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What is Statistics for Innovation - (sfi)²

Statistics for Innovation is one of the fourteen Norwegian Centers for Research-based Innovation, with the aim to enhance the capability of the Norwegian economy to innovate by focusing on long-term research, forging alliances between research-intensive enterprises and prominent research groups.

Statistics for Innovation will develop core statistical methodologies, strategically necessary to achieve innovation goals in four key sectors: petroleum, finance, marine and health. The centre operates from 1.1.2007 for eight years, based at the Norwegian Computing Center/Norsk Regnesentral (NR) in Oslo. Statistics for Innovation is a partnership between:

Applied research: Norwegian Computing Center (NR)
Academic research:

University of Oslo (UiO):
-- Department of Mathematics,
-- Department of Biostatistics at the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences (IMB),
-- Department of Informatics (IfI)
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU): -- Department of Mathematical Sciences




Norsk Hydro ASA


Institute of Marine Research (IMR)


Oslo University Hospital (OUS)
Smerud Medical Research

This creates a new R&D team, with about 40 statisticians and researchers from partners, forming a strong, internationally recognised group. The corporate partners are active in the international market and include large companies, as well as smaller enterprises with technological potential. These companies have vibrant internal research activities, and have already used modern statistics for improved quality and innovation.

Arnoldo Frigessi is the director of (sfi)². Io bw

Statistical science is the fundamental tool for the collection, exploration, integration, analysis, computation and interpretation of data. It enables discovery and advancement in science, technology, industry and services. The centre Statistics for Innovation will make modern statistics a tool for innovation in Norwegian enterprises, leading to new competitive technologies, products and services. We will focus on innovation in four key sectors:

Petroleum         Finance         Marine         Health

The objective of the centre is to generate research results that induce innovation in these sectors simultaneously. The identification of common research needs is based on decades of collaboration between researchers, both methodological and applied, and corporate partners, creating the centre. This cross-disciplinary team from academia, research institutes and companies aims to produce the next generation of statistical methodology for innovation. Statistics for innovation will take an internationally leading position and be a resource for the growth and competitiveness of the Norwegian economy.

The four sectors are essential to the Norwegian economy and welfare. They match the fields of science and technology prioritised by the Norwegian Parliament in June 2005. They respond to the needs for innovation in the public sector and the increasing service sector. The oil industry accounts for 21% of the Norwegian GDP and is expected to provide wealth and welfare in the 21st century. However, increasing exploration costs require reduced uncertainty in future decision-making. Banks, insurance companies and financial institutions are the backbone of the economy. Norway has become a major investor on the international arena. Participation in global financial markets requires a thorough understanding of risk factors. The fisheries and marine industry play a crucial role in the economy of coastal districts, in particular the northern ones. Norway has biobanks and health registries of unique quality. These constitute a treasure for drug development and discovery, permitting the growth of a viable biotech industry. The corporate partners in Statistics for Innovation are major actors in the four sectors.

Statistics for Innovation is built on the fact that discovery and innovation in the four sectors pose common challenges to modern statistics. For example, although they are quite different fields, individual risk for adverse effects in therapy and credit risk scoring for commercial enterprises can be handled with the same statistical methodology. Similarly, the description of oil reservoirs or cod abundance in the sea, share the need for prediction methods based on incomplete knowledge and data. In general, risk is a predominant topic and its consequences are widely acknowledged.

Statistics for Innovation is funded by the Research Council of Norway and by the partners, with an annual budget of about 4 mill Euro. Statistics for Innovation participates to the UiO and NTNU training programmes and will fund many PhD grants and postdocs. The centre considers applications of outstanding candidates ongoing.

Read about Statistics for Innovation on NFR's Bladet Forskning, interview with Arnoldo Frigessi. (November 2006)

With the support of the Research Council of Norway

Innovation Areas