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iNOVA Research Park is a scientific working space created to facilitate the co-use of expensive laboratory infrastructure and instruments by public and private organizations. Initiated by the Faroese government, iNOVA provides researchers and organizations with the things they need to perform independent projects on the Faroe Islands.
Janus Vang, the director of iNOVA, has been at the healm from its initial start in 2013. He holds a PHD in biomedical sciences, and thus has the knowledge base which enables him to use and maintain most of the instruments himself. Considering the isolated location of the Faroe Islands, this is a huge advantage for the local organizations and can save them both time and money. Janus helps the tenants at iNOVA to apply for various funds and research grants. On the Faroe Islands there are three funds that support research – one is granted by the Research Council, one by the Health Ministry and the last by the Fisheries Research Fund. Furthermore, iNOVA helps the companies to apply for international funds. Janus is also an Ambassador of Visit Faroe Islands, a position that increases the visibility of Faroese resources and possibilities internationally.
The Research Park started with only four tenants – it was a visionary project that had been discussed for some time. There was a need in the Faroe Islands to collect organizations in need of expensive scientific tools and instruments under one roof. The government invested around €2M of its Business Development Fund to turn the building into a state-of-the-arts lab, and another €1M to buy the necessary instruments. Thanks to the Research Park, the organizations are less financially restraint as they all share the tools, instruments and space. iNOVA has also created the benefit of a sizeable scientific environment in the geographically isolated islands with a populations of just over 50.000, where the research organisations logically tend to be small.
The Faroese research park is unique as most similar research centres are bound to a university. At iNOVA, all tenants are equal, whether they are private or under the government. The park now houses a wide range of tenants within hospital, genetic (see also the recent article on the Biobank), human performance and health and food research – to name a few.
iNOVA is a private company whose purpose is to manage and run the facility. Apart from the initial investment from the government and the rent-free space, the park has been financially independent from the start.
Here are some examples of projects in the iNOVA research park
The Human Performance and Health Lab focuses on research on human physiology. Projects include post-surgery rehab exercises, pre-diabetes treatments, and performance testing of not only Faroese athletes, but also foreign athletes that come to the Faroe Islands to train.
Another impressive element of iNOVA is the Foodlab.
“The Foodlab is a modern kitchen facility dedicated to promote research and development of Faroese foodstuffs. Chefs and other specialists can use the facility to develop new concepts and recipes involving Faroese specialties and raw materials.” (Quote taken from the iNOVA website)
Closely related to the Foodlab is the NorthBio initiative whose purpose is to encourage innovation in the field. The NorthBio initiative also supports smaller projects, and participates in competitions with local chefs and restaurants, that have previously won prizes at the Embla Nordic Food Awards and the Nordic Food Artisan Awards.
The Faroese Marine Research Institute, Havstovan is also a tenant of the Research Park. One of the institute’s main projects is to research and evaluate the fish biomass in the ocean, traditionally done through trawl data, which is costly. Havstovan are developing a more efficient and cost effective method to complement the trawls at iNOVA. The FAMEOS project uses environmental DNA from water samples to detect and quantify the Atlantic Cod biomass on the Faroe Bank.
iNOVA Research Park is among all this also a great venue for events, and is available for scientific or business conferences. See more details
Projects supported by NorthBio Initiative:
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