Norway’s leading competence centre for aquatic issues The Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA) is a national research institute organised as a private foundation. The institute is Norway’s foremost professional competence centre for environmental and resource issues relating to the field of water. NIVA carries out research and monitoring, as well as innovation and development work.
NIVA plays a vital role in water resources management as a provider of research-based studies and advisory services. NIVA has a central role in providing scientifically based knowledge for policy- making on water related issues. NIVA’s broad scope of competence, research expertise and extensive data collections represent an important resource for Norwegian business activities and industries, public administration on a municipal, regional and national level, and for Norwegian interests in the international arena. NIVA works both in fresh water and marine environments, often with a focus on coastal areas, with unique insights about the interaction between fresh water and marine influences.
Organisation and location
NIVA was established in 1958 and is a foundation with a management board appointed by the Ministry of the Environment (MD), the Research Council of Norway and the employees of NIVA. The institute receives an annual basic grant from the Research Council, which represents about 11 % of NIVA’s turnover. NIVA has 222 employees where 189 are water professionals. Over half of the researchers have doctorates. Their expertise covers the fields of chemistry, biology, limnology, geology, hydrology, environmental technology, environmental toxicology, oceanography, geography, resources management and economics.
NIVA’s headquarter is in Oslo and there are regional offices in Bergen, Grimstad, Hamar and Trondheim, as well as a large scale marine research station at Drøbak by the Oslofjord. In addition to the NIVA foundation itself, the NIVA Group consists of the research and consultancy companies Akvaplan-niva AS in Tromsø, Norway, AquaBiota Water Research AB in Stockholm, Sweden, and NIVA Chile SA in Puerto Varas, Chile, plus the development firms NIVA-tech AS, BallastTech- NIVA AS, EIF-Air AS and DOSCON AS and their subsidiaries. The NIVA Group has a total of 300 employees and had an annual turnover of € 37 million in 2009.
Research and scientific production
NIVA’s researchers carry out about 700 projects every year for central and local public administration, business and industry, the Research Council of Norway and the EU and other bi- and multilateral donors. NIVA has excellent facilities for conducting research activities; chemical and biological laboratories, a marine research station at Solbergstrand and field research areas with extensive long- term collections of data. NIVA also has a collection of algae cultures that includes the world’s best blue-green algae collection. This enables us to set up installations and perform advanced analyses and experiments. We have accumulated significant amounts of data in our databases during NIVA’s over 50 years of performance, representing a strong foundation of experience.
NIVA’s researchers continue their comprehensive production of referee-evaluated scientific papers for international journals (about 100 articles in 2009). NIVA also published 154 reports in 2009 for in- house publication in addition to publication releases from other institutes and publications in channels for popular science.
NIVA seeks close co-operation with universities through research fellowships, part-time professor positions and project collaboration. NIVA’s scholarships are vital for education and recruitment of researchers and they extend opportunities for basic and applied research in NIVA’s fields of expertise. NIVA has cultivated its own stipend policies to ensure development of competence, excellent assistance and observation as well as integration with NIVA’s other undertakings.
NIVA’s global activities
NIVA maintains a strong international profile in its undertakings. The institute has had projects in over 70 countries. A quarter of NIVA’s turnover is related to international projects.
NIVA is eagerly involved in EU research programmes and has participated in over 50 EU FP projects. These provide visibility, ample growth in competence and development of international networks that are becoming increasingly important. Project collaboration with the new EU countries through the European Economic Area (EEA) agreement is in keeping with a national strategy aimed at active participation in an integrated Europe.
CIENS – a multidisciplinary and innovative collaboration
NIVA is part of CIENS; a strategic research collaboration among independent research institutes and the University of Oslo. Participants share a joint office complex and co-operate on strategic development, research and information tasks. CIENS consolidates 500 persons under a single roof in a new and environmentally friendly building at the Oslo Innovation Centre.
For NIVA, CIENS is a platform for multidisciplinary and innovative collaboration between social and natural science communities and between applied research and basic research. NIVA’s location at CIENS also promotes ample opportunities for further cultivation of our efforts in innovation, which represents a new and crucial component of the institute’s activities.