UiB and Media City Bergen awarded SFI Centre for Research-based Innovation

Published 12.06.2020
The University of Bergen and the Norwegian Media Cluster has been awarded a SFI Centre for Research-based Innovation from the Norwegian Research Council. The center MediaFutures will develop responsible media technology and innovation targeting the next generations of media users.

– This means that we can invest heavily in research and innovation in responsible media technology in Bergen. With this center, MediaFutures, Media City Bergen will strengthen its position as a leading environment for knowledge, media technology and innovation, says Leif Ove Larsen, Head of Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen.

National broadcasters TV 2 and NRK are partners in the centre, as well as several publishers, media tech companies and academic institutions (see full list below). 

A key area for the research centre is to find ways to fight fake news and filter bubbles, using new technology and artificial intelligence. The centre will also work in different fields like media audience understanding, new business models, modeling and personalization, media content production & analysis, media content interaction & accessibility, and language technology.

Digital technology and new communication patterns in a networked society has challenged the role of editorial news media as the cornerstone of a free and democratic society. Simultaneously, the current transformations of the public sphere highlight the importance of trustworthy news media facilitating an open and enlightened public discourse. The centre will address current societal challenges including biases in AI, fake news (and deep-fakes), echo chambers and political polarization created through media technology. (Source; MediaFutures)

A proud day
– We are very proud. An SFI to Media City Bergen is something we have been working on for many years. In this, we consolidate our position as the epicenter of democracy-preserving media technology and content production. We can all look forward to the innovations that will come from this centre in the years to come, says Haavard Myklebust, Chairman of Media City Bergen. 

Anne Jacobsen, CEO of Media City Bergen, is also pleased that the SFI proposal has been successful.  

– This is a fantastic acknowledgement of the strong research environment at the University, as well as a recognition of the Norwegian Media Cluster, built on a foundation of collaboration and cooperation between academic partners, media tech companies and publishers, says Jacobsen.

– Over the years the Media Cluster has developed key competence and innovation power for future media, and is very well equipped to take on this type of tasks.

The SFI Instrument
The funding scale for an SFI is NOK 300 million (30 000 000 Euro). It is a dedicated, long-term initiative designed to strengthen and further develop elite, creative research and innovation groups or to build up research groups in strategically important areas. The overall objective of the Centres for Research-based Innovation (SFI) scheme is to enhance the ability of the business sector to innovate and create value through a greater focus on long-term research.

When selecting centres for SFI status and funding, the Research Council looks for centres with potential to generate innovation, business development and sustainable value creation within the centre’s thematic priority areas. The scientific merit of the research must be of high international calibre. (Source: The Norwegian Research Council)

The SFI-partners
The University of Bergen’s Department of Information Science and Media Studies will lead and host the centre. Media partners include NRK and TV 2, the two main TV broadcasters in Norway, and media houses Schibsted and Amedia, including Bergens Tidende. The technology partners are Vizrt, Vimond, Wolftech, Highsoft, Fonn and IBM.

Research partners are the University of Oslo, the University of Stavanger, NORCE, VU Amsterdam, the Open University UK and the University of Oxford.

Article in Norwegian: https://mediacitybergen.no/home/sfi-tildeling-uib/

Read more about MediaFutures here: https://www.uib.no/en/svf/130873/30-mill-euro-plan-develop-responsible-media-technology