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The five-year anniversary of the November Conference

Stein og David
Keynote speaker David Cameron (left), University of Oslo and the moderator of the opening session Stein-Gunnar Bondevik, Innovation Norway in Brazil.

The five-year anniversary of the November Conference

On behalf of the Norwegian partners (SINTEF, IFE, IRIS, UiS, UiB, NTNU and UiO), I had the pleasure of giving one of the opening talks at the fifth November conference. Among other things, I used the opportunity to say a few words about the inception of the November conference. You can read my introduction here.

Distinguished guests, dear participant at the fifth November Conference here in Rio de Janeiro, ladies and gentlemen!  It is a great pleasure for me, on behalf of the SINOS-alliance, to give this welcome address on this five-year anniversary of the November conference.

A long history with collaboration

Norway and Brazil have had extensive interaction for allmost two centuries. In the beginning, our mutual interest was about bacalao and coffee. Today, we collaborate within a wide range of scientific disciplines and industrial areas. On the industrial side the cooperation has been and is particularly strong within the oil&gas domain and the maritime sector. We also see a growing cooperation within renewable energy, e.g. the Norwegian oil company Statoil announced last week that they will invest in a solar energy power plant in northern Brasil. Reforestation in the Amazon is also an area where academia and industry in our two countries work closely together.

The SINOS alliance

The SINOS-alliance consist of the three Norwegian research institutions SINTEF, IFE and IRIS and the four Norwegian universities - the University of Stavanger, the University of Bergen, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the University of Oslo.  Since last year, it is nice to announce that the alliance has expanded with the University of Stavanger and the University of Bergen. The main goal of the SINOS alliance is to build constructive cooperation with Brazilian institutions in the energy domain This cooperation research on selcted topics, organization of joint seminars and workshops, and student exchange programs.

The inception

On a cold and snowy winter day, in February 2013, a meeting took place in the Physics building at the University of Oslo, more precisely in room 349. An early version of the SINOS-alliance was present at the meeting. I had made warm coffee!

We knew that Brazilian and Norwegian researchers and engineers, for a long time, had been working together on common challenges within the energy domain. A lot of collaboration existed, however there were at least two important challenges that were formulated at this meeting in 2013.

Firstly, we concluded that our collaborative efforts towards Brazilian institutions were not very well coordinated. Secondly, we needed something to bind us together in Norway as well as with our partners in Brazil.

The SINOS-alliance was formed, and the meeting concluded that we should set up a larger event in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. The group of people that was present found that November 2013 was perfect for such an event. We got support from funding agencies in Brazil and Norway and the November conference was born, not yet with its name.

The conference got its name

We wanted to build on the success from the first year, and applied for more financial support from the Research Council of Norway and CNI in Brazil. We got it, and the conference became a tradition. The event needed a name and in absence of a better name, this conference was named the November Conference in 2014. A good name, and of course, Norwegians like Brazil and Rio de Janeiro, and we like it particular well in November!

I have been at all five November conferences and I can say, with enthusiasm, that this has been an interesting and fruitful journey. In addition to fostering and promoting state-of-the-art research and development in the energy domain, competence building and student exchange are also important parts of the picture. I will use the opportunity, on behalf of the Norwegian partners,  to thank our Brazilian partners for your valuable contributions and collaboration since the inception of the conference.

Science topics 2017

Environment and Improved Oil Recovery, Subsea Operations, Flow assurance, Digitalization, Exploration-relevant geosciences, and Materials technology are the six main topics and sessions at the November conference this year. Many of these topics have been around since the inception in 2013, and the content in this years research sessions are based on existing collaboration between researchers at Brazilian and Norwegian institutions for many years. The topics are also highly relevant for industry, and I am very pleased so see so many people form the industry present in the audience. I am looking forward to follow the research sessions, today and tomorrow.

The future

This is conference number five. However, we are also looking further ahead. Together with our Brazilian partners the SINOS-alliance has applied for support for another three years from the Norwegian INTPART call.  If we obtain the support, which is my sincere hope, the November conference will continue and be even stronger. In addition to the November conference, thematic workshops and joint courses for students will be organized both in Brazil and Norway.

It is my biased opinion that we have submitted a very good application to the Norwegian funding agencies, SIU and the Research Council of Norway. I am therefore a realistic optimist with respect to the outcome of the evaluation process of this proposal. We will know the result of the evaluation by the end of 2017. Hence, I am looking forward to attending the November conference, also next year!

Thanks to supporters and organizers

This event could not have taken place without extensive support, both financially and organizationally, from authorities in Brazil and Norway.

Many thanks to CNI, FINEP, The Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communication in Brazil, BN21, Innovation Norway, The Research Council of Norway, The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, and of course The Norwegian Consulate General here in Rio de Janeiro for supporting and organizing this conference.

Finally, I will use the opportunity to thank, Centro Brasileiro de Pesquisas Físicas (CNPF), for the second year, for hosting this conference in their premises here in Rio de Janeiro. Whilst I am right here at CBPF, it is natural to end my introduction with a quote from a well-known physicist - the one and only Albert Einstein: ”The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing!”  And, I would like to add; research is organized curiosity!

Thank you very much for your attention!

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