Aanderaa representing SFI Smart Ocean and UiB in Japan

When Nagaoka University of Technology in Japan hosted a hybrid event to showcase links between science and business, UiB’s industry partner Aanderaa stepped up to the challenge. The event originated in the university’s international commitments towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG14), Life Below Water.

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On Tuesday 7 November, Anders Tengberg, who is scientific adviser and product manager at Aanderaa (a part of the global xylem group) and researcher at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, participated in a hybrid event organized by Nagaoka University of Technology (NUT). At the event, various companies presented examples of how business and universities can work better together to find sustainable solutions for the future.

“When we were offered to participate, it immediately sounded exciting. I didn't know how it came about and why they asked. But traditionally our company has had a lot of business in Japan, especially in the 70s and 80s. So, it was exciting for us if this can result in more cooperation with Japanese partners again,” says Tengberg about participating in the event adding that Aanderaa, through xylem, has its own office in Japan.

Aanderaa is an important partner for SFI Smart Ocean.

“They are a key supplier of technical equipment to the centre, e.g., buoys with meters to measure currents, temperature, pressure, and salinity. These deliver data into the Smart Ocean system, so that we can do continual observations,” says SFI Smart Ocean’s Director Ingvar Henne at UiB's Department of Physics and Technology.

“What’s fairly new is that the traditional way is to put equipment out to sea and wait six months for the results. Now, however, we get this data continuously and with data readings every 30 minutes.”

Henne emphasizes the importance for the centre and UiB of being present at international arenas such as the event in Japan and thinks it’s an excellent opportunity to show how the university collaborates with industry partners, including aquaculture.

“It’s important to disseminate knowledge and data from the centre. Indeed, part of our mission is to make that information available. Additionally, it’s important to be visible in an international perspective and attractive for international collaborations. To distinguish ourselves as a centre of expertise in ocean observations and system solutions that can be used for various industries. Within oil, gas and renewable energy at sea and environmental monitoring.”

NUT has been designated by the United Nations Academic Impact (UNAI) as Hub institution for Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and contacted UiB as UNAI's SDG14 Hub, Life Below Water. They were looking for a presentation from an ocean-oriented company partnering with UiB at their hybrid event.

“In the past there was much less collaboration between universities and businesses. But in recent years, both the Research Council of Norway and the EU have found that there should be more collaboration between universities and private companies. Encouraging commercial development both in methodology and technology,” Tengberg says about joining the SFI Smart Ocean project and collaborating with the ocean science environments at UiB.

“It’s fantastic to collaborate with universities to develop products that you intended to work on anyway. Students, PhD candidates and researchers have better time to work on this than in a company, where you don't really have the time or money to do field verifications, for instance. We, on the other hand, can contribute with our knowledge in product development. Through this collaboration, we play to each other's strengths,” Tengberg says.

“The vast majority of researchers and students are interested in having relevance for our industry partners both in value creation and nature management. Collaborating with Aanderaa/xylem creates further relevance for our research and provides added value beyond the purely scientific. We see that our developments are being used and that’s extremely important for developing the sustainable solutions for our ocean,” says Henne.

At the seminar, Tengberg presented several different examples of collaborations Aanderaa has with both SFI Smart Ocean/UiB and other international research institutions.

“In my 26 years with Aanderaa, we have done many projects together with research institutions. It’s great to have PhD candidates who have time to develop and test new technology and use it in various scientific projects. To measure, e.g., models of fjord systems, oxygen, algae production, and other scientific activities,” says Anders Tengberg.