Report on digital biotechnology in Norway released: Faster innovation at a lower cost

Findings from a Centre for Digital Life Norway report into the digitalisation of Norway’s bio economy is unveiled at the Digital Life Conference 2017.

A report into digital technology and its potential for facilitating faster research and development, and generating value within Norway’s biology economy has been launched today, March 21.Screenshot of Centre for Digital Life report

The report, ‘Digital Biology in Norway – Opportunities for Creating Value, Skills Needs, and Challenges in Economic Development’, was formally unveiled at the annual Digital Life Conference in Oslo.

The report is the culmination of extensive research and reporting from a project group that includes the University of Oslo’s Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Mathematics and Natural sciences.

UiO and NCMM team behind the report

The Digital Life Norway (DLN) project group from UiO consists of the following:

Innovation and Industry Involvement team:

  • Director of NCMM, Professor Kjetil Tasken (NCMM, MED)
  • Coordinator: Dr Tove Julie Evjen (MED), and first author of the report

In-reach & outreach communication team:

  • Professor Kjetill S. Jakobsen (IBV, MN)
  • Coordinator: Dr Gunnar Dick (MN)

Erland Skogli and Kaja-Høiseth Gilje from Menon Economics, alongside the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) team at Digital Life Norway also contributed to the report.

Methods used to collate the report

The report, which combines data from over 150 companies and other stakeholders in the sector, was created from both the responses to a questionnaire-based survey, and semi-structured interviews. These methods examined the current involvement in digital biotech, the use of digital tools for data gathering, data processing, modelling and simulation, and the challenges that the sector faces along the innovation chain in terms of being able to adopt and facilitate more digitalisation.

It also identifies the key stakeholders for Digital Life Norway, and addresses the current digital competence needs of the sector. Participants surveyed for the report were both digital and biotechnology companies.

The report can be read in full here: DEN DIGITALE BIOTEKNOLOGIEN I NORGE. Muligheter for verdiskaping, kompetansebehov og utfordringer i næringsutvikling PDF, in Norwegian only.

Below is a short summary of some of the key findings:

Digital technology could greatly improve time and cost savings, whilst improving innovation

The report found that digital technologies in the biology industry in Norway have great potential for reducing the long research and development cycle, and for cutting the high costs traditionally associated with biotechnology. One example that the report underlines is the time and money saved in the production of pharmaceuticals, thanks to the optimisation of the production process of a pharma product by implementing modelling tools.

The report also found that the digitalisation of the bio economy in Norway could help to increase innovation and research and development efficiency, whilst reducing costs and facilitating more business development.

Interaction between businesses and academia needs to improve

Alongside opportunities, the report also uncovered some of the challenges that the industry currently faces when it comes to adopting digital technologies:

  • There is an unmet need for digital competencies; including competence from within data analytics and computational methods
  • There is a big need to improve interactions between academia and business; lack of time and resource means networking and partnerships between the two are very hard to facilitate
  • There is a need for the right investors with experience of Norwegian digital biotech

Digitalisation holds huge potential for the Norwegian bio economy

In summary, the report found that:

  • Integration of bio and software represent a huge potential within the Norwegian bio economy.
  • Digitalisation of biotech may increase innovation and R&D efficiency, reduce costs and facilitate business development.
  • DLN and other authorities should accommodate the need for digital competence and interactions in the innovation value chain.

About Centre for Digital Life NorwayCentre for Digital Life Norway logo

Centre for Digital Life Norway (DLN) is a national centre for biotechnology research and innovation. The centre is a result of the Research Council of Norway’s strategic priority: "Digital life - convergence of innovation".

One quarter billion NOK has been allocated to fund DLN with six major research projects, as well as a network project. DLN is a virtual centre, and involves participants from throughout Norway under the leadership of three universities; Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), University of Oslo (UiO) and University of Bergen (UiB). All three host the centre together.

To find out more about Centre for Digital Life Norway, visit the Centre for Digital Life Norway website.

By Annabel Darby
Published Mar. 21, 2017 1:00 PM - Last modified Mar. 21, 2017 5:05 PM