Maturity through Developing Young Talents

by Arild Waaler. From Annual Report 2018, written in March 2019.

Three years into SIRIUS’ journey, we are maturing as a research centre and are better equipped than ever to face the coming phases. We have a team of highly inspired and motivated people who excel in their fields and we have built a common platform and intersecting areas of interest that are relevant and interesting for both the research community and industry.

SIRIUS is built upon knowledge that comes from research. We are a centre precisely because our partners want to further develop this knowledge together with us and bring new ideas, products and results into their companies. To achieve this, we must continuously strive to stay at the research frontiers and we must constantly challenge established perspectives in research communities and within the industry.

SIRIUS is a complex undertaking. We consistently endeavour to reinforce a shared vision between participants with different interests and expectations. This is what it means to be a centre for research-based innovation. We must constantly realign with the centre’s stakeholders as research advances and the business needs of our partners evolve.

To manage this complexity of collaboration we need a centre structure that is both flexible and stable. It must be flexible to accommodate new ideas and projects, while being stable enough to maintain consistency and enable clear communication of our vision and results.

Since the centre’s kick-off in May 2016, a clearer structure for SIRIUS has gradually emerged. In 2017, the concept of a business beacon was coined as a way of organising strategic application areas and partner collaboration. In 2018, the concept of research programs has been introduced, renewing and replacing the research strands that we had when the centre first started. These research programs focus on the technology components and research-based methods that we need to deliver results for the business beacons. These technology components and methods are also innovative products in their own right.

As we enter 2019 and face a mid-term evaluation, we are taking the opportunity to hand responsibility for the centre’s success to a new generation of younger researchers. A new team of young leaders for the research programs is being mobilised, and Ingrid Chieh Yu now serves as SIRIUS` deputy director. Our ambition is to further strengthen our internal cooperation and “centre spirit”, reinforce open, interdisciplinary communication and foster creative and cohesive teams. The research programs establish new networks and channels for efficient information flow. They also provide a tighter focus on innovation and delivery that complements the research content of the programs. We believe that this will bolster our capacity to meet new challenges and generate new opportunities as the centre now enters a more mature operational stage.