Daily Archives: Friday June 17th, 2016

Look to Israel?

Eystein 2A few weeks ago I heard a talk by Professor Ulf Landegren from Uppsala University about innovation and commercialization of research. Landegren himself has developed innovative molecular tools for measuring DNA, RNA and proteins in blood and tissues, resulting in a large number of patents and companies including Olink (www.olink.com).
Landegren also delved on how governments and universities facilitate innovation and presented a figure that shows proportion of GDP spent on R&D in relation to number of scientists and engineers. The figure was taken from an article in Nature Immunology (Kollias and Lambris, 2015) in which Greek researchers pointed out everything that did not work in Greece in general and in Greek research policies in particular. They mention, among other things, politically driven research with no clear strategy, no real evaluation of money spent, and when evaluations are performed they lead nowhere.Chart
Research and development (R&D) versus scientists / engineers per million. Size of the circle reflects the size of the amounts used for R&D.

Not surprisingly, Norway spends the lowest amount of money on R&D compared to our Nordic neighbors, despite broad political consensus that we should spend more. After all, we are “one of the richest countries in the world.” Another striking feature that puts us on what Landegren thinks is the wrong part of the ball park (with Greece), is that Norway has a high proportion of researchers per million inhabitants compared to available R&D funds. At first glance it may seem good to have many scientists, but limited research and innovation funds allocated to many scientists might produce mediocre results in many areas instead of groundbreaking research that can be commercialized and create new industries and jobs. In the opposite end of the field you find Israel as an outlier with a 4.3% share of GDP spent on R&D spread over about 1600 researchers per million. Perhaps there is a connection between this research policy and the fact that Israel produces more high-tech start ups than countries like Britain, Canada and China. Maybe we have something to learn by looking to Israel and our Nordic neighbors.

I wish you all a good weekend!



The HSE Corner

Invitation to user training in EcoExposure – reminder

UiB and K2 will use EcoExposure as exposure registry for staff and students who may be exposed to substances that can cause serious illnesses over time. Bente-Lise Lillebø from the HSE department will visit K2 and teach us how we as users must register exposure.

Time: Thursday, 23 June, 12.30 to 13.30
Location: Auditorium 4, BB-building.


Horizon 2020 – input on the Advisory Group report

The Advisory Group (AG) report for Social Challenges in health, demographic change and quality of life (SC1) is now available. The report is advisory for the design of the work programme for SC1 for the period 2018-2020. This is described in the preface. The AG report will be used as the basis for discussions at the meeting between the AG and the programme committee on 21 September 2016. The programme comittee will provide input on behalf of Norway. Good suggestions paves the way for this.

Input on the report can be sent to Kristin Andersen (kran@rcn.no), no later than Thursday 30 June. Suggestions and comments must be entered in the attached form.

AG advice report 2018-2020