Welcomes government investment in science

June 7, 2006, 15:00 CEST

Hydro is positive to the stategy plan for strengthening science subjects which Norway's Minister of Education and Research Øystein Djupedal presented during an international conference on mathematics and science in Tromsø on Wednesday.

"Hydro is founded on the application of outstanding Norwegian scientific expertise. The Government's plan to strengthen our national knowledge base within science and technology is important for value creation and welfare development in Norway in the future. We welcome the measures, and will continue our cooperation with Norwegian research and education institutions, in order to secure the basis for Hydro continuing to be an internationally leading knowledge-based company, with significant activities in Norway," says Hydro's Cecilie Ditlev-Simonsen. Senior Vice President for Corporate Communication.

Scientific expertise, substantial research efforts, and interaction with Norwegian knowledge environments have been enduring features of Hydro throughout its development, since the company was established in 1905. A strong knowledge base in the company's Norwegian activities forms the foundation for Hydro's current international activities within light metal and energy.

"In our work to contribute to solving the global energy challenges, and to further develop the position Hydro has in the production and processing of light metal, the expertise we have built up in Norway is quite crucial. Our Norwegian knowledge base is a strategic advantage when, for example, we go out and compete with the world's largest energy companies. We can't beat them in terms of size, but we can compete on expertise and the application of science and technology, and for that reason we welcome the Government's suggestion for a new science plan," says Ditlev-Simonsen.

Research and recruitment

Hydro currently cooperates extensively with Norwegian universities and colleges. This year the company is allocating research assignments to Norwegian research environments totalling NOK 200 million. Hydro has agreements on cooperation with the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and the universities in Bergen and Oslo, among other things with regard to scholarship funding for students and researchers, and support for postgraduate teaching at Masters and PhD level.

Recruiting new staff members with good scientific and technological expertise is currently a central challenge for Hydro's oil and energy activities. Candidates from Norwegian universities and colleges still constitute the largest group of new employees in Hydro. During the summer of 2006, around 60 students from Norwegian and international universities and colleges will work on relevant assignments in the company.

In connection with marking its centenary, Hydro contributed NOK 100 million to the development of a national Knowledge Centre in Bergen. The Knowledge Centre, which is currently being developed at Marineholmen in Bergen, will be a resource for schools, teachers and pupils throughout the country. The aim is that Bergen Knowledge Centre will, in cooperation with regional knowledge centres, motivate teachers and pupils to become more interested in mathematics and the sciences, and to seek a deeper understanding of these subjects.