New Norwegian AI centre ready to shape the future

5 minute read
Ieva Martinkenaite

NorwAI aims to accelerate the innovation of sustainable and trustworthy artificial intelligence solutions across industries and drive implementation of Norway’s new AI strategy together with Telenor Group and other key actors.

The Norwegian Research Center for AI Innovation (NorwAI), the largest publicly and privately funded research project on AI in Norway, is today commencing its operations. The powerhouse is located at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and will have a strong focus on applied research and innovation. It complements the co-located Norwegian Open AI Lab (NAIL), with a strong focus on applied research and innovation on top of NAIL’s effort in basic research and education.

Onboard is Telenor Group, one of the eleven partners in a consortium of media, finance, and Industry 2.0 companies.

“Telenor is proud to have contributed to putting AI on the map in Norway through the establishment of NAIL. We are seeing the results of this long-term effort creating a snowball effect with more research and innovation capacity, and this is very rewarding,” says Bjørn Taale Sandberg, Head of Telenor Research and member of the new Centre for Research-based Innovation, NorwAI’s Board of Directors.

Bjørn Taale Sandberg
Bjørn Taale Sandberg heads Telenor Research, the internal scientific research unit of the Telenor Group, which plays a key role in providing insight and competence to the company.

Also read: Telenor’s goal in AI

Honing AI techniques for business decisions

Telenor will lead work on developing machine-learning methods for streaming and sensor data, relevant for automation, recommendations, and decision-making processes.

“Ultimately, our goal is to contribute to developing technical methods and principles for trustworthy AI, which is of critical importance for Telenor and other industry partners in their data-driven strategy ambitions,” says Ieva Martinkenaite, VP and Head of Analytics and AI team in Telenor Research.

She will be working closely with NorwAI in the coming years, contributing to its mission to build the AI research and innovation capacity in Norway.

“We want to help industries and the public sector digitalise because we believe that digital technologies will alter the way everything operates in the future. By supporting the digital transformation, we empower societies and build knowledge for improving our network operations, digitalise customer journeys, and creating new growth opportunities.”

Ieva Martinkenaite
In addition to active research and piloting use cases, Telenor will contribute by co-supervising PhD and Master’s students through its NorwAI partnership: “On top of that, we are members of the Board of Directors, thus contributing to driving the innovation and research agenda of the Research Centre,” says Ieva Martinkenaite, VP Telenor Research.

Also read: How we use AI to greening our networks

Strengthens the competitive positions

According to Martinkenaite, NorwAI will become an important mechanism for implementing the national AI strategy of Norway.

“It will increase research capacity in Data Science and Machine Learning, it will develop relevant AI methods, and spin-out innovations. This will allow Norwegian industry to create and strengthen their competitive positions internationally,” she says.

Jon Atle Gulla, Professor at NTNU and the new head of NorwAI complements:

“The purpose of the centre is to develop groundbreaking theories, methods, and technology for efficient and responsible use of data-driven artificial intelligence in innovative, industrial solutions. When we have collaboration across industries, such as we now see in NorwAI, the various players can also gain access to massive datasets that will not only contribute to research but also help the industry to build new tools and business models.”

Jon Atle Gulla, head of NorwAI, talking to the media during the centre’s kick off in Trondheim on 12 November. (Photo: Kai T. Dragland).
Jon Atle Gulla, head of NorwAI, talking to the media during the centre’s kick off in Trondheim on 12 November. (Photo: Kai T. Dragland).

Also read: Back in 2017, NTNU, Telenor, and SINTEF opened the Norwegian Open AI Lab

About NorwAI

NorwAI is funded by the Research Council of Norway and the partners and will run for eight years.

The consortium of partners consist of Schibsted ASA, Telenor Group, DNB ASA, Sparebank1 SMN, Norsk Rikskringkasting AS, Retriever Norge AS, DNV GL AS, Kongsberg Digital AS, Cognite AS, Trønderenergi AS og DigitalNorway.


Stian Kristoffer Sande

Communication Manager

Telenor Group