A world leading city for marine education, research and innovation

The future lies in the sea

The sea will be vital for resolving the major issues facing the world in terms of food, climate, health and energy. Marine research and marine industries are therefore two of the most important focus areas of our time.

Norway is a leading marine nation. We have vast marine resources and a long tradition of harvesting from the sea. Norwegian research and management are at the forefront and many companies are world leaders in their areas. 

Ocean city Bergen

The University of Bergen, the Institute of Marine Research and several leading marine groups are now joining forces to establish Havbyen Bergen, OceanCity Bergen. The aim is to create Europe’s strongest integrated cluster for ocean-related education, research and innovation. 

Among other things, Ocean City Bergen will contribute to:

  • A world-leading marine research cluster and new knowledge about marine areas
  • Increasing marine value creation in Norway, from USD 11 billion to USD 67 billion by 2050
  • Educating tomorrow’s workforce in an interdisciplinary marine working environment
  • Strengthening international competitiveness by means of colocation and better collaboration on laboratories and other infrastructure
  • The growth of the bioeconomy, in which molecules and biomass from the sea are converted into health products, food, animal feed, energy, chemicals and industrial products
  • A blue-green shift and more eco-friendly industry
  • Limiting environmental issues in aquaculture, such as fish escapes and fish disease 
  • A healthy and productive sea: good management and planning of marine activities that reduce human effects on the marine environment

Bergen seen from the sea. Bergen has Europe’s greatest concentration of marine research centres (Photo: Eivind Senneset)


Great opportunities at sea

The sea will feed us

About 70 per cent of the earth’s surface is covered with water, but only two per cent of all the planet’s food comes from the sea. The world’s population is growing and will pass 10 billion in the next 30 years. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations believes that most of this increasing need for food must be met from the sea.

Norway controls a sea area of 2,140,000 square kilometres, almost seven times the area of mainland Norway, and can be an important contributor to covering the world’s food requirement. 

The sea will secure jobs

Norway is now facing a transition from an oil-based economy to a greener and more knowledge-based economy. The government believes that marine industries have the potential to become some of Norway’s biggest future industries – partly based on our natural advantages for marine production and technology from the petroleum industry. Marine research and education are thus a vital prerequisite. 

The sea gives us knowledge about climate

Monitoring the sea will enable us to better understand its complexity. Modern research vessels and measuring stations will be decisive for documenting changes in the marine environment and assessing the consequences for ecosystems and marine production. This will be increasingly important in order to secure sustainability, understand climate change and ensure a knowledge-based climate policy.

The sea could be the medicine cabinet of the future

Compared with the land, we know relatively little about the sea. But we believe that the Norwegian sea areas contain a number of undiscovered species and we know that marine organisms that live in cold water have developed sophisticated mechanisms for survival. This could have great potential for use in anything from medicines and dietary supplements to new enzymes for process industries or cosmetics.

Strong trinity for blue growth

Marine research

Every year, Norway spends USD 440 million on marine research and development and is a significant research nation internationally. 

Norway is the world’s seventh largest research nation in the field of fisheries and aquaculture and the second largest research nation for Atlantic salmon. 

2,400 researchers and professionals are employed in marine research and development in Norway. 1,100 work in the institute sector, 700 in the university and university college sector and 600 in industry. Marine and marine-related subjects have around 2,300 students in total. 

Marine management

Responsible and sustainable management is the very basis for being able to continue to harvest the sea’s resources. Norway has world-leading research groups and management centres that could play an increasingly important role in ensuring a healthy and productive sea in the future.  

The Institute of Marine Research is the largest marine research centre in Norway and the most important supplier of knowledge and information to the management and administration that is done through the Directorate of Fisheries and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

Marine industry

The seafood industry is one of Norway’s leading export industries. Each year, Norway produces about 3 million tonnes of seafood. Every day about 37 million meals with seafood from Norway are served around the world.

In the first six months of 2015, Norway exported seafood to a value of USD 4,1 billion, which is a new record. The EU is Norway’s most important export market and Norway is the EU’s most important supplier of seafood. 

Bergen – Norway's marine capital

Bergen and the Bergen region have a long history as Norway’s natural centre for marine industries and research. Close interaction between all those involved is the key to further success.

One of the measures in the government’s new Master Plan for Marine Research, which was issued in September 2015, is a concept evaluation for the possible colocation of the marine research centres in Bergen. 

Bergen has Europe’s greatest concentration of marine research centres and more than half of Norway’s research into the sea, fish and the coast happens in west Norway. The Bergen region also has a strong maritime environment that accounts for 20 per cent of the value creation in the region.

Most Norwegian aquaculture companies are currently located in west Norway. The region is also the base for Norway’s largest ocean going fishing fleet. About 35,000 jobs are linked to marine industries in west Norway.

When the oil age comes to an end, marine industry will be the most important industry in west Norway. The industry’s competitiveness depends on close interaction between a wide range of research and education centres, management institutions and the industry itself. 

Bergen’s unique mix of internationally leading marine research and management competence is totally unique in Norway and represents great potential for important synergy effects.


University of Bergen:

Institute of Marine Research:

  • Press phone: + 47 400 22 999
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Ocean City Bergen

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