Bergen has a long history as a centre of trade and commerce for Norway (Photo c/o Sverre Hjørnevik, FjordNorge)
The city of Bergen was the site of THE OCEAN 2021. This annual conference hosts the leading minds and authorities in the ocean industries under one roof, or multiple roofs since this year’s event was a hybrid of live presentations and interactive live streaming.
Still, this was where innovators, researchers, entrepreneurs, and key figures within the ocean industries could meet to discuss current trends and future projections. Plus, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Haakon was in attendance and gave the opening speech.
HRH Crown Prince giving the opening speech at THE OCEAN (Photo c/o Oliander Taule, BergenLive)
As the home of the ocean industries, Bergen was the best place to host this event.
Here’s what makes Bergen, and Greater Bergen at large, the home of the ocean industries:
- Collaborative crossover among its business clusters
- Leading marine education and research institutions
- Backing from banks
- Established network of businesses and start-ups
1. Crossover among business clusters
Believe it or not, Bergen was Norway’s capital during the 12th and 13th centuries. Moreover, it served as a crucial port for much of the country’s commerce.
Today, it’s still a vital port and a hub for many of Norway’s industries. This includes fishing, maritime transport, shipbuilding, energy (i.e., oil and natural gas) and, more recently, ocean-based technology.
A driving force behind this has been the various business clusters centralized in Greater Bergen. These clusters have played a key role in developing these industries through crossover, cooperative innovation, and collaboration.
NCE Seafood Innovation: This business cluster works to develop new methods and innovations within seafood and aquaculture. Its membership includes the biggest seafood companies in Norway.
GCE Ocean Technology: Established in 2006, this industry-driven initiative serves to develop and supply innovative ocean-based technology for multiple purposes. Its “5-stakeholder model” includes research institutions, multi-national firms, and local/county municipalities.
NCE Maritime CleanTech: This cluster works to develop Norway’s maritime industry through cultivating new clean and energy-efficient maritime solutions. Its members include big-name firms in ship design, engineering, R&D, and harbour management.
(Nina Stangeland (Managing Director, NCE Seafood Innovation (l)) and Owe Hagesæther (CEO, GCE Ocean Technology (r)) hosting THE OCEAN
(Photo c/o Oliander Taule, BergenLive)
2. Leading educational and research institutions
Bergen’s not just a centre for Norway’s marine economy. It also has the highest concentration of educational and research institutions specialising in oceanic and marine research.
Among the most notable are:
University of Bergen: Norway’s largest marine university and one of its main educational institutions.
A University Museum within Bergen (Photo c/o Eivind Senneset, UiB)
Institute of Marine Research: As one of the biggest marine research institutes in Europe, it focuses on research, advisory work, and monitoring. It strives to cultivate sustainable practices in utilising marine resources.
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences: Another leading Norwegian university, it’s renowned for having a “clear professional-oriented profile”. It’s also known locally as “Høgskulen på Vestlandet”.
NORCE: Headquartered in Bergen, it is a progressive research institute. With multiple offices throughout Norway, it specialises in a wide range of research endeavours.
3. Backing from banks
Many of Greater Bergen’s (and Norway’s) key ocean industries are poised to take a more prominent role in ensuring food security and achieving global sustainability goals. Recognising their value, local Norwegian banks, such as DNB, are open to providing funding for these initiatives.
4. Established network of businesses and start-ups
Outside of its business clusters, Greater Bergen also has an established network of independent local and international businesses. These firms offer clients a high degree of expertise and experience.
This network also includes start-ups and scaleups that are driving innovative research and development in a variety of endeavours, including ocean-based projects.
To sum up….
With the conclusion of THE OCEAN 2021, a wealth of knowledge, insight and perspective was shared. And there was no better place to have this conference than the home of the ocean industries, the city of Bergen.