Moving the Digital Life Sciences in Norway towards increased innovation
Publication date: 27 June 2022 | Report language: EN
This is the second report in a project called “A roadmap for academic research-intensive innovation”, commissioned on behalf of the Digital Life Norway (DLN) project by the University of Oslo. The project is in three parts. The first report (labelled “AS IS”) discussed DLN and its context in the Norwegian research and innovation system and pinpointed issues and weaknesses in the system that could be improved to increase the innovation rate from academic research. This second report (with the working name “TO BE”) involves looking at and learning from good examples internationally and is intended to inform DLN’s work in devising its own roadmap. A subsidiary goal is to inform relevant parts of research and innovation policy in Norway. DLN will produce a third report in the form of a road map and action plan.
The AS IS report found that the Norwegian innovation system relevant to life science and convergence-based innovation was in many respects strong, but also that DLN faces significant challenges:
- Links between research and the demand side as well as with broader innovation ecosystems are weak
- Innovation skills and culture are deficient in the university system
- The TTO system is narrowly focused on traditional, patent-based ways to exploit new knowledge so that universities’ knowledge exchange activities as a whole are impeded
- For different reasons in different sectors, R&D and innovation capacity in DLN-relevant industry in Norway is limited, and it is harder to extend links to industry abroad than at home
- The difficulty of linking research to the demand side is not limited to the obvious direct users of knowledge but is complicated by the need to address well-functioning value chains.
- DLN has limited means to steer its research portfolio towards the needs of the demand side Following the completion of the AS IS report, we built on the AS IS results to construct a list of R&I-related domains relevant to generating DLN’s road map. We used these domains to structure our analysis of international practice in this report. The domains cover the challenges identified in the AS IS such as building interdisciplinary capacity, sources of funding and investment, the role of innovation ecosystems and the demand side, culture, incentives and the operationalisation of RRI in innovation support. We selected thirteen examples of good and interesting practice relating to these domains in DLN’s four focus sectors: biomarine; food and agriculture; healthcare; and industrial biotechnology. This report contains our synthesis of the detailed lessons for each domain and concludes with a set of higher-level indications, in general and for each of the seven domains, intended to contribute both to DLN’s future practice and to Norwegian policy more widely. This volume is structured in two parts. PART 1 presents the higher-level lessons from the study for both DLN and the policy level in Norway. It can be read as an extended summary. PART 2 explains our methods and presents the more detailed findings of the study. We present the case studies on which the study is based in a separate volume.