After a good ten months of planning, an agreement on a binding and strategic collaboration in the form of Bergen Marine Research Cluster was finally signed yesterday by Christian Michelsen Research AS, Fiskeriforsking AS, the Institute of Marine Research, Helse Bergen HF health enterprise, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre, the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research, Unifob AS and the University of Bergen. The new research cluster will promote Bergen as a contact point in marine research, and aims to become a major player at the international level.
Professor Haugan, who is head of the Geophysical Institute, will manage the work of the new cluster. He points out that the eight partners are enterprises which would in all probability also have done very well on their own, but that the Bergen Marine Research Cluster enables the researchers to take on new challenges.
“Today, we face an increasing number of issues for which it is not sufficient to be an expert in a limited field. There is an increasing need for interdisciplinary work, and the creation of Bergen Marine Research Cluster is a decisive contribution in enabling us to face new challenges in an effective manner,” says Mr Haugan.
Through basic and applied research, Bergen Marine Research Cluster hopes to present innovative result which can form the basis for advising the business community and administrative bodies.
Bergen Marine Research Cluster’s central priority areas cover a wide range of research. Climate research will play a key role, and the cluster aims to become an international leader in the field of understanding and monitoring the climate, as well as in terms of knowledge about the effects of climate changes. The marine environment and resources and marine technology have also been defined as priority areas.
“The oceans cover about 70 per cent of the earth’s surface, and there is still a great need for cost-effective monitoring methods. We wish to be part of this field,” says Mr Haugan.
The interdisciplinary collaboration makes it possible to work in the marine field from a new and more unconventional angle, and the broad topic “From ocean to health” is another of Bergen Marine Research Cluster’s priority areas. Research on seafood and health, among other things, is seen as a natural part of a complete research environment.
“Lifestyle-related illnesses make up almost half of all cases of illness, and the importance of a diet which includes seafood is emphasised as part of the fight against these illnesses. But it is not enough to say that seafood is good for you. Research must document the facts, and research-based knowledge in this area is essential,” says Peter M. Haugan.
The University of Bergen is one of the new partners, and Prorector Anne Gro Vea Salvanes has a great deal of faith in the new agreement.
“We know that we have the best marine research environment right here in Bergen. Hopefully, the joint profiling will make others share our view of Bergen’s leading role,” she says with a smile.
Prorector Salvanes is far from the only one who has great hopes about Bergen Marine Research Cluster. Commissioner Henning Warloe, who also took part in the establishment ceremony yesterday, made it clear that Bergen Marine Research Cluster also has the City of Bergen on its side.
“I feel that the cluster represents the cutting edge in research, and the City of Bergen will do its best to facilitate its development,” says Mr Warloe.