Nofima specialising in the bioeconomy
Nofima is strengthening its investment in the bioeconomy by bringing together some of the top researchers at the institute in a multidisciplinary collaboration as part of a strategic research initiative called PepTech.
The centre will be managed by Research Manager Ragnhild Dragøy Whitaker and will link several of Nofima’s research activities across geographical divides and disciplines.
– From a global perspective, it is especially important to look after all raw materials and by-products. It is therefore correct and essential for Nofima to invest their own funds in such a research initiative in order to contribute to the green shift and total utilisation of marine and land resources. We are also delighted that the Norwegian government has made it clear that it will invest in the bioeconomy, says Øyvind Fylling-Jensen, CEO of the food research institute Nofima.
With PepTech, Nofima is investing in a centre that will be a professional lighthouse, enhancing innovation in the food industry through investments in long-term research of high international standard that is converted to specific results for the stakeholders in the industry. In Nofima, the initiative will enhance the coordination and concentration of Nofima’s research funds, increase collaboration within and between the research departments and contribute to increased scientific quality. Nofima will spend around NOK 5 million on the initiative each year.
– Our goal is for PepTech to contribute to strengthening the institute’s recruitment of top researchers, while also aiming to make Nofima more attractive to business and industry, partners and public funding agencies. The model of such a centre can, in terms of objectives, be compared with the Research Council of Norway’s Centre for Research-Driven Innovation (SFI) initiative, but the organisation and funding of the activities will be somewhat different, according to Fylling-Jensen.
In this context, Nofima will ensure that any use of the institute’s basic funding is in accordance with the applicable guidelines set out by the Research Council of Norway.
The goals of the PepTech initiatives are high. The results must lead to specific innovations in industry and the researchers must be among the world leaders when it comes to furthering the subject and field of research. In order to achieve the goals, the researchers must have an extensive national and international network and will collaborate with universities, business and industry and research institutions.
Nofima is already a significant partner in specific innovations. Omega-3 developed from the crustacean copepods is on the market. As is the scented bait Polybait, which is based on odour extracts from residual fish waste. A third example is Marealis’ supplement Systolite, which is based on bioactive peptides from shrimp shells.
The government is in the final phase of its national bioeconomy strategy. Minister of Agriculture Jon Georg Dale, Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland and Minister of Fisheries Per Sandberg are responsible for creating the strategy and the white paper is expected to be presented by the end of the year.