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InTerAct - Industry-Academia Interaction in the Marine Sector

  • Published 16/01/2015
  • Last updated 24/01/2012
The main goal of the InTerAct project is to establish interaction between the marine sector and universities, to address the higher educational needs of the aquatic food value chain with the long term objective to enhance the innovation capacity of the marine sector.

The project is completed. Download the final report here 


Main objectives:

The main objectives were to strengthen the image of the marine sector, to demonstrate interesting future career opportunities for students and to support the development of a higher education programme with a focus on the aquatic food value chain.

The objectives were met by:

  • Interacting with stakeholders in the aquatic food value chain to assess the industry's challenges and identify gaps in the education.
  • Defining sustainable platforms for industry– academia interaction in educational programmes.
  • Promoting the marine sector´s image as an attractive career opportunity for students with higher education.
  • Strengthening the image of the Nordic marine sector by using new media to reach to students and stakeholders



  • Focus groups were conducted to obtain the stakeholders view towards the need for higher education and to compare the industry's challenges with the content of a current master programme dedicated to the aquatic food value chain.
  • Interviews were applied to analyse the internal image of the marine sector by performing a stakeholder analysis.
  • The external image of the North Atlantic marine sector was explored by conducting surveys among the general public in Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Canada.
  • The views of students towards the marine industry and higher education as well as analysis of what factors influence their choice of education and career were obtained by on-line surveys in the Nordic Universities.
  • Finally, the results from the image analysis and student surveys were applied to create promotion material to present a new image and a value proposition for the AQFood programme.

Concrete results and conclusions:

Activities in the InTerAct project were aimed at positioning higher education with a focus on the needs of the aquatic food sector and using as a case study the new international master programme AQFood - Aquatic Food Production - Safety and Quality ( Based on the findings of the InTerAct project, an image film for the higher education was created and linked to prospects for interesting job opportunities in the aquatic food sector for students graduating from master programmes such as the AQFood (See AQFood Image Film).


The results of the project are important to understand the challenges better when establishing collaboration between industry and higher education and what factors influence students' choices regarding education and future careers. In particular, the results of the surveys among students in the Nordic countries indicate that their interest areas are linked to e.g. innovation, product development and sustainability, which are potential areas for collaboration between higher education programmes and the seafood industries to enhance their competitiveness.


Final report: Ólafsdóttir, G., Jónsdóttir, G.A., Ómarsdóttir, I.L., Tryggvadóttir, G.B., Fredriksen, M., Kirkegaard, H.P., Baron, C., Lekang, O.I., Rustad, T., Kiessling, A. and Bogason, S.G (2014) InTerAct  Industry - Academia Interaction in the Marine Sector. Marine Innovation Programme,  Nordic Innovation, Oslo



The following recommendations are aimed at universities and the aquatic food industry's stakeholders.

The research has created a benchmark for the marine sector and a clear message that the external image of the sector should be improved.

  • Information about the various activities and the dynamic and innovative characteristics of the marine industry should be disseminated much more effectively to the general public.

The image and visibility of the relevant industries in the respective countries appears to have had an influence on the students' interests and their choice of career.

  • The industry needs to communicate its activities much better to students.
  • Explain the various roles of qualified staff with higher education in the enterprises.
  • Describe prospective job opportunities that will meet the interests of the students.
  • Promote the marine sector as an attractive career opportunity for students.

Despite the diversity of the seafood sector in the Nordic countries all participants believed that the educational level of the industry should be improved. They expressed a great need for people with higher education dedicated to the marine industry and were interested in a closer collaboration between the academia and the industry sector as an effective approach to enhance the education level in companies and boost innovation.

  • Increase the cooperation between enterprises in the aquatic food industry and higher education.
  • Create a structured collaboration and communication platform between the marine sector and universities.
  • Establish formal links between the industry and academia through students' projects.
  • Provide opportunities for internship in companies as a way to bridge the gap between the two different worlds, the industry and the academia.

Based on the fact that a minority of students were aware of the AQFood programme, it needs to be much better communicated and promoted by the universities

  • The university websites are the key source of information about education programmes. Videos and promotion materials need to be disseminated to raise the awareness of the programme.
  • Provide examples and clear description of students’ projects and link the basic academic skills to problem solving in the aquatic food industries.
  • Focus on the values that students are interested in like sustainability and innovation.
  • Demonstrate how academic skills can give value and benefits for the society and the companies. 

Project owners:

Sigurður J. Hafsteinsson
University of Iceland, IS
Sigurður Bogason
ASCS Applied Supply Chain Systems Research Group / UoI, IS


Project leader:

Guðrún Ólafsdóttir
University of Iceland (HI), School of Engineering & Natural Sciences, IS


Project members:

Caroline Baron
Technical University of Denmark (DTU), National Food Institute, DK
Turid Rustad
Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Department of Biotechnology, NO
Odd-Ivar Lekang
Norwegian University of Life Science (UMB), Department of Mathematical Sciences and Technology, NO
Anders Kiessling
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental studies, SE
Guðbjörg A Jónsdóttir
SSRI Social Science Research Institute / UoI, IS
Marco Fredriksen
Hans Peter Kirkegaard
Umano, DK
Heather Manuel
CASD Centre for Aquaculture and Seafood Development, Fisheries and Marine Inst., Memorial Univ. of Newfoundland, CA


The InTerAct consortium invites Students, Industries and Academia to participate in the symposium: Enhancing the Innovation Capacity of Seafood Business

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Nordic Marine Innovation Programme


See the Combined list of the projects in the programme

A main premise of the marine innovation program is to have businesses take ownership and an active role in the projects.


Enhance the innovation capability in the Nordic marine sector and thereby its profitability and competitiveness in a global market

Visualise the sector as an interesting sector with huge potential


Strengthen and establish B2B og B2R cooperation and support Nordic ”value chains” – horizontal and vertical


Create platform for multi-disciplinary/sectoral cooperation


Cooperation with Canada


Create Nordic value through more cooperation between Nordic and national innovation agencies


Emphasis on:

- Industry needs and active  
- Concrete results and activities
   close to market
- Sustainability
- Innovation knowledge