D Budget

OSLO—Norwegian scientists and policy-makers have overwhelmingly agreed to spend a large share of the nation’s growing R&D budget over the next five years on environmental technologies. The Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research recently agreed to campaign for a 40 percent increase in research funding (see THE SCIENTIST, November 2, 1987, p. 7). The council now has identified environmental technologies as an important area to receive additional money. The

Jan 25, 1988
Tony Samstag
OSLO—Norwegian scientists and policy-makers have overwhelmingly agreed to spend a large share of the nation’s growing R&D budget over the next five years on environmental technologies.

The Royal Norwegian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research recently agreed to campaign for a 40 percent increase in research funding (see THE SCIENTIST, November 2, 1987, p. 7). The council now has identified environmental technologies as an important area to receive additional money.

The areas of greatest promise include automatic data collecting and environmental (especially meteorological) monitoring encompassing technology developed during studies of acidification; wastewater cleansing technology, particularly as applied to fish farming (pound for pound, salmon generate as much effluent as people); nontoxic antifouling marine coatings; analytical instrumentation; and antipollution technology for the oil and energy industries.

The council hopes these new environmental technologies will complement existing Norwegian expertise in biotechnology, information and data processing, offshore oil technology, aquaculture and new materials. It is counting on a 200 million krone ($32 million) annual budget for its environmental initiative by 1989.

A council-sponsored seminar held here in late November to launch the “Emerging Environmental Technology campaign attracted 130 industrialists, politicians, civil servants and scientists, some four times the expected number. Industry’s support is shown by the slogan, “Environmental Technology Can Be Big Business."

The council expects to receive a good deal of help from relevant industries in conducting market research on new products. That approach, which may appear to represent a conflict of interest, is often unavoidable in a country with only 4 million people. Although Norwegians see nothing wrong with having people help set policy from which they eventually will reap personal or corporate reward., such advisers are excluded from the final decision

Norway’s new commitment to environmental technology follows a succession of environmental scandals in the past year.

Samstag reports from Oslo for The Independent and the BBC.


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(The Scientist, Vol:2, #2, p.4, January 25, 1988)
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