Researchers at IRIS and the University of Stavanger work closely together via our joint innovation centre. One important project during the period 2014-2016 is the VRI innovation project. The project brings together researchers from IRIS/UiS, Agder Research Institute/UiA, and the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences in Bergen. The growth of new sectors and industries is studied together with international partners. Another project in collaboration with researchers at the University of Stavanger, Nofima and SINTEF revolves around the aquaculture sector and the use of research-based knowledge in the innovation process. These and other projects contribute further develop a solid common professional scientific community concerning regional innovation research. The projects have strengthened our joint Innovation Centre - and new initiatives, applications and projects are under development.
For many years, we have devoted efforts to the development of research into “Employee-Driven Innovation” (“MDI” in Norwegian). This perspective is relevant to both the public and private sectors. For example, a research study concerning four municipalities is underway, including how they work to promote employee-driven innovation and develop a culture and systems provide the preconditions that facilitate employee-driven innovation.
In another project, we are evaluating a radical innovation at a training centre. The innovation revolves around the training of adults with immigrant backgrounds so that they can become qualified as health care workers. A four-year model has been developed for this target group which includes training at school/technical college, supervised internships/apprenticeships and language training.
In recent years, social science research at IRIS has been involved in research relating to welfare technology. The research is linked to new needs in the public sector (especially the health care sector) and the development of new products that are offered by private companies. There are several projects that build up expertise and knowledge about this “path.”