Foto Terje Trobe / SINTEF)

This ability to innovate is crucial if we are to meet the major chal-lenges that await us in the future. We must succeed in exploiting the opportunities offered by digital technology and promote a radical restructuring of the global energy and food supply systems, of logistics and of patterns of consumption. We must also develop sustainable and secure communities in the face of demographic change, a circular economy, user-adapted services and new solutions for health and mobility. All this and more is being addressed by our research scientists at SINTEF – each and every day.

Here at SINTEF, we shall continue in 2021 to offer our expertise and laboratories with the aim of meeting these major challenges, in close collaboration with our clients, the public authorities and all our other partners.

Alexandra Bech Gjørv,


SINTEF is one of Europe’s largest independent research organisations. Every year we carry out several thousand projects for customers large and small.

We deliver innovation by developing knowledge and technologies that are brought into practical use.

SINTEF is a broad, multidisciplinary research organisation with international top-level expertise in the fields of technology, the natural sciences, medicine and the social sciences. We conduct contract R&D as a partner for the private and public sectors, and we are one of the largest contract research institutions in Europe.

Our vision is Technology for a better society.

Research and innovation for clients all over the world

2000 employees, 75 nationalities, 3400 clients, 4.6 out of 5 client satisfaction, 6800 projects

Over seven out of ten employees are research scientists

76% Research scientists, 12% management and administration, 8% engineers, 5% technical personnel

The SINTEF year in brief – 2020

Working from home does not make us less productive

Working from home does not make us less productive

Current research into teamwork is showing that we do not become less productive working from home, provided that we work intelligently and are equipped with tools that enable us to work together with our colleagues. In this article, researchers will...

Cement factories can put the brakes on global plastic pollution

Cement factories can put the brakes on global plastic pollution

Researchers believe that plastic refuse can be used as fuel in cement factories in Asia. If this works, it may provide a solution to two of the planet’s biggest environmental problems – plastic in the oceans and high levels of coal consumption.

Norway launches major wind power research centre

Norway launches major wind power research centre

December 11th – Today the Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, announced an investment of 120 million NOK (11.3 million EUR) in a new wind power research centre in Norway. The NorthWind research centre will be at the cutting edge...

Meet the aquaculture industry’s new maintenance bot

Meet the aquaculture industry’s new maintenance bot

This ROV can fully operate on its own, and follow along with fish’s behaviour and health with its Argus eyes – all while keeping a safe distance. It even inspects the technical standard of the enclosure while it’s at it. Say hi to Mr...

Making ultrasound universally accessible

Making ultrasound universally accessible

Currently, ultrasound machines are operated primarily by specialists because it requires extensive experience to interpret the images. Norwegian researchers are aiming to tackle this issue.

Sound beacons support safer tunnel evacuation

Sound beacons support safer tunnel evacuation

Research conducted as part of the project EvacSound demonstrates that auditory guidance using sound beacons is an effective aid during the evacuation of smoke-filled road tunnels. This is good news. It is a fact that vehicle drivers and passengers...

The Board of Directors’ Report

The year 2020

2020 was dominated by both health- and market-related challenges that were a direct result of the corona pandemic. Thanks to a massive effort by our employees, excellent communication with our clients, and sound measures carried out by the authorities and funding agencies, it was possible for research and innovation activities to continue unabated towards a green and digital restructuring of society. SINTEF delivered research and development that was equivalent in terms of gross sales to approximately the same levels as in 2019. We also achieved a satisfactory financial result.
In many ways, the sum of all our hard work, correct prioritisations and targeted actions, has enabled SINTEF to emerge from the crisis stronger at the start of 2021 than it was twelve months before.

Key figures

Fig: Revenue sources, employees, publications



Figure: Gender equality

Read the annual report as PDF