Today we celebrated 10 remarkable years and the closure of NTNU AMOS, the Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems. Here is my opening remarks.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today, we gather to celebrate a remarkable milestone in research and innovation. For a decade, NTNU AMOS, the Centre for Autonomous Marine Operations and Systems, has pioneered groundbreaking scientific endeavors. As a center of excellence established by the Norwegian Research Council, it has been instrumental in pushing the boundaries of knowledge and technology in autonomous marine operations.
Reflecting on NTNU AMOS, we recognize the immense value that research centers like this bring to society. The Centre of Excellence scheme, initiated by the Research Council of Norway, provides a platform for our finest researchers to pursue ambitious scientific objectives through collaboration and long-term funding. These centers serve as innovation hubs, tackling complex problems that demand interdisciplinary research and ambitious ideas.
NTNU AMOS is a shining example of the transformative power of research. Its work has generated new knowledge and competencies, sparking innovations across crucial sectors of our economy, particularly the blue economy. From offshore energy to aquaculture, shipping to tourism, NTNU AMOS's advancements have far-reaching implications for Norway and the entire Trøndelag region.
Digitalization plays a key role in NTNU AMOS's progress. Integrating digital technologies into traditional industries and ocean management is crucial. Intelligent marine structures, autonomous ships, marine robotics, and artificial intelligence have the potential to revolutionize our interaction with the ocean. NTNU AMOS's achievements, such as training underwater robots and autonomous ships to sense and respond to potential risks, are remarkable. These breakthroughs hold immense promise and shape the future of our digitalization strategy.
NTNU AMOS also addresses the imperative of the green transition. Just as President Kennedy's plan to land a man on the moon sparked a technological race, we now witness an industrial revolution in shipping focused on decarbonization. To reduce CO2 emissions, new fuel types like ammonia, ethanol, and methanol gain prominence. Exploring and developing a full value chain for high-speed hydrogen and battery-electric fast ferries by the regional authorities along the coast of Norway and utilizing autonomous ships for slower-speed transportation in the Trondheimsfjorden Test Area for Autonomous Ships, demonstrate our commitment to sustainable solutions. These innovations reduce costs, emissions, and may revolutionize maritime transportation.
Addressing the biodiversity crisis is another crucial aspect of NTNU AMOS's work. Oceans are essential for life, providing sustenance, oxygen, and habitats for countless species. However, climate change, pollution, and overfishing threaten marine ecosystems. NTNU AMOS and its partners develop technology and methods for mapping and monitoring the oceans. Understanding dynamic processes and trends helps us protect and preserve marine environments for future generations.
The potential within our oceans is immense. Exploring underwater landscapes requires responsible solutions. Collaboration between NTNU and its partners bridges technology and natural sciences, encompassing marine technology, cybernetics, biology, chemistry, geology, and archaeology. Diverse fields of expertise tackle challenges and unlock opportunities in the blue economy.
NTNU AMOS represents the power of collaboration and nurturing talent. Its track record of producing a record number of competent graduates with over 1000 MSc and over 140 PhDs holders (with 80 more in progress)—who will become change agents in society, is remarkable. Intellectual capital is our most valuable resource, and we have high expectations for the next generation of decision-makers emerging from institutions like NTNU AMOS.
We take pride in the spin-off companies that originate from NTNU AMOS's research, driving innovation and contributing to the growth of the Trondheim region. Trondheim and Trøndelag may become our own "Silicon Oceans or Port," surrounded by world-leading industries and research institutions.
Amidst today's geopolitical risks, we cannot overlook the critical need to protect our underwater infrastructure. Internet connectivity and energy pipelines that fuel Europe and the UK face threats. Hybrid warfare and adversarial capabilities, like those of Russia, pose risks to this crucial infrastructure. Developing advanced security systems and surveillance is vital for ensuring their safety. By investing in cutting-edge technologies and remaining vigilant, we defend against complex threats and safeguard our underwater assets.
As a nation, we must recognize the potential and unique position we hold in the oceanic realm. With two-thirds of Earth's surface covered by water and vast untapped resources in the oceans, we must embrace a leadership role. Investing in the new Norwegian Ocean Technology Centre, and its necessary laboratories and facilities, drives the technological advancements we need. Singapore, South Korea, and China have embarked on similar endeavors, and it would be a scandal for Norway to lag.
In closing, I recall a conversation with Charlie Duke during the Starmus festival in Trondheim. Charlie was the voice from Houston in 1969, and later became the youngest to set his foot on the Moon, with the Apollo 16 expedition. And I got the opportunity to ask him if Arthur C. Clarke's famous words, "How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is clearly Ocean", matched his view from the moon.
While the excitement of venturing into outer space is undeniable, Norway holds a unique position and responsibility in exploring the oceanic realm. We lead in the blue economy, and our ambition should reach for the sky. I pledge full support for the benefit of Trøndelag, Norway, and the world. Let us keep moving forward, even after AMOS has closed.
And Charlie? He responded with a smile.