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Innovation Norway strengthens its Brussels team

This month saw Innovation Norway’s Brussels office expand, as Head of office Hans Eirik Melandsø was joined by two new colleagues and a new intern. The scaleup reflects current developments in Europe, where the EU has kept launching an ambitious set of policies to solve pressing challenges and create economic growth.

- The strategies for growth and digitalisation, Green Deal and Digital Agenda, are examples of how the Commission sees the resolution of the most pressing challenges today as complementary, integrating goals like climate change mitigation with industry creation and economic growth. This creates new opportunities and requirements to Norwegian businesses, says Melandsø.

Hence, as the Norwegian government’s main instrument for innovation and development of enterprises and industry, IN’s increased presence in Brussels is key.

- The EU is our most important export market. Nonetheless, it is also a critical provider of financial support and partners for Norwegian SMEs, through programmes like the R&I framework programme Horizon Europe.

This is the reason why IN, together with the Research Council of Norway and HKDir, has been present in Brussels as part of the joint office NorCore since 2016. Hans Eirik has been Head of Innovation Norway Brussels since September 2020. He holds a MSc in Political Economy from the Norwegian School of Management. Before coming to Brussels Hans Eirik has held various positions within Innovation Norway, including heading the Health portfolio and the Cluster program.

Bendik Zinedin Gran-Johnsen, the new intern, is currently a student at Norwegian School of Economics, where he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Business and Economics. He has a one-year degree in Political Science from University of Oslo, and some experience as a journalist in Dagens Næringsliv and NRK. His field of interest is wide within the combination of economics and politics. Bendik is grateful to be in Brussels, where he will work until the end of May.

Hans Eirik is also joined by Horizon Europe advisor Aleksander Olsen and EU advisor Iben Ringvej Dahl.

Prior to joining Innovation Norway, Aleksander worked for eight years as a consultant for Mott MacDonald and the Germany Agency for Development Cooperation (GIZ) on several projects for the European Commission (DG NEAR) focused on supporting infrastructure development and SMEs in the Western Balkans. Through this experience, Aleksander gained expertise in investment planning, grant management, and multi-sector project preparation, evaluation, and application support.

Iben is a political scientist with her main skills in energy and climate policy and policy analysis. Iben has worked with the Norwegian knowledge sector through internships at Uninett (now Sikt) in Trondheim and NorCore and SINTEF in Brussels. She also has some experience as a music critic.

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