NORMAN - Centre for Research-based Innovation (SFI)


In a global, competitive and changing world, continuous development of the manufacturing industry's competitive strength is of paramount importance for a nation. In collaboration with NTNU and SINTEF, 14 Norwegian manufacturing companies have undertaken this challenge through creating the research centre Norwegian Manufacturing Future (SFI Norman). The goal of the centre is to improve the competitive strength of the industry through long-term research and innovations.


Through workshops and active participation from the companies, the innovation needs of each company are linked together to mutual, researchable challenges. This creates a set of research topics, and the results from the research activities are converted into innovations in the companies. This conversion is often carried out through associated innovation projects and EU-funded development projects. The level of expertise is demonstrated through extensive international scientific publication. The main challenge addressed is the ability to create flexible and intelligent production systems, supported by modern control systems and superior logistics, and which attract skilled coworkers through attractive work places.

”The SFI scheme features a higher level of ambition, a longer term perspective and a more intense concentration of efforts than any of the Research Council`s other innovation-related instruments”.

The 14 industrial partners of Norman represent Norwegian manufacturing’s industrial challenges; to create and exploit knowledge and skills, develop and employ state-of-the-art technology to develop and produce world-class products. The companies range from large scale global companies to SMEs, from many industrial sectors and making products from a range of different materials. In common, they share the need to innovate products and processes in order to maintain and improve their competiveness.

Combined with researchers’ academic knowledge, insight in global state-of-the-art, and ideas of innovations, generic research challenges have been identified. The long-term research efforts are supported with measures like industrial workshops and demonstrators. Ideas and results that are closest to realization and implementation are pursued in related innovation projects.

The intensive process of replanning and restructuring the research agenda of SFI Norman in 2011 resulted in a new structure and execution model, as shown below. Three main research areas were prioritized, with a set of operative work packages performing the research tasks with industrial cases and integrated with PhD efforts.

The more detailed descriptions of each area, and their major achievements in 2012 are presented on these pages. The research in SFI Norman is focused in three areas as shown in this figure:

SFI Norman