Solo in Oslo – Barry Singleton

Barry Singleton in Oslo posing in front of statues.

The Leeds Norway Health Tech Partnership, led by Leeds City Council and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, has been sharing knowledge and ideas for many years and Oslo joined Leeds on the hugely successful Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s regional entrepreneurship acceleration programme (MIT REAP).

Following a Nexus-hosted event for the Partnership last year, Barry Singleton, Nexus Business Development Officer, made a return visit recently. He shares some of the highlights with us:

Visiting Oslo Science Park was a real privilege and a great opportunity to continue the conversations we enjoyed here at Nexus for the LTHT’s Innovation Pop-up team event.

We have so much in common. Like us, the park aims to foster collaboration between businesses, research institutions and start-ups, to promote knowledge-based entrepreneurship and support the growth of sustainable and globally competitive businesses.

Fostering innovation, creativity and knowledge-sharing, while providing access to funding, expertise and the infrastructure necessary for the development of new technologies, it had all the Nexus hallmarks of welcoming staff, collaborative working and true community. And just like Nexus in Leeds, they offered the best coffee in Oslo.

The park has been established since 1986 and is centrally located, only ten minutes from Oslo city centre, between the campuses of the University of Oslo and Oslo University Hospital. More than 160 companies and research organisations have offices and lab space there and I met some incredible entrepreneurs in the healthcare and wellbeing sector including:

Health2B: a collaboration arena where public and private sector meet to discuss, innovate and create solutions for future healthcare.

Norway Health Tech: which provided insights into the integrated Norwegian health and social care system

Lifeness: whose specialised medical programmes support people with obesity and lifestyle conditions

Holocare: who are developing a multi-speciality holographic toolkit to support smart, 3D surgical planning

Smart Crowding: who are helping to tackle the global problem of overcrowding and waiting times in hospitals and healthcare centres – we’re delighted to say they are soon to join Nexus as community members

Medical Laboratory from the Innovation Hub in Oslo

CEO at Oslo Science Park, Bjorn Erik Reinseth, gave some invaluable insights into the park’s work to develop a knowledge-based economy in Norway and create a sustainable future for the country and the world. This very much reflects the work taking part in the Nexus community as part of the Leeds Innovation Arc – the innovation neighbourhoods based around our main universities, the proposed adult and children’s hospitals and major private sector partners.

Our cities also share a commitment to smart cities, in order to improve the quality of life of people in the community and Oslo’s fully integrated transport system provides a demonstrable example of the benefits.

High Angle photograph of Innovation Hub.

Leeds and Oslo. UK and Norway. We share many similarities with the Nordics. I used to think my veins were bursting with Viking blood until a DNA test told me otherwise. English place names, our language and our civilisation have all been heavily influenced by our Viking cousins. Live in Wetherby, Haxby, Flaxby, or if you have ever been drinking in Mabgate, Kirkgate or even Harrogate, you’re following in the footsteps of Viking settlers.

For me, the biggest similarity is the welcome. I might have been travelling solo in Oslo, but I was made to feel very much connected – something which is very familiar if you work and/or live in Leeds.

Hygge (or Koselig as they say in Norway) – the Scandinavian spirit of conviviality – captures so much that we have in common as our incredible entrepreneurs and innovators work towards a better and happier world.