Merging institutions (left-right): CEO of Agderforskning Roger Normann, CEO of CMR Arild Nøttvedt, CEO of Uni Research Aina M. Berg, CEO of IRIS Kristin Flornes and CEO of Teknova Thor Arne Håverstad.

A new research company aims to make the southern and western part of Norway a leader in research, innovation and value creation.

Five leading research institutions merge into one large company. The institutions are Uni Research (Bergen), Christian Michelsen Research (Bergen), IRIS (Stavanger), Agderforskning (Kristiansand) and Teknova (Grimstad).

The merger is based on an agreement reached by the owners of the five companies; University of Bergen, Stiftelsen Universitetsforskning, University of Stavanger, Stiftelsen Rogalandsforskning, University of Agder and Stiftelsen Agderforskning.

“Building larger research institutions is essential for a small country like ours. We will now have two Norwegian research giants. They will enter in to a healthy competition for projects and funding, which will benefit both companies and Norway,” said Minister of Industry and Trade Monica Mæland when the merger was made public at an event during Arendalsuka.

The new research company will have a turnover of more than NOK 1 billion and more than 900 employees with extensive research expertise in a number of disciplines, especially within different technologies.

“The company will be significantly more powerful, better coordinated and positioned than the five companies were individually. Research is an increasingly international market, which makes size relevant. The new company will also be able to contribute positively to the cooperation with the high-tech industry clusters in southern Norway,” says Seunn Smith-Tønnessen, Director at the University of Agder.

Two of the five companies involved in the merger are IRIS and Teknova, both GCE NODE participants. CEO of IRIS, Kristin Flornes, describes the merger as ‘a necessity’.

“We need to build bigger and stronger entities. The new company will cover several disciplines with a combined larger number of competent people. This will enable us to compete internationally,” says Flornes.

CEO of Teknova Thor Arne Håverstad says the new research giant will be a major player in digital transformation, ocean space, oil and gas and renewable energy.

“GCE NODE and its participating companies will benefit from having a bigger research partner with more complementary competence,” says Håverstad.

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The owners of the five research institutions sat down for a quick meeting following the announcement in Arendal.


Uni Research AS

  • Owners: UiB (85 %), Stiftelsen Unifob (15%).
  • Turnover 2016: MNOK 395.
  • Employees: 433.


  • Owners: UiB (50%), Uni Research AS (35%). Others (15%): CGG Marine Resources Norge AS, Statoil Technology Invest AS, Sparebanken Vest.
  • Turnover 2016: MNOK 297.
  • Employees: 211.


  • Owners: UiS (50%), Stiftelsen Rogalandsforskning (50%).
  • Turnover 2016: MNOK 305.
  • Employees: 198.

Agderforskning AS:

  • Owners: UiA (50,1%), Stiftelsen Agderforskning (49,9%).
  • Turnover 2016: MNOK 39.
  • Employees: 37.

Teknova AS:

  • Owners: J. Ugland Venture AS (29,3%), Agder Energi AS (17,5%), Skeie Group AS (13,2%), Stiftelsen Agderforskning (11%). Others (29,2%): UiA, MH Wirth AS, Elkem AS, Agderforskning AS, Sparebanken Sør.
  • Turnover 2016: MNOK 27.
  • Employees: 24.