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Opening of Research Centre for a Smart Ocean

 Photo/ill.: Randi H Eilertsen, UiB
Photo/ill.: Randi H Eilertsen, UiB

SFI Smart Ocean held its first physical gathering at the Norwegian Ocean Observation Laboratory recently.

Vice-Rector Gottfried Greve performed a symbolic cable cutting in the French way, with a guillotine made especially for the occasion. This, symbolising moving into wireless solutions for smart ocean monitoring.

For the around 50 participants from the research and business world who participated, it was very rewarding to finally be able to meet face-to-face. In addition to getting to know each other, there was also the opportunity to show each other more of what they are working on.

The centre was established in December 2020, but had to cancel the opening party in March in favor of a digital start-up meeting. It was therefore the first time that the colleagues in the center were allowed to gather physically, despite having worked together for over a year.

Watch film from the opening (in Norwegian)
Read full article (in Norwegian)

Will Monitor the Oceans

The research centre will build a wireless sensor network under water that will be used to monitor what is happening below the surface.

The mission is to develop a novel sensor- and communication system to secure sustainable ocean industry operations and fact-based ocean management. The system is aimed at a wide variety of users and applications, with a main focus on petroleum, offshore wind and aquaculture.

– It is important for us that we have partners from the ocean industry, so that we can create a product that will benefit both research and industry, says SFI centre director Geir Anton Johansen.

The centre especially wants to get in touch with more end users in industries such as fish farming, offshore wind and petroleum.

– The network will be flexible to be able to add components that users need, so it is essential that we can collaborate with end users so that we know what the needs are, says Johansen.

Cluster Involvement

The Smart Ocean centre was awarded SFI-status by the Research Council of Norway in 2020. The centre is planned for eight years with a total budget of close to 300 million NOK.

GCE Ocean Technology worked closely with the University of Bergen and NORCE in the process leading up to the establishment of the SFI Smart Ocean center and will play a key role with ensuring a close cooperation between the center and our cluster members.

For several of our cluster members, the Smart Ocean Centre will over time contribute to establishing new products and services and open up new markets, enabled by the subsea wireless network.

A subsea wireless network is an essential element in the growing autonomous ecosystem of unmanned surface vessels (USV) and subsea drones (AUV), and GCE Ocean Technology will in cooperation with its cluster members build consortiums to industrialise the results from the center.

On behalf of our members, GCE Ocean Technology is looking forward to a close cooperation to support innovation, and it was great to finally meet many of the center members in real life and discuss goals and opportunities during the opening ceremony at the Norwegian Ocean Observation Laboratory.

Contact Information

Bjarte Fagerås

Senior R&D Advisor

Bjarte Fagerås


An SFI is a research centre supported by the Research Council of Norway.

The overall objective is to enhance the ability of the business sector to innovate and create value through a greater focus on long-term research.

SFI Smart Ocean is a centre for research-based innovation. Hosted by the Department of Physics and Technology at the University of Bergen.