The sector conduct research in complex, safety-critical, environments.
This sector researches areas that are complex and of critical importance to society in relation to digitalisation, with a special emphasis on the digital transformation of organisations. Turnover is approximately NOK 120 million, and the sector has 84 employees in six departments.
IFE hosts the Halden Reactor Project for the OECD/NEA, and 46 per cent of the sector’s revenue stems from these projects. The sector handles all projects that involve interaction between people, technology and organisation, and safety in the complex process industries. In addition, we generate revenues from international and national contracts. The sector is working strategically to increase the proportion of research projects (EU, Research Council of Norway, etc.) in the project portfolio. In addition, it is seeking to boost expertise from areas such as intelligent systems, machine learning, visualisation and big data, which has been gained from the Halden Reactor Project, and to use this in areas other than nuclear power.
The Digital Systems sector designs efficient control rooms for a number of different clients, including nuclear power stations, the railways and remote-controlled control towers. One example is our design of control rooms for the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, Sweden, which is one of the world’s largest scientific and technological infrastructures currently under construction. We develop software, such as VR software, for the design of control rooms and software that is used for the safe decommissioning of nuclear power plants in several countries. We assist businesses with risk, safety and security needs. We use machine learning and big data to assist companies with condition monitoring, maintenance, automation and user monitoring. We assist contractors with organisational design, enabling them to effectively implement digital technology and analysis tools that provide support in complex decisions.
For many years, around half of the sector’s turnover has been generated from the Halden Reactor Project. This has enabled us to develop skills that are highly relevant – and often unique – for helping organisations with their digital adaptations. This is one of our strengths. However, over a longer period of time this revenue has made us less dependent on submitting research applications. In addition, the Halden Reactor Project’s publications are in the form of reports that are reserved for member organisations. This means that, despite the extent of our work, we have little experience in writing research applications, and our research is less visible than that of other research institutes.
The sector is now putting considerable efforts into writing applications in order to increase the proportion of funds from the EU and the Research Council of Norway, and to increase the frequency of publication. We believe that we have a strong basis for succeeding, since our research has for many years been highly relevant to the digital shift in the private and public sectors – an area of ever-increasing demand. Our unique expertise in some areas of digitalisation, such as human-centred organisational design, IT risk and security, design of control rooms and alarm systems, automation
and machine learning, means that we are better positioned in this area than other research institutes. We also have extensive experience in complex processes within nuclear activities, where safety requirements are very strict. This gives us a competitive edge when meeting new industrial clients.