Isabelle-Louise Aabel will help GCE NODE and NODE companies tap into EU's funding schemes for research, development and innovation.

Isabelle-Louise Aabel is thrilled by the prospect of working with the European Union. The self-proclaimed ‘EU-nerd’ is GCE NODE’s new EU Advisor.

“I have studied the European Union, I have worked in Brussels and I love the ideas behind EU as a project. This is my dream job,” says the 30-year-old from Kristiansand.

January 2, she will formally start as EU Advisor at GCE NODE. Her main responsibility: Help GCE NODE and NODE companies tap into the vast funding schemes for research, development and innovation that exists within the European Union, and that extends to countries in the European Economic Area, which includes Norway.

Writing applications to Horizon 2020, or any other EU program, is familiar to Aabel. She learnt how to do so during her time with South Norway European Office (Sørlandets Europakontor) in Brussels.

She knows her way around what many consider to be a jungle of red tape and hard-to-find sources of information and support.

“It is not as hard as most people seem to think. But you need to spend some time digging into it, to learn where to look and how to write applications in compliance with the standards set by EU,” says Aabel.

It is a growing understanding of the formidable financial sources that EU provides for research, development and innovation – and the shortcoming in retrieving this kind of financial support to the Agder region – that has led GCE NODE to hire a specialist like Aabel.

“Our region is full of companies with a global mindset. Thus, we should explore the opportunities that a variety of EU programs present to further develop our industry, in cooperation with leading European clusters and companies. We should also consider opportunities offered by EU to expand outside the European market. It makes perfect sense to bring in an EU expert on the cluster level, to help serve all NODE companies gain access to EU funding of new projects,” says Anne-Grete Ellingsen, CEO of GCE NODE.

Aabel has a Master’s degree in Political Science from the University of Agder. She is a former trainee from the renowned Trainee Sør program and a long-time Member of Kristiansand City Council, as a representative for the Labour Party. She is also the leader of Kristiansand Labour Party. She will be asking for leave of all political positions when she starts her job with GCE NODE.