We must make room for radical innovation

We must make room for radical innovation

debate Vincent Ejsink and Siri Fegelheim

The results of the research that form the basis of drastic changes in society are often the result of basic research.

This text is a discussion post. The content of the text expresses the opinion of the author.

long-term plan | The most unique among humans Discoveries often come when we don’t know exactly what we’re looking for. In order to innovate a sustainable society, we must therefore advocate for basic research. To make that happen, we need to talk more about how to make it easier for researchers to actually do the work required to make the quantitative leaps involved in sustainability goals, after all. The results of research that form the basis for radical changes in society are often the results of a careful and long-term effort in a field where the aim and purpose of long periods is unclear to us, i.e. basic research.

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against It is what is called incremental innovation, i.e. the small steps we take forward when we change existing solutions or technology. Much research funding is used to this day. Small steps are understandable and can be partially planned. It’s attractive, and useful most of the time, but it’s not always true.

He said easily: We solve the climate problem faster by creating entirely new forms of green and renewable energy by reducing emissions from existing internal combustion engines by a small percentage. Basic research as a basis for innovation costs more and increases risks. Not all companies or researchers and research environments have the right to engage in radical innovation. But someone must.

Enzyme research environment in NMBU It is an example of the role basic research plays in innovation. For many years, this research group has been searching for enzymes that allow us to use biomass that has long been considered an unusable residual product. Funding for basic research from the Research Council is below.

We will challenge political parties to meet to give basic research ample space in the revised long-term plan.

these means It has made it possible to build an environment that is robust, advanced and independent enough to be able to provide industry-leading expertise and independent advice. But crucial to the results was that companies like Borregaard and Cambi had invested in the long run and were willing to give researchers the time, freedom, and control over the results that were necessary to make breakthroughs.

Scientists You found the right enzymes, and today we can make fuels and new green materials from wood chips, pesticides from shrimp shells, animal feed from kelp and much more. Thanks to this basic research and good interaction with industry, we are able to develop products, industry and jobs. And not least: a kind of innovation that creates more sustainable community development.

Whenever we bet In this way, the more new business we create. The more we strengthen Norway’s position and contribution to value creation in a vibrant, international and sustainable economy.

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Parliament In the process of reviewing the long-term plan for research and higher education. An informal count of political party programs shows that innovation is a highly valuable tool in the development of society. On average, both parties mentioned innovation 16 times. On the other hand, basic research is not common and there are only a few who would suggest that basic research is a prerequisite for the innovation they want to achieve. We know from experience that the political objectives of research can be so many and narrow that basic research suffers. This threatens the independence, quality, and creative power of research, and limits the chances of achieving the great progress the world needs.

We want to challenge Political parties should come together to give basic research plenty of space in the revised long-term plan. Here one must think as in the European Union, which has finally discovered that basic research programs offer more and more radical innovations than applied research programmes. The development of mRNA vaccines against Covid-19 is an excellent example of this and may have helped in this way.

In particular, we need three paths:

First, a policy tool that provides sufficient space for basic research and ensures robust, not least independent, research environments can deliver the best expertise to Norwegian industry without relying on it too much.

Second, we must make researchers, motivated in principle by a craving to answer questions, contribute to the commercialization of their results. Most universities today have a good support system around researchers who will turn ideas into reality, but more can be done, among other things by earning it by investing in the commercialization of the results.

Third, we need forms of collaboration with the business community that are rigged so that the opportunities for big discoveries are not curtailed in favor of short-term gains.

via A solid investment in high-quality basic research, we will develop the inventions and ideas that can provide groundbreaking new business and innovation, so we can succeed with pioneering solutions to tomorrow’s challenges. We’ll have to shout eureka a few times before we aim to save the planet.

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Dalila Awolowo

Dalila Awolowo

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