Posts Tagged ‘research’

Angela Lamont Lunar Mission One
60David Nikel

David NikelFebruary 12, 2015

Crowdfunding a Mission to Space

We are thrilled to welcome back Angela Lamont to Trondheim to deliver one of our Technoport 2015 keynotes. Luckily for us, she’s just as excited!

“I love Technoport! It has a unique blend of some unconventional, outside-the-box thinking with the more traditional “enquiring mind” way of examining things. I like the fact that it’s different, almost experimental, yet very pertinent to practical things.”

Angela is an award-winning broadcaster famous in the UK for bringing science to the mainstream through the BBC children’s show “It’ll Never Work”. Since then she’s presented from places as diverse as Buckingham Palace, the top of a volcano in Japan and from a fishing boat in a force 8 gale (whilst doing her own sound recording, as the sound man was out of action below decks).

She’s coming to Technoport 2015 to talk about her newest project, Lunar Mission One, where she works as a Director.

If you haven’t heard about Lunar Mission One, prepare yourself to hear about one of the most inspiring open research projects we’ve heard about in a long time. An exploratory robotic mission, it will use innovative drilling technology to deliver extraordinary new insights into the origins of the Moon and the Earth.

Lunar Mission One will also be a driver for learning more about our own planet and its history. The project will help fund an open digital record of life on Earth – of human history and civilisation, and a scientific description of the biosphere with a database of species. Publically owned and accessible to all, the Public Archive is a hugely ambitious plan that could only be resourced by a project of this scale.

Angela LamontAngela explains what the exploration aspect of the mission is all about:

“Despite being categorised as a space mission, it’s really an incredibly wide project. We need engineering technologies, not just space technology but things like drilling. We need analytics similar to what happened with the Rosetta project but instead of a comet we’ll be doing it on the moon. We’re even seeking new digital storage technology, with the capability to last a billion years. With technologies changing so fast, that’s not straightforward.”

“We’ll be storing two types of time capsule. One is an archive of life on earth, species, technology, culture and so on, with the help of partners such as big museums. Also, anyone can buy a digital memory box and decide what to send to the moon. Some people will send their family tree, some people will write a day in their life, keen photographers will store their photos in it, schools around the world will collaborate, and someone is even sending their top secret chocolate cake recipe!”

But how to pay for this?

Public money for these types of projects has been limited, so Angela and her team have turned to a subject close to Technoport’s heart: crowdfunding.

“Originally, we planned for space agency funding, a small amount of Government seed funding and other traditional space funding routes. As budgets got slashed, things weren’t moving forward so we had no other option. The nature of the project was always to be global collaboration to produce the most interactive space project in history. If it was traditionally funded, people would watch it with interest, but they wouldn’t any ownership. By crowdfunding, people all around the world can buy into the project, feel part of it and stay a part of it forever.”

“By choosing the unconvential route of crowdfunding, we are actually better able to meet our original objectives.”

Hear the full story at Technoport 2015

Angela will tell the Lunar Mission One story, focusing on the crowdfunding process and lessons learned during the project to date. Join us in Trondheim, Norway, on 18 & 19 March.

Technology Sector in Trondheim
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 21, 2015

The State of Trondheim’s Technology Sector

The Trondheim region is home to 554 technology companies employing over 10,000 people, generating more than NOK 14.4bn (USD $1.9bn) in revenues, according to a new report.

The Impello Analysis is an annual report from the Trondheim-based advisory firm Impello Management AS. Every year since 1996, the report analyses the state of the technology sector across the Trondheim region, which encompasses Orkdal, Melhus, Malvik, Leksvik, Stjørdal, Rissa, Midtre Gauldal, Klæbu, Skaun and the city of Trondheim itself.

The report highlights two companies for their impressive growth. Norbit ITS AS is one of the three leading European providers of road tolling systems. Their revenue grew by 209 % from 2012 to 2013. One Voice AS develop tools for risk management and crisis management and have seen 48% average revenue growth (CAGR) from 2009 to 2013.

What Trondheim offers the world

In addition to providing analysis on the raw numbers, the report asks key figures from Norway’s political and business environment challenging questions about the future of Trondheim as a technology city, providing a nice narrative to frame the report’s findings.

