Statoil to support UiB research

Statoil is to fund energy research at UiB by NOK 55 million over the next five years.

Poles of a high-voltage power line, used to illustrate article about energy research at University of Bergen.
POWERING THE FUTURE: The new agreement between energy provider Statoil and the University of Bergen is researcher-initiated and not contract research.

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“The funding will enhance the University of Bergen’s capability to invest in research that also contributes to renewable energy and energy conversion,” says Rector Dag Rune Olsen about the agreement that was signed in the middle of October 2013.

Shared strategic goals

The main purpose of the agreement between the Norwegian energy company Statoil and UiB is to further develop the strong research ties between the two organisations. UiB will receive NOK 11 million annually for each of the five next years. The extra funds will be used to stimulate basic research and education in strategically important disciplines for both Statoil and UiB, encompassing petroleum, unconventional resources and renewable energy research.

“This agreement is important for UiB because it strengthens our capability to conduct research, innovation and our education in energy-related studies at Master’s and PhD level,” says Professor Geir Anton Johansen, who also heads UiB’s Department of Physics and Technology. “It will also help to encourage collaboration across disciplines and institutions.”

“Many people at the university are involved in this work,” says Rector Olsen. “Not only researchers from the natural sciences. Research in social sciences and law are equally important if we are to move towards a society of renewable energy.”

No contract research

Rector Olsen is particularly pleased with the terms and conditions of the agreement with Statoil.

“This is a model deal for us, because there are no academic constraints on the research in this agreement,” says Olsen. “The projects granted funding would be researcher initiated. There will be no contract research.”

According to the agreement, Statoil are not considered to be either an employer or contractor in relation to the researchers or the research performed.

Funding committee

Professor Johansen heads the managing committee that will allocate funding, which will primarily be allocated towards basic research and research-based education. The other UiB members of the committee are Professor Lise Øvreås, the vice dean at UiB's Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, and Professor Knut Helland, who is the dean of UiB’s Faculty of Social Sciences. Statoil has three members on the committee: Sigrun Merethe Løkkebø, Bård Krokan and Leif Lømo.

(Translation: Sverre Ole Drønen.)