Published 2020-11-12

Schibsted steps up research-based innovation in AI

Located at NTNU in Trondheim, the new research center NorwAI aims at being the AI national power hub

Sven Størmer Thaulow, EVP & Chief Data and Technology Officer at Schibsted, also appointed chairman of the board for NorwAI. FOTO: MARTIN SLOTTEMO LYNGSTAD / PARAGON FOR SCHIBSTED

Today marks the kickoff for Norway’s most prominent centre for research-based innovation within Artificial Intelligence (AI). Located at NTNU in Trondheim, the new research center NorwAI aims at being the national power hub when it comes to AI, bringing together large industry players and academia. 

“Close collaboration between prominent research communities, industry partners and public administrative bodies has proven to be an effective model for innovation,“ says Sven Størmer Thaulow, EVP & Chief Data and Technology Officer at Schibsted, also appointed chairman of the board for the newly established research centre NorwAI. 

“Our engineering teams will be exposed to leading technology research, while at same time contributing to building and defining how Norway will work with the technology of tomorrow,” continues Thaulow.

The center will be a growth engine where the ambitious partners gather for business-oriented research and innovation under NTNU´s (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and SINTEF´s (One of Europe’s largest independent research organizations), leadership. The center opens officially today, Thursday the 12th of November, at 10 am, at NTNU in Trondheim.

“The use of artificial intelligence requires real data in really large quantities. When we have the collaboration across industries that we now see in NorwAI, the various businesses can also gain access to massive datasets that will not only contribute to research, but also help the industry to build new tools and business models,” says Professor Jon Atle Gulla at the Department of Computer Technology and Informatics at NTNU, who also heads the new center.

Schibsted to participate in two SFI´s

Centres for Research-based Innovation (SFI) are established to stimulate innovation in Norwegian businesses and industry through a greater focus on long-term research. The research is conducted by prominent research institutions, in close collaboration with a consortium of industry partners, and aims to enhance technology transfer and value creation through the application of research results on real-life problems. 

Schibsted is participating as an industry partner in two research centres funded by the Research Council of Norway. The research centres kicked-off this autumn, and will focus on research contributing to the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

“We participated in the application process for these two SFIs last year, and I am both proud and excited that both of them were approved by the Research Council. Innovation is part of Schibsted´s DNA, and our hope is that being part of this collective intelligence will both benefit our industry as a whole, and unleash creativity and the creation of emerging technologies within our own engineering teams,” adds Thaulow.

The SFIs that Schibsted will be a part of include:

  • Norwegian Research Center for AI Innovation (NorwAI) is a new research center on AI and Big Data, hosted by NTNU. The goal of the center is to develop cutting-edge theories, methods and technology for efficient, effective and responsible exploitation of data-driven AI in innovative industrial solutions. The consortium composition are media, finance and Industry 2.0 companies: Schibsted ASA (chair of the consortium board) Telenor ASA, DNB ASA and Sparebank1 SMN, Norsk Rikskringkasting AS, Retriever Norge AS, DNV GL AS, Kongsberg Digital AS, Cognite AS, Trønderenergi AS and DigitalNorway. The center will eventually open to participation from other industries as well.
  • MediaFutures (Research Centre for Responsible Media Technology & Innovation), hosted by the University of Bergen (UiB). This centre will focus on Norwegian news media and the mediatech industry. The aim is to develop advanced new media technology for responsible and effective media user engagement, media content production, media content interaction and accessibility, as well as research on new methods and metrics for precise audience understanding. From the media industry in Norway, partners include NRK, TV2 and Amedia to mention a few. Bergens Tidende, a Schibsted company, is also participating in this SFI as an independent member. Laila Dahlen, Chief Product Officer at Schibsted News Media, will be joining as a representative on the board of MediaFutures.

Shaping the Artificial Intelligence of tomorrow

“To spur innovation, it is key to have a playful approach to technology and get our heads out of the box. Our teams need to constantly work on leading-edge technology, and prepare for what our customers and society needs, tomorrow. Research is one of several tools to develop our expertise and promote innovation,” says Ioana Hafsfrid, who heads Schibsted´s Machine Learning team; a team of seven talented data scientists and engineers from all over the world, three of which are women.

The Schibsted Machine Learning team is heavily focused on understanding content and consumption of content, for example from our news sites and marketplaces, especially in regards to Nordic languages. “We are really looking forward to working with these research projects. For Schibsted, participation in these two research centres will be closely linked to what we are actually working on in practice. We believe we will greatly leverage the insight and data gathered through the research, at the same time as we, through transparency on these projects, will benefit society as a whole”.

The research centres will run an initial five-year period with the possibility of a three-year extension. Schibsted will contribute with its own innovation activities related to the research areas, as well as cash funding. In return, we get access to researchers, research results and a large consortium of very interesting industry and research partners.

From left to right: Heri Ramampiaro, Anne Borg, Sven Størmer Thaulow and Jon Atle Gulla.

Sven Størmer Thaulow being interviewed by Norway’s national TV broadcaster NRK.


Contact information:

Sven Størmer Thaulow, Chair of the board and CTO Schibsted, +47 952 80 477 

Nathalie Kåvin, Head of External Communications, Schibsted,   / +47 934 01 363

Jon Atle Gulla, Head of NorwAI and professor at NTNU, +47 913 47 759

Arne Jørgen Berre, Innovation Head at NorwAI and Senior scientist Sintef, / +47 920 47 452