Members of the consortium laying down the digital foundation stone for Bergen's new Cognitive Center. From left: Anne Jacobsen (NCE Media), Björgolfur Hávardsson (NCE Seafood Innovation), Håvard Myklebust (NCE Media/Fonn Group), Håkon Pettersen (City of Bergen), Loek Wredenberg (IBM), Geir Mikalsen (Bergen Chamber).

New center to boost Greater Bergen’s AI skills

A new center is aiming to bring vital expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) to the Bergen region.

The national centre for cognitive science will provide deeper knowledge around the benefits of AI, allowing both companies and residents to benefit from this growing field.

The Cognitive Center is a collaboration between industry clusters in the Bergen region, the City of Bergen, Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry, VIS Innovation, Helse Vest and several of the academic institutions in Bergen.

With IBM acting as its technology partner, the center will provide expertise and resources to industries that want to explore artificial intelligence.

It will also provide a platform for the City of Bergen to improve and modernize public services for the city’s residents.

“Bergen is a city of ambitions, and a city where the going business model is cross industry collaboration,” says Anne Jacobsen, CEO of the NCE Media business cluster.

“This might very well be the largest and broadest cross industry and public sector initiative in the history of this city.”

Björgolfur Hávardsson, Innovation Manager in NCE Seafood Innovation, presenting the next step for AI project "AquaCloud", highlighting how important the Cognitive Center will be in developing new insight and business for cluster partners.  

A new “center of gravity” for artificial intelligence

The Cognitive Center was launched at the Media City Bergen building with a digital foundation stone ceremony, performed by members of the consortium.

This included Björgolfur Hávardsson, R&D Manager, NCE Seafood Innovation; Håvard Myklebust Chairman of NCE Media/CEO Fonn Group; Håkon Pettersen, Deputy Mayor of Finance, City of Bergen; Loek Wredenberg, CTO IBM; and Geir Mikalsen, VP Marketing & Communications, Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

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In the short term, the center will seek to establish projects within industries such as aquaculture, media, finance, tourism and real estate.

The center’s long‑term ambition is to develop a strong foundation of AI expertise in Greater Bergen, something that is in high demand across many sectors.

According to Jacobsen, “We want the Bergen region to act as a center of gravity for artificial intelligence. This will be a key factor in attracting both talent and foreign investment to our region.”


281,445 good reasons

However, it’s not just companies that will benefit from the new scheme.

Håkon Pettersen, Bergen’s Deputy Mayor of Finance, notes that the city’s residents also stand to gain from the new, high‑tech cognitive center. 

“We have 281,445 good reasons why we should work even closer with the industry and the business community in the use of artificial intelligence,” Pettersen explains.

“That’s why we are joining the clusters, the academia, and IBM to develop the National Cognitive Center based in Bergen.”

“We will be contributing by making more data, useful to the city, the academic institutions, the business community and the citizens available. Our goal is that the center will help modernize, simplify and improve the services for our citizens.”

Greater Bergen's new Cognitive Center will be located in the Media City Bergen building, alongside the offices of the NCE Media and NCE Finance Innovation business clusters.

Important AI expertise

The ambitions for the cognitive center are also to create new high competence and high-tech jobs, which will be much sought‑after by companies in future.

A recent survey from Bergen Chamber, where digital competence in the region were mapped, showed that one-third of the companies in the region found it challenging to obtain adequate and relevant digital competence in their workforce.

“The most significant shortage of expertise when it comes to new technologies, is in artificial intelligence. The cognitive center will therefore match need from the industry,” says Geir Mikalsen, VP Marketing & Communications, Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For now, the center will be located in Media City Bergen, where NCE Media already has established a cross sector environment for project development, prototyping and innovation.

Several new partners will be included into the consortium on an ongoing basis, as the cognitive center will have an open innovation platform.


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