The story behind Research Park begins several years ago. Originally the intention was to build a large research park at Debesartrøð, but this plan was never realized.
In 2009 a group consisting of Regin W. Dalsgaard, chairman of the Faroese Business Development Fund (Vinnuframi), Pál Weihe, chief physician at the Department of Occupational Medicine and Public Health in the Faroese Hospital System, and Sigurð Ó. Vang, chairman of the board of P/F Fiskaaling, took the initiative to create a research park in Vinnuframi’s buildings on Hoyvíksvegur, Tórshavn.
Since mold had been detected in the buildings, the original tenants, the national monopoly on alcohol (Rúsdrekkasøla Landsins), had to evacuate the premises. After the renovations the empty buildings were a choice location, and through cooperation and political goodwill, 13 million DKK was granted by the state to create a research park. Using these funds, Vinnuframi, in close cooperation with the Faroese scientific community, converted the empty buildings into a modern laboratory facility.
The research park is a joint public/private enterprise, where the public domain contributes the physical framework, while the private domain manages the facility. The private cooperation iNOVA, whose purpose it is to manage the research park, was founded in November 2011. Private interest in the enterprise has been great, and several Faroese businesses and institutions opted to invest in the company.
The founders of iNOVA are: P/F Fiskaaling, Felagið Nótaskip, P/F Bakkafrost, P/F Havsbrún, TF Holding, Framtak, P/F Luna, P/F Marine Harvest Faroes, Sp/F Tavan and MBM. The company was founded with 1,3 million DKK in capital.
The board of iNOVA consists of Jógvan Jespersen, representing the private domain, Durita Nielsen, representing private research, Debes H. Christiansen, representing public research and Regin W. Dalsgaard, representing Vinnuframi.
Common access instruments
Vinnuframi was granted an additional 6,6 million DKK by the Parliament of the Faroe Islands to procure advanced scientific instruments to be installed at Research Park iNOVA. Realizing that many samples are sent abroad for testing, Vinnuframi hired Janus Vang, Ph.D. in biochemistry, to assess the nature and volume of this traffic. It was determined that the value of tests and analyses performed abroad on Faroese samples in 2012 was about 20 million DKK, and that many of these tests and analysis could be performed on the Islands. This would be advantageous to the Faroese, since it would attract skilled professionals, increase the scientific infrastructure of the islands, and result in reduced response-time for patients and companies.
By selecting the right instruments to install in Research Park iNOVA, Vinnuframi expects that part of the money spent on foreign tests will stay on the Faroe Islands, and that new research will thrive in the park.
In October 2013 Janus Vang was hired as the new director of Research Park iNOVA. He earned his masters in chemistry and molecular biology from Roskilde University, after which he worked as a research scientist at the University of Copenhagen. In 2006 he moved to the USA, where he did his Ph.D. in Biomedical Science, focused on protein chemistry, at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
As director of Research Park iNOVA Janus Vang will be the daily leader of the facility, which was taken into use in June, 2013. Apart from administrative tasks his main responsibility will be to build and develop a vibrant and creative scientific environment.