Innovation, Startups and Venture Capital in Iceland

Innovation Center Iceland to close by end of year, following the new innovation policy

Last Tuesday, the minister of innovation, Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir, announced plans to close down the Innovation Center Iceland (ICI) (is. Nýsköpunarmiðstöð Íslands) by the end of this year. With this decision, the minister hopes to move the support of the public to parts of the innovation environment in more need. 

“It’s essential to regularly revise the purpose of public institutions, so the government can create the optimal support for the innovation environment,” says Þórdís Kolbrún. “Last autumn, we presented an innovation policy for Iceland, followed by some policy actions. This is the next step.”

Following the publishing of the innovation policy, ICI’s projects and operations have been analysed and prioritised. “The next steps require a thorough conversation with stakeholders, and we’ll make sure there’s enough time to take care of the tasks we want to prioritise and protect,” the Minister said in a statement. 

Results of intensive analysis show that a part of the ICI’s tasks can be carried out under a different operational form, a part can be performed by the private market, and another part of the tasks is not a priority for the government anymore because of a more mature innovation environment, and will, therefore, be discontinued. 

ICI was established in 2007, by combining the Technology Institute of Iceland (is. Iðntæknistofnun Íslands) and the Research and Development Center of the Construction Industry (is. Rannsóknarstofa Byggingariðnaðarins).

“The facilities and support the ICI has offered through the years has been invaluable for many entrepreneurs and companies and has been a part of creating the innovation environment as we know it today. This achievement makes us able to take the next step,” says Þórdís Kolbrún.

Public contributions to the ICI exceed 700 m. ISK every year, not taking into account the cost of housing. Half of that amount will now be used to follow up on ICI’s tasks that will be continued. 

“In these 13 years that ICI has operated, the innovation environment has changed drastically. ICI has done an important job in strengthening the support environment of innovation and technology development in Iceland. In light of the positive change that has been in the environment, it’s normal to revise the public involvement, especially in such a lively environment as the innovation sector. Many have joined the support environment of innovation, and this decision is made considering that, as well as the innovation policy,” states Þórdís Kolbrún.

Read more about this (in Icelandic) here.

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