The development of new knowledge and technology within the life sciences is moving extremely fast. And it is accelerating. This is a field which offers new technological solutions to all the great challenges of mankind: Food, health, environment, climate, energy, materials and much more. The potential for value creation in the emerging bioeconomy is huge, both for people and society, and for business and industry.

Norway is well positioned to become a significant contributor to this development:

  • Norway invests heavily into life science R&D: More than 3 billion NOK/330 million EUR) per year (Source: NIFU)
  • Norway has a thriving business community across the health and bioeconomy sectors, ranging from high potential startups to large industrial companies, and a wide range of specialized suppliers and service providers serving the industries.
  • Norway’s exports from agriculture and forestry were 45 billion NOK/5 billion EUR in 2015 (Source: Statistics Norway)
  • Norway’s exports from the marine sector were 71 billion NOK/7,8 billion EUR in 2015
    (Source: Statistics Norway)
  • Norway’s health industry exports were 20 billion NOK/2,2 billion EUR in 2015
    (Source: Menon Business Economics)
  • Norway’s universities educate more than 10.000 students annually in the life sciences. Among these, more than 2000 are PhD students.
  • Around our universities, there is a multitude of institutions and organizations focusing on life science research and innovation, such as TTOs, research institutes, science parks, and business incubators.
  • The University of Oslo and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences are expanding their activities and research in the life sciences and have launched major development projects for new buildings and infrastructure to support this.

To succeed in harvesting Norway’s full value creation potential in the life sciences, we need to mobilize all the involved players – public and private. We need to join forces behind a common vision for the future, and pull together to make it happen. We need to work systematically to enhance the factors that will enable sustainable growth. We need to bring people together across organizations, sectors and disciplines so that we can discover and develop the best new ideas.

This is what The Life Science Cluster is about!

The Life Science Cluster is working towards a future for Norway’s life science industries where:

  • we find a multitude of knowledge-based companies of all types and sizes, Norwegian and international, and in all parts of the value chains.
  • all the critical factors and resources required for the success of the industry is easily accessible at internationally competitive prices
  • private companies, public organizations, and academia co-operate closely on research and innovation. This creates a steady stream of new technology, products and servicesm, whith great value for society and business
  • this cooperation also leads to mutual sharing of knowledge, resources and human capital, which increases the value creation further.
  • the value creation attracts Norwegian and international capital and talent which fuels sustainable growth and industry development.



  1. Create sustainable economic growth in the life sciences sectors
  2. Contribute to the development and sharing of knowledge
  3. Work to enhance Norway’s attractiveness as a location for life sciences companies and their activities
  4. Contribute to increasing the awareness and understanding of the importance of the life sciences for the society

(From “The Bioeconomy to 2030: Designing a Policy Agenda”, OECD, 2009)

A bioeconomy can be thought of as a world where biotechnology contributes to a significant share of economic output. The emerging bioeconomy is likely to involve three elements: the use of advanced knowledge of genes and complex cell processes to develop new processes and products, the use of renewable biomass and efficient bioprocesses to support sustainable production, and the integration of biotechnology knowledge and applications across sectors.

There are three main sectors where biotechnology can be applied: agriculture, health, and industry.

While primary production includes all living natural resources, such as forests, plant crops, livestock animals, insects, fish and other marine resources, the main current uses of biotechnology are for plant and animal breeding and diagnostics.

Human health applications include therapeutics, diagnostics, pharmacogenetics to improve prescribing practices, functional foods and nutraceuticals, and some medical devices.

Industrial applications include the use of biotechnological processes to produce chemicals, plastics, and enzymes, environmental applications such as bioremediation to clean up polluted soils, biosensors, methods to reduce the environmental effects or costs of resource extraction, and the production of biofuels.

Several applications, such as biopharmaceuticals, in vitro diagnostics, some types of genetically modified crops, and enzymes are comparatively “mature” technologies. Many other applications have limited commercial viability without supportive policies (e.g. biofuels and bioplastics) or are still in the experimental stage, such as regenerative medicine and health therapies based on RNA interference.

The future bioeconomy will be global. Rapid income and population growth will ensure that the main markets for biotechnology in agriculture and industry will be in developing countries. Rising levels of educational achievement across the developing world, particularly at the tertiary level, will create centres of biotechnology research that can address some of the problems that are likely to develop in these countries, including a growing need for low carbon energy, clean water, and highyield agricultural crops that can tolerate drought, heat and other stresses.

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