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Bilde av Lars Olav Grøvik president i Tekna

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This is what technologists are demanding of the new government

Oct. 6 2021

Tekna’s been closely following the process surrounding the new government’s formation, having both expectations of and input for its new platform. – We expect the Støre government to deliver in areas such as increasing funding for STEM subjects, facilitating continuing education for all students and committing to climate investment, says Tekna president Lars Olav Grøvik.

Tekna has outlined 15 proposals to include in this platform, all of which have been sent to the coalition political parties.

- We’re calling on the new government to increase investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) subjects. We need new and comprehensive investment plans in science and technology from kindergarten and onwards through primary school, upper secondary school, higher education and research, states Grøvik.

He points out that the demand for workers holding a degree in a STEM field is large and growing ever larger.

- Companies are looking for more expertise in engineering and technology. We’re also seeing a growing need for IT competency, a need that’s highlighted in the National Strategy for Digital Security and in a report called, “Norway’s need for IT competency now and until 2030” from Economics Norway. We have to get moving on this, Grøvik explains.

Doesn’t want ‘out-of-pocket’ education

The Tekna president also hopes that a new government will do away with any proposal for new regulations on ‘out-of-pocket’ payment for education, and will instead work out a new financing model where continuing and further education is included in the mandate for educational institutions.

- We have to protect the principle of free education, and the situation mustn’t turn into one where continuing and further education depends on a person’s finances or an employer’s willingness to pay, says Grøvik.

He feels that a rapidly changing workplace with an ever-growing demand for employees having updated skills and knowledge shows the need for making larger investments in continuing and further education, including for highly educated people.

Tekna also wants the government to ensure schools’ capacity levels in continuing and further education at the college and university level – in addition, this type of education from publicly funded institutions should be free.

- The financing for these goals must be included as part of a basic financing plan, and continuing and further education must be defined as part of this sector’s social policy. So any ‘out-of-pocket’ regulation must be left out until a review of the government’s financing plan has been completed, says Grøvik.

- More intensive investment in CCS

In Tekna’s opinion Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is a decisive component of the solution for reaching climate goals, calling on the new government to increase investment in this area.

Capturing and storing carbon is necessary for reaching Norway’s and the EU’s climate goals. The Norwegian government’s Longship Project with CO2 capture at Brevik and Klemetsrud must be secured financially. As to the waste incineration plant at Klemetsrud, Norwegian authorities must secure financing independent of co-financial from the EU. This will strengthen the financial situation for the entire Longship project if the waste incineration branch is included, states Grøvik.

He believes the new government has to facilitate CO2 capture from regional industries in Norway and plan for actual storage volumes in connection with the Longship project.

- This project’s goal of upscaling and industrializing CCS in Europe must be followed by increasing research funding now at an early stage of industrialization, says Grøvik.

Increase research funding

From Tekna’s point of view, we need a sharp escalation in research investment in the upcoming parliamentary session.

- Both basic research and support for business-related innovation projects must be strengthened. There’s a need to increase financing of research institutions. Norway invests less in research than do our neighbors, Sweden and Denmark. There’s a need to create a larger research investment plan, and Tekna feels this plan should be increased to at least 1.25 percent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by 2025, says Grøvik.

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