With its close ties to the ocean and ocean industries, Greater Bergen is set to grow as a blue economy hub
Greater Bergen has always had a close connection with the ocean. Hence, the region is committed to the ocean’s – and the ocean industries’ – sustainable management. This commitment, coupled with its vast ecosystems, is why the region is poised to become a key hub for the global blue economy.
As the home of the ocean industries, one of Greater Bergen’s advantages has always been its ecosystems. These are comprehensive and collaborative networks operating within the region’s ocean industries.
These ecosystems bring together academia, government, and industry to solve national challenges, contribute global solutions and create value. This has built Greater Bergen’s reputation as a key hub for these ocean industries. Moreover, it has laid the foundation for its contribution to the global blue economy and set the tone for its various joint projects.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre was named Co-Chair for the Ocean
Panel (Photo © NTB Communication-Prime Ministers office)
“The oceans are a common good and are of crucial importance for human and planetary health, for the climate and food security, for local job markets and for the global economy,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, who was made co-chair of the international Ocean Panel in 2021.
The Shaping European Research Leaders for Marine Sustainability (SEAS) programme is a good example.
Organised by the University of Bergen, this programme will take on 37 postdoctoral researchers who will work towards contributing knowledge for a more sustainable marine future. Additionally, the programme aims to cultivate them into future research leaders, providing opportunities for them to contribute to key investigative and industrial pursuits.
“We are seeking the best and most motivated scholars from all over the world for these positions, which cover a wide field of marine subjects from deep water research to the health effects of new and existing marine foods,” said Amund Maage, SEAS Programme Coordinator.
(interview with Amund Maage)
Norway’s oil and natural gas sector has been vital to its growth. However, with the need to reduce its carbon footprint, Norway has sought to develop alternative, renewable energy sources that will contribute to both the national and blue economies.
Offshore wind energy is poised to experience significant industrial growth in Greater Bergen, thanks to the region’s wealth of resources and offshore knowledge
(Photo © SINTEF)
A key focus has been offshore wind, which is expected to experience significant growth as both an energy supplier and industry.
“Offshore wind will be the most important electricity provider in Europe by 2040 and this requires a major upscaling of the industry in the years to come,” said Finn Gunnar Nielsen. A professor at the University of Bergen, he also serves as the Director of the Bergen Offshore Wind Centre (BOW). This centre conducts numerous research projects relevant to offshore wind.
The Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE) has also been working actively within the realm of offshore wind power. In addition, it’s currently conducting research on alternative energy sources such as hydrogen, geothermal energy, and carbon capture and storage.
Another driver for this alternative energy research has been GCE Ocean Technology. This Bergen-based industry cluster, consisting of various industrial and academic actors, is involved in the development of ocean technology for a wide variety of uses. Like many of Greater Bergen’s clusters, sustainability and innovation are key drivers for GCE Ocean Technology.
Fishing and Aquaculture
Fishing and fish farming has been a big part of Greater Bergen’s history. Today, it is a key, multi-billion kroner industry.
Several of the world’s leading fish producers and exporters - Mowi, Lerøy and Grieg Seafood - are based in Bergen and committed to sustainability. But these industry powerhouses are not the only contributors to this aspect of the blue economy.
Within Bergen’s seafood and aquaculture ecosystem is NCE Seafood Innovation. Focusing on sustainability through innovation, this industry cluster is made up of state, private and public entities. They all work towards sustainable seafood growth through collaboration and cooperation.
Like the fishing industry, shipping and shipbuilding have been an integral part of Greater Bergen’s history. Today, the region is home to multiple commercial and industrial ports.
With Norway having the 5th largest fleet in the world, roughly 40% of that fleet is owned in and operated from Bergen. This has made Bergen one of the foremost port cities in the world. It is also home to a number of shipping firms and organisations that are developing the next generation of emissions-free vessels.
Driving this wave of next-gen maritime travel are Maritime Bergen and NCE Maritime CleanTech. Among others, these clusters focus on developing new clean maritime solutions with commercial potential. This includes research projects involving the production of new, zero-emissions ocean vessels and fuel alternatives, such as electrification, batteries, hydrogen, ammonia and so on.
Moving Towards a Blue Future
Greater Bergen has the framework and tools to significantly contribute to the global blue economy. While there is undoubtedly more work to be done moving forward, the region is on track to play a key role in this economy.
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