Innovative solutions to reach the Sustainable Development Goals

Minister of Science and Higher Education Iselin Nybø - Photo:The Mission of Norway to the EU/Yngve Angvik
Minister of Science and Higher Education Iselin Nybø on Norway’s contribution to the SDGs through education, research and innovation. Photo: Mission of Norway to the EU

Norwegian businesses and public institutions displayed innovative solutions to a sustainable future during Norway Day 2018 in Brussels.

The Norwegian Contact Office for Research, Innovation and Education (NorCore) in collaboration with UN Regional Information Centre (UNRIC) and the Norwegian Mission to the EU, hosted the annual “Norway Day” at Norway House in Brussels on June 12. The event gathered more than a hundred participants from the research and innovation community in Brussels.

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The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) call for action by every country, poor and rich, to help end poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

The Norwegian government has taken ownership and established national frameworks in order to achieve the 17 Goals. Norway will give priority to research and education, and facilitate innovation that will help fulfill the sustainable development goals.

Education and research crucial to SDGs

Education and research is highly relevant for all of the 17 Goals, and institutions of higher education are already playing an important role. Norway would like this role to be further strengthened as the new EU programs for education, research and innovation is underway (Erasmus+ and Horizon Europe).

“With the new proposals for EU programs on education, research and innovation, we see that also the future European programs will be essential for Europe to focus and achieve our part of the SDGs” said Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education, Iselin Nybø.

Oceans a strategic priority

Research and innovation in the ‘blue sectors’ is also encouraged as new technologies can contribute to more environmentally friendly forms of harvesting, production and transport.

As the world’s growing population will need more food, medicines, and energy, the oceans hold the key to meeting these needs.

“Oceans is one of the strategic priorities in the long-term plan for research and higher education. Therefore, we strongly welcome the strengthened focus on oceans in the new framework programmes” Nybø said.

Norwegian innovation

A concrete example of a Norwegian initiative contributing to the SDGs is “The Blueye Pioneer”, an underwater drone coming out of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim.

Christine Spiten
Christine Spiten, Co-funder of Blueye Robotics: Providing the world’s finest underwater drone for ocean exploration Photo:The Mission of Norway to the EU/Yngve Angvik

“Education is a vital part of the answer to raise awareness, inspire innovators and gather the information and knowledge we need to make more sustainable solutions” Christine Spiten, Co-founder and Chief Strategic Officer of Blueye Robotics, said during her presentation.

The access to competence and resources from the university has been vital for the development of their technology.

The Minister of Research and Higher Education also highlighted the role of universities:

“It is reassuring to see universities in Norway such as NTNU in Trondheim, University of Bergen, and University of Oslo compete – and collaborate – with each other in contributing to the SDGs” said Nybø.

Also, Morten Wolden, the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Trondheim, presented their work towards a carbon neutral city, before Alf Inge Wang, the creator of the game-based learning platform Kahoot!, showcased “The fine art of making teaching and learning efficient and fun”

Pierre Schellekens
Pierre Schellekens, Deputy Head of Cabinet for Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commission had the closing remarks during Norway Day 2018 Photo:The Mission of Norway to the EU