There are three main reasons that the NBT has chosen to do this project:
1. The increased worry over the deepening bifurcation of the Norwegian economy. We have a strong oil and gas industry, while large parts of our mainland industry struggle with high wages and declining competitiveness.
2. The need for a readjustment towards sales of goods and services not related to the oil and gas sector as the incomes from oil and gas diminish. Revenues from oil and gas will sooner or later be reduced, and Norway’s ability to maintain its present welfare level is probably dependent on us developing new export industries.
3. A presumption that Norwegian businesses will be most competitive in sales of knowledge intensive products and services. It is within areas like these we will have the best opportunity to compete on the global market because the high Norwegian salaries will be least disadvantageous here.
Against this background the project will discuss the possibilities of a competitive, high tech Norwegian industry outside of the oil and gas cluster in 2030, and what Norwegian authorities can and should do to stimulate development of such industry. We will for starters identify 5–10 large technology fields that we recognize are being developed globally, and that we think will be important even in 2030. We will then discuss what prerequisites Norwegian businesses have to compete within these markets, and if Norwegian industrial policy is oriented towards stimulating development of competitive businesses.
Among the issues we want to discuss are:
• Which factors (politics, economics, industry, competence) are most significant for the ability to readjust towards high-tech markets outside of the oil and gas cluster?
• What can we learn from Norwegian businesses that have succeeded in establishing themselves in international high-tech markets outside of the oil and gas cluster?
• What can we learn from other countries’ industrial policies? We want to look at what is being done in Sweden, Denmark and England, among others.
• What should Norwegian authorities do on short, intermediate and long terms to stimulate desired development?
The project is carried through with help from an interdisciplinary expert group recruited by the Norwegian Board of Technology. A hearing where a wide array of representatives from Norwegian industry get to give their input to the project will probably be held along the way. The culmination of the project will be a rapport planned for publishing by the end of 2014.