– These notices are important. We are now more optimistic as we await the Revised National Budget in March, says Anne-Grete Ellingsen, CEO of GCE NODE.
Both in NODE companies and at the University of Agder, which will host the lab, there was disappointment when the National Budget was presented in October, with no funding for the Mechatronics Innovation Lab. Representatives for several political parties argued for public funding for the lab, which needs MNOK 20 in the first year and an additional MNOK 80 to purchase the equipment needed to perform pilot tests.
– Unfortunately, the negotiations between the ruling political parties and their supporting parties did not produce any money for the lab. However, both The Standing Committee on Business and Industry and The Standing Committee on Education, Research and Church Affairs have submitted strong notices, which increase the likelihood of funding for the lab in the revised budget, says Ellingsen.
In a notice, The Standing Committee on Business and Industry says it “considers the establishment of a test and demonstration facility an important instrument to stimulate growth. The initiative is important for strengthening value creation, increasing adaptability and giving small and medium enterprises access to pilot test facilities that are usually reserved for larger corporations. (…) The initiative is an important contribution to strengthening competitiveness in the oil sector, but also in moving more skills and technology from the petroleum sector to the renewable sector.”
“The Committee notes that MIL should be a common arena for research, innovation, development and education, and is a high priority for the Agder region. The Committee notes that MIL will help to meet industry needs for advanced laboratory facilities and will strengthen cooperation with leading research institutions in Norway as well as internationally.“
– We have identified a gap in the Norwegian innovation system, a gap MIL could bridge. We continue to work relentlessly for a lab which would solidify our world-leading position and support a technological transition, says Ellingsen.