“We have encountered forces that advocated an alternative location for MIL; Oslo, Trondheim, Bergen. But in the end, it is hard to argue against the global market position our industry enjoys and the University in Agder’s leading position within mechatronics. Grimstad is the natural location for MIL,” says Ellingsen.
She sees MIL as an opportunity for companies to speed up innovation and reduce time-to-market for new services and products.
“The world-leading supply industry in Agder is continuously innovating new solutions to improve efficiency and reduce cost and environmental footprint. A test facility like MIL is a long awaited tool, which will assist the industry in maintaining its global position. It will also attract more investments to Agder,” says Ellingsen.
She has been a strong supporter and advocate for the lab, and has worked relentlessly to ensure the necessary political support and funding.
“We are very pleased with the way all good forces in Agder have come together to make MIL a political priority. This has resulted in MNOK 100 in funding from the government. Minister of Industry and Trade Monica Mæland has ensured funding that enable MIL to be equipped with state-of-the-art equipment,” says Ellingsen.
She commends Ugland for building the lab, labor organizations LO, NITO and Tekna for their support, and the University of Agder for its role in making the lab a reality. She also thanks all MPs from Agder and in particular representatives from The Christian Democratic Pary and The Liberal Party, who fought for MIL in the budget negotiations.
“Companies in GCE NODE have also played vital roles, highlighting the industrial potential, contributing with equipment and letters-of-intent. We are very excited to see MIL open and look forward to contributing to its success,” says Ellingsen.