Facing the future with science

Matís began operations on January 1, 2007. Since then, the company has slowly, but surely, built itself up and become a stronger science and know-how community, as a domestic as well as an international research company. Over the last decade, Matís has progressed in a very positive manner, emphasizing that its establishment at the time was the right decision. Matís’ employees and board members are prepared to face future challenges and opportunities.

Former institutions and companies, that Matís builds its existence on, have contributed to the Icelandic society in many ways in the past decades. The fishing cluster in Iceland, as Professor Michael Porter at Harvard Business School called it in 2007, benefited from one of Matís’ predecessor, the Icelandic Fisheries Laboratory (IFL) to a great extent and has since then gained momentum with Matís’ operation.


    Cooperation is the key

    Matís has emphasized collaboration since the company began operating in January 2007. It has, for example, collaborated with domestic and international research, innovation and development funds, like AVS (R&D Fund of Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture in Iceland), the Technology Development Fund and Horizon 2020, international companies like PepsiCo, domestic and foreign universities and numerous progressive companies in Iceland.

    Over the last years, Matís strengthened its international network of contacts. Iceland’s global location provides opportunities for collaboration in all directions, and Matís has increasingly emphasized collaboration with Canada and the United States. In collaboration with the minister of fisheries and minister of agriculture, Matís organized a visit for Icelandic companies to Canada in the fall of 2015. Matís visited the fisheries exhibition in Boston, and received numerous representatives of companies, institutions and ministries from North America. Changes in the international business environment and changes in Iceland’s biosphere and the ocean surrounding the country call for broad vision in international collaboration.

    Matís’ results build on collaboration with companies, institutions and universities throughout the world. However, the results are primarily due to the great knowledge and human resources on which Matís’ operations build. During times of rapid technical advancements and changes in all fields of society, there is great need for knowledge and the ability to cope with ever-changing conditions and challenges. Young people with a new vision and armed with technology play a key role in that picture, but experience is no less important. In this context it is worth considering the solid foundation of knowledge that Matís inherited upon the company’s founding in 2007. On that foundation and with the values of integrity, initiative, creative vigor and ambition, Matís will continue progressing, with increased value creation, improved food security and improved public health as its goals.

    Maritime opportunities

    There are significant opportunities for Iceland in maritime resources and other parts of the bioeconomy. Investors, the OECD, the World Bank and other international institutions are increasingly looking to the sustainable utilisation of the oceans’ resources to ensure economic growth and welfare for the Earth’s 9 billion inhabitants in the future.

    For years, Icelanders have emphasised sustainable value creation on the basis of their bioresources, where research and innovation have played key roles. If Icelanders play their cards right, the new bioeconomy policy that has been presented, will become the foundation for further value creation in fisheries, agriculture, forestry, tourism and related industries and create future opportunities for new generations.

    International revolutions drive change

    Those of us who work at Matís are conscious of constant changes in our environment. Change calls for reassessment of procedures and organisation. This way, we can best fulfil our customers’ needs. Globalisation is here to stay. It affects investments, research, production, marketing and the value chain of the entire bioeconomy. It has driven technical revolutions the last several years and will continue to do so in coming years. The international research environment has taken this into account, for instance through “Food for Future”, an ISK 200 billion research and innovation program that was announced last year. Matís is a key participant in Food for Future, along with 50 of the most powerful food companies, research organizations and universities of Europe.

    Integrity as capital

    Science strengthens all achievements. It is built on integrity. It demands that we face facts and build our understanding of the world on observations, not opinions. If we are to use opinions for making decisions, we must check whether they have a foundation. These times of rapid change in technology and social structure, truly put this to the test.

    Matís’ values are integrity, ambition, creativity and initiative. With these values as guidelines, over the last 10 years, Matís’ employees have built up ample capital in the form of infrastructure, processes and skills. Today, we are a strong science and knowhow community, possessing research infrastructure that promotes sustainable value creation and improves food safety and public health. In the next 10 years, we want to further influence these areas for the Icelandic State and our other customers, in Iceland and abroad — investors, companies, institutions, associations and individuals all in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations (SDG17).