Oslo is the capital of the Kingdom of Norway with over 500 000 inhabitants. The geographical area of Oslo is 450 sq. km. In the greater Oslo region there is approximately 1, 5 million inhabitants.
The higher education and R&D environment consist of 22 private and public universities and colleges, 75 private and public R&D institutions, six centres of excellence for R&D and three science parks. The University of Oslo holds four Nobel Prizes and is the largest knowledge institution in the region, with 30 000 students and 4600 employees. In total, more than 60 000 students are living in the region. The knowledge environment in the Oslo region is the force behind internationally competitive R&D in a number of specialist areas.
The main strategic element in promoting innovation in the Oslo region is to work with existing and potential clusters with supporting and initiating concrete innovation and marketing projects between stakeholders within the clusters in order to release the cluster potential. The clusters are organized in five networks where the most important stakeholders meet at least four times a year.
Prioritized clusters and niches within them are ICT, energy (incl. oil, gas, and environmental technology), maritime and shipping, life sciences, and design, culture and media. The Oslo region has extensive knowledge base in these clusters. The cooperation between important companies, R&D institutions and public sector are the major pillars of both the innovation and international marketing strategies. The five clusters are organised in five networks administrated by Oslo Teknopol, the regional development agency. The main activity in the networks is to promote and realise innovative projects. In total there are 22 ongoing projects in the networks, all from joint marketing activities to innovation projects in companies.
Restructuring, innovation and entrepreneurship are the key objectives for the Norwegian regional innovation policies. In 2003, the Norwegian government introduced a new comprehensive innovation policy and established a Government Innovation Board to promote entrepreneurship, business start-ups and spin-off firms and develop regional networks. In the Oslo region, the innovation support system is comprehensive due to the many R&D and higher educational institutions and the process of coordinating activities between different stakeholders has been successful but is still ongoing.