We have the pleasure of congratulating Katinka Søvik Bratland and Kim Kristoffersen for winning this year’s best maritime master thesis at Western Norway University of Applied Science (HVL).

Awarded for the best maritime master thesis

They received the prize from Stiftelsen Neptun Bergen and HVL, by a committee consisting of experts at HVL and other relevant industries. Katinka and Kim both graduated as part of the first class from our partner HVL’s newest Masters programme; Innovation and Management, which started august 2015. They won the prize with the paper; “Facilitating innovation in cluster projects” and they collaborated with NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster and NCE Media as cases for their study. The purpose of the study was to investigate how clusters best can facilitate innovation for its members. The thesis focuses on how the regional and economic factors around a cluster affect their facilitation of innovation.

The study has categorized NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster as a specialized cluster project largely focused on salmon. Which was established by key actors in the industry to promote partnership, knowledge sharing and innovation between its members and related cluster projects. The thesis compared the clusters network management strategies with our actual activities from 2016, which lead the authors of the paper to conclude that the clusters focus was mainly divided between the cognitive and political network steering strategies. This suggests that the cluster wants to establish a common knowledge base to face and solve the big issues in the industry, like lice and sustainability. It is difficult to measure the degree of innovation as a direct result of cluster projects, but the paper refers to the launch of the Big Data collaborative, Aquacloud, as a direct result of the establishment of NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster.

The committee listed the following criteria the papers were evaluated from:

It is emphasized that the task has direct industrial significance.
Regional anchoring counts positively.
The thesis has a good and clear structure and a good language
The issue is clearly explained
They have come up with many alternative and partly innovative solutions, and presented them in a straightforward and clear way. And for each option, they have considered key features, so they could conclude with a recommended solution.
The recommended solution is realistic

The committees reasoning for choosing this paper was; “Well predisposed assignment, which has relevant theory in the field. Neat, good language and well-structured thesis. Qualitative case study. Nice and thorough review – and they see it in relation to the theory. Shows that there must be an own special adaptation or customization for each case. Therefore, does not present a simple conclusion, but argues very well for the result. Relevant for maritime cluster.”

Katinka and Kim would like to use this opportunity to thank all the members of the NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster that took time out of their busy schedules to meet with them for an interview. We would also like to thank Katinka and Kim for a fruitful and educational cooperation throughout their master’s thesis.

For those who are interested in the topic, we recommend you read this paper. Please contact Kim Kristoffersen for further information: kimkristoffers1@gmail.com IMG_6579