Mayors of all 30 municipalities and both counties in Agder have sent a letter to Minister of Trade and Industry in support of Mechatronics Innovation Lab.

– This is a loud and clear message to Minister Monica Mæland, says Anne-Grete Ellingsen, CEO of GCE NODE.

The letter, which is copied to Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Minister of Education and Research Torbjørn Røe Isaksen and all the MPs from Agder, strongly emphasizes the need for a pilot-test lab to support industry innovation.

A pilot-testing lab is extremely important for NODE companies to maintain their competitive edge. New equipment must be qualified for the market. This requires extensive testing and documentation, which is why a lab for pilot-testing is essential.

NODE companies are already committed to spending MNOK 50 in the lab that is not yet built. Skeie Group has given MNOK 10 and Ugland Eiendom is ready to build the necessary buildings.

– The oil and gas industry in Norway is undoubtedly in a critical period. There is a need to develop new and more cost-effective technologies and solutions. NODE is also focusing on opportunities in other industries where our cluster expertise and technology can be used. Several NODE companies are already suppliers to other energy and industrial sectors, says Ellingsen.

The letter asks for MNOK 20 in the revised national budget for 2015, and an additional MNOK 80 in the national budget for 2016. “In order to establish a national center for research and development and piloting in Grimstad, it is necessary that the state contributes, “the letter reads.