Ráðstefna um vísindagarða


Valgerður Sverrisdóttir,
iðnaðar- og viðskioptaráðherra.

Welcome address by the Minister of Industry and Commerce
Mrs. Valgerdur Sverrisdóttir
at the Nordic Science Parks Conference 2003
"The Bridge over Troubled Water -and its role in the knowledge society"
September 11. at Grand Hotel Reykjavik

Madam Chairman, ladies and gentlemen.

This year we, the Icelanders, are standing at crossroads in the restructuring of our support system for Research and Innovation. That support has in the past been all to fragmented and not fully continuos from the funding of academic basic-research at one end - to providing seed capital for new start-ups at the other end.

Both policy-making and financial support has more or less been up to the different sectorial ministries that frequently had different visions and priorities - and sometimes also a limited interest in co-operation. In spite of these shortcomings the Icelanders have for many years been dynamic players on the international competitive market of research and development - and doing quite well.

Last spring we established a new legal framework to rectify this by establishing a national Science and Technology Council. That council is headed by the Prime Minister who then takes on the responsibility for the Governments Policy for Science, Technology and Innovation.

From my point of view, - as the Minister of Industry -, the most important change is the substantial strengthening of the support environment for innovation and job creation. I now finally foresee that funding of economically oriented research and innovation will be well provided for.

I also foresee a great change in the portfolio of our business support services. They have in the past been sectorial - but will now be designed to assist all small and medium sized technology based businesses to maximize their potential for growth.

This will lead to the strengthening of our technology transfer initiatives and create new possibilities for supporting the development of -innovation led, -high growth, -knowledge based -businesses. This will also go far in closing the gap that has separated science and innovation and create new grounds for much better networking between universities, research institutes and the industries.

I feel that we have now for the first time found a common platform to seriously evaluate the next steps in this development which among other things will be centered around the subject of Science Parks. With this in mind I sincerely welcome this conference and hope to hear from it in some details at a later occation.

I wish you all the best in your discussions and debates about the "Bridge over Troubled Water" .-. and its role in the knowledge society.

Thank you


Valgerður Sverrisdóttir