Interactive research takes off in Norden

02.04.2001
Norden is seen as an IT region of international importance, in research and development as well as production. However, many of the research institutions are relatively small and collaboration among them is often uncoordinated. This where the Nordic Interactive network comes into the picture.
Norden is seen as an IT region of international importance, in research and development as well as production. However, many of the research institutions are relatively small and collaboration among them is often uncoordinated. This where the Nordic Interactive network comes into the picture.

Nordic Interactive supports research, development and education the field of interactive digital technology. The network also encourages contacts among researchers as well as between the research and business communities.

What is interactive digital technology?
According to Kaj Grønbæk of the computer science department at Aarhus University, it is "the technology behind those media which can be actively controlled by the consumer. A collective term for this is ‘multimedia‘, where there is room for web technology, CD-ROM, DVD, virtual reality and interactive TV".

Interactive technology will become increasingly important in the educational sector, Grønbæk believes. "A number of universities in the USA currently offer Internet-based courses", he says; "and Denmark is on the way to setting up a virtual university where the student can be anywhere in the world."

This new resource must not mean lower standards, however. "Virtual technology is best suited to subjects where the aim is to teach oneself a particular skill or technique."

Nordic Interactive, which is supported by the Nordic Industrial Fund, offers a high level of activity, arranging seminars, workshops, conferences, exhibitions, etc. In October this year Nordic Interactive is to host the first interactive conference in Norden, in Copenhagen.

Three groups are eligible for membership in Nordic Interactive: individuals involved in research on interactive digital technology, universities and other institutions, and companies involved in R&D in the field.

Leading experts
"Current IT development is so strongly influenced by the USA that we sometimes forget to talk to our own neighbours", observes Lise Bollhorn, head of Nordic Interactive. "The fact is that we in the Nordic countries have some of the world‘s leading experts and many talented people who can do amazing things together. This is what Nordic Interactive is about."

One of the first great results of Nordic collaboration in the field of interactive digital technology is the formation of the research network known as the Nordic Interactive Research School (NIRES), led by Kaj Grønbæk. NIRES, which is supported by NorFA and works closely with Nordic Interactive, arranges an annual week-long research training course for doctoral candidates.

The network seeks to exploit existing resources and expertise in Nordic Interactive to enable researchers to exchange knowledge and experience. NIRES‘ ultimate aim is to establish an internationally important virtual Nordic research training school in the field of interactive digital technology.

Research courses
NIRES is arranging research courses in different Nordic countries this year; in May such a course is to be held for the first time in Oslo. The lecturers are not exclusively Nordic, and the courses are popular, normally attracting 25 to 40 students.

For further information: www.nordic-interactive.org
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