Launching new network for women working with sea and energy

Together with Bergen Teknologioverføring, NORCE and Western Norway University we are establishing "Vest Ut og Fram". This is a network that will recruit women from both industry and research institutions in western Norway. The goal is to increase value creation, competitiveness and adaptability for our partners by contributing to more research projects in the marine and energy industry managed by women.

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Photo: Workgroup, from left: Annette Stephansen (NORCE), Katinka Bratland (BTO), Mona Leirgulen (BTO) og Marit Eggen (HVL). 

In western Norway the largest creation of value takes place in non-renewable energy, maritime and marine sectors. These are traditionally man-dominated industries. The new women's network aims to strengthen women's share in research projects in these sectors.

-It is important for us that the start of the network does not become a target in itself, but that everyone involved should have a real benefit from the network and that we actually start new projects. Innovation, societal- and business challenges will be our main focus, and that is why it is important that academia is also involved. Breaking down barriers are important if we are to succeed in achieving more innovation projects with female project managers, says Annette Fagerhaug Stephansen prosject manager for the network and Senior researcher at NORCE.

One of the challenges for research-based innovation projects is to achieve good cooperation between small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and academia. "Vest Ut og Frem" seeks to strengthen such cooperation by creating a network of committed and motivated young women with an interest in Research and Development (R&D) and innovation and who wish to become or are already project managers.

-In this way we want to get research into practice and practical everyday life into research, explains Stephansen.

It is NORCE, NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster, Høgskulen på Vestlandet and BTO, which has applied for funding from the Norwegian Research Council to establish the network. Through close cluster cooperation, the project has partners represented throughout the Norwegian coast and in the international market.

-In the seafood cluster, we are working hard to increase the expertise and attractiveness of the industry to achieve sustainable growth among our partners. We strongly believe that an innovation network will help boost innovation capacity in a future-oriented industry, says the head of the Seafood Innovation Cluster, Tanja Hoel.

The project is started as a result of the Norwegian Research Council's program FORREGION. The program aims to "increase value creation, competitiveness and adaptability across the country". At least 40% of the funds allocated in the program is aimed at women, but it has proved difficult to achieve this.

-We want to do something about this and have therefore put together a network of women from academia (including PhD candidates) and the industry that will help Western Norway to deliver on FORREGION's goal, says Katinka Bratland, business developer in BTO.

The project will be based on meetings, visits to the industri, information sharing, international field trip and will extend over 16 months.

Do you want to join or know someone who should be in the women's network?

Contact Katinka Bratland for more information: katinka.bratland@bergento.com.

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