Monica Mæland, Norway’s Minister for Trade and Industry, says in the report:

“The amazing research and educational institutions are a driving force behind the technology industry in Trondheim. And not least, the close collaboration between those academic institutions and businesses. What happens in this environment fits nicely with the Government initiatives in areas such as oceans and energy.”

“I must also say that Nobel Prize winners May-Britt and Edvard Moser are evidence not only for the outstanding efforts they have made in medicine, but also of Trondheim’s strength in research.” – (translated from Norwegian)

Following the report’s publication this week, Professor Johan E. Hustad, Prorector of Innovation at NTNU, said the focus of the University was paying off:

“This year’s report again highlights the importance of placing innovation and entrepreneurship high on the agenda at NTNU, to create spin-off enterprises from the work of our employees and our students. Turning cutting-edge technologies and new ideas into companies with global potential is of the upmost importance in a country that basically relies on natural resources like hydropower, oil and gas as well as fisheries and aquaculture.”

Revolve NTNU electric racing car

Revolve NTNU electric racing car

Bridging the gap

It’s in this space between knowledge and business that Technoport seeks to make a difference. Our 2015 conference will attempt to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset in Norway’s researchers, students, and others working in the “knowledge economy”, to help bridge the gap between great research and commercial success. Technoport CEO Gøril Forbord explains:

“Our goal is to stimulate innovation locally, nationally and internationally. We promote discussion about innovation and arrange conferences and events where people can meet. That’s it, simply because we believe innovation will happen when people meet. We can help to further develop Trondheim’s technology sector by innovating ourselves to create better arenas for networking and facilitate more connections between academia and business.

“One thing we can’t lose sight of is the needs of the individual entrepreneur. Technoport is funded by Governmental organiations and large businesses, but it’s important for us all to remember it’s people, not organisations, that create innovation.”

Discuss what’s next for Trondheim

Join us in Trondheim, Norway, on 18 & 19 March as we seek to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset at Technoport 2015.

EU Innovation Funding
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 8, 2014

EU Launches Horizon 2020 Innovation Fund

The European Commission has presented calls for projects under Horizon 2020 – a €15 billion fund aimed at building Europe’s knowledge-driven economy and tackling issues that will make a difference to people’s lives.

A grand plan indeed.

Substantial support will be provided for innovation activities directly aiming at producing plans and arrangements or designs for new, altered or improved products, processes or services. There are three initial channels of funding for 2014:

Excellent Science

Around €3 billion, including €1.7 billion for grants from the European Research Council for top scientists and €800 million for Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowships for younger researchers.

Industrial Leadership

€1.8 billion to support Europe’s industrial leadership in areas like ICT, nanotechnologies, advanced manufacturing, robotics, biotechnologies and space. Examples of the rising importance of biotechnology are in industrial applications including biopharmaceuticals, food and feed production and bio-chemicals, of which the market share of the latter is estimated to increase by up to 12% – 20% of chemical production by 2015.

Societal Challenges

€2.8 billion for innovative projects addressing Horizon 2020’s seven societal challenges, broadly: health; agriculture, maritime and bioeconomy; energy; transport; climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials; reflective societies; and security. I imagine energy projects will be particularly welcome, with the commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2020 still in play.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, introduces the program:

“The European Commission’s proposal for Horizon 2020 is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe. It’s an investment in research and innovation to support three major objectives: excellent science, competitive industries, and a better society. Horizon 2020 focuses more than ever on bringing great ideas to the market. It provides opportunities for business and it changes peoples lives for the better.”

“For the first time Horizon 2020 is bringing together all of the EU funding for research in innovation under one single program, and at the same time it’s drastically cutting the red tape so it’s attracting more top researchers and enterprises. I’ve said many times we have an innovation emergency in Europe and Horizon 2020 is our response to that emergency.”

Those words are all well and good, but will the money be spent in existing research environments, or will it be used to boost small businesses who are taking the biggest risks? I hope to see the latter, and Horizon 2020 promises at least €3 billion will be allocated to SMEs, particularly in the Societal Challenges fund, although the focus is very much on collaborative projects.

Read all about how to get funding from Horizon 2020.

Photo credit: Giampaolo Squarcina