Centre for Geobiology

Expanding our senses using technology

Much is unknown about Norway’s marine potential. Rolf Birger Pedersen, Professor at the Centre for Geobiology (CGB) says that much awaits to be discovered.

Ribbon cutting
Prime Minister Erna Solberg cuts the "ribbon" to officially the Norwegian Ocean Laboratory, Monday 30 May 2016
Cedric Hamelin

Main content

Norway has 7 times as much ocean as land per person. It includes a broad diversity of environments such as fjords, coastal shelves, deep-sea basins, and mid-oceanic ridges. Advances in technology are enhancing our “senses” enabling researchers to be able to make ground-breaking discoveries in this marine world. As a nation, Norway is uniquely positioned to play an international leadership role in marine research in the new knowledge-based economy that is replacing today’s resource-based one.


Prime Minister Erna Solberg officially opens the Norwegian Ocean Laboratory

Monday 30 May 2016, Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg officially opened the Norwegian Ocean Laboratory (Norsk havelaboratorium) in Marine Robotics. University of Bergen (UiB),  Rector, Dag Rune Olsen, and Institute of Marine Research (IMR) Director, Sissel Rogne, hosted the Opening. The Marineholmen facilities are filled with cutting-edge marine technology and will provide a centralised infrastructure for Norwegian marine research. It is funded through several infrastructure programmes at the Research Council of Norway (RCN) as well as by a number of industrial actors including KG Jebsen.

Formally, the Laboratory is a collaboration between UiB, IMR and the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI). However, it represents a unique collaboration between academia and industry. Researchers from UiB, IMR and FFI have been building relationships with Norwegian industrial partners for years.


Researchers were primary driving forces

Rolf Birger Pedersen and Olav Rune Godø, from IMR, have been the driving forces behind the establishment of the Norwegian Ocean Laboratory. Godø explains that it will be a creative laboratory where the best actors within the marine, maritime and subsea milieux, both academic and industrial, will be gathered to continue to research and develop new, innovative and effective technical approaches together. Pedersen and Godø both believe that this synergy is critical to optimising marine research to meet both current and future challenges. They are also planning for the on-going and future development of the Laboratory by planning a programme in engineering studies that will be based there.



Erna Solberg, Norwegian Prime Minister

Bergen plays a central role in Norwegian marine research.

The sea contains vast amounts of as yet unexploited resources. Greater knowledge is key to a better understanding of these, particularly as this understanding appears to be critical to solving some of the challenges we are facing today.

With the Norwegian Ocean Laboratory, Bergen has united its research and industrial expertise and is well positioned competitively to face a world that is increasingly technology driven. It supports Norway’s goal of being a world leader in marine questions, including how to exploit marine resources sustainably.


Dag Rune Olsen, Rector, UiB

In addition to facilitating innovative, multi-disciplinary research activity, the Norwegian Ocean Laboratory will contribute to the further development of Bergen as a marine leader, both nationally and internationally.


Rolf Birger Pedersen, Professor, previous Director Centre for Geobiology, UiB

The deep sea is a fantastic area that we know relatively little about. In Norwegian deep waters we can find volcanoes, hydrothermal vents and many unique, unknown ecosystems. Much remains to be discovered.

The Norwegian Ocean Laboratory brings together the major players in marine research and technology in one place. It will be a meeting place for the next generation of marine researchers and technologists.

The Norwegian Ocean Laboratory will support the establishment of an engineering programme in marine observational technology.


Olave Rune Godø, Senior Researcher, IMR

Bergen is renowned for its world-class deep sea technology capacity. Previously directed towards the energy sector, it may be that this expertise may now be able to be used in other deep sea activites.


Much was reported in the Norwegian press: