“Matís is not only a powerful research- and knowledge-based company on an Icelandic scale, but is fully comparable to similar foreign companies and institutions”, says Hordur G. Kristinsson, Director of Research.
“For example, it is difficult to find a company with as much extensive knowledge and experience in terms of research on marine products. In this field, we can confidently claim that Matís is among the best in the world,” says Hordur furthermore.
From the beginning, Matís has emphasized international research and development work has expanded with foreign collaborations which are now a large part of the company’s operations. Matís’ employees have both the education and the comprehensive experience useful for endeavors around the world. “This international emphasis is necessary to maintain Matís’ solid operations and to connect even further with other strong and established research- and development groups abroad. International collaboration is the key to the advancement of research which in turn, clearly benefits Icelandic society.
An example of the success Matís currently enjoys is that we are participating in approximately 30 international research projects. Of those, Matís is a leading partner in ten large projects, all involving several international co-operations,” states Hordur G. Kristinsson.
New methods – new approach
Hordur refers to Amylomics and Ecofishman as examples. The two projects are generously supported by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme and have received an outstanding evaluation. The projects are entirely dissimilar and thus, according to Hordur, demonstrate easily the broad field and expert knowledge that is to be found within Matís. “The goal of the Amylomics project is to discover new, robust enzymes from Icelandic hot springs and then transform starches in an innovative way. This could lead to a revolution in how starch variations are utilized in the food industry as one example, as well as in the production and capitalization of novel, Icelandic enzymes. The Ecofishman project is focused on developing a new integrated fisheries management system in which stakeholders have the opportunity to influence the development of the fisheries management. The end result shall lead to necessary improvements to the current fisheries management system for the benefit of all involved,” says
Matís in all continents
Aside from large, continental European projects, Matís’ Nordic collaborations have also been quite robust. Matís was outstanding in receiving grants from the Nordic Innovation Program in the Fall of 2011. Matís is leading five substantial projects that received grants from the Program, and is a key participant in nearly all supported projects. “This is a good example of the energy and ambition that characterizes Matís’ work. The projects vary from developing new consumer produce from Icelandic seaweed to creating a marketing strategy for Nordic white fish products,” says Hordur.
Matís’ collaborations are not only on a European scale, but extend to almost every continent. As one example, a development programs was commenced with the Tanzanian government in 2011. It focuses on the research of fish, fish processing, and an evaluation of the social status of fishing communities around Lake Tanganyika. Over the last few semesters, Matís has worked on other pertinent developmental programs in Africa, such as in Kenya and Mozambique, geared towards quality control and the training of fisheries inspectors and technicians. As further examples, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Matís has been involved in fish farming projects in Chile, as well as researching bioactive chemicals in US seawater in collaboration with both universities, and large corporations. In Canada, a project has just been launched to research fish proteins on Type 2 diabetes, a growing worldwide problem. These projects are all due to the specialized knowledge and experience of the Matís employees whose skills are highly sought after.
Record number of student projects
Matís’ role and influence in the education and training of students has been growing and
the company has strong ties with several respected universities abroad. Hordur mentions
a successful collaboration with the United Nations University (UNU) since its foundation, in
which Matís employees play an important part in the teaching of quality management, while
providing Matís’ facilities to students working on their final projects.
“Last year we had a record number of students with us here at Matís working on various
projects. Included were many foreign students from around the world, all benefiting from the
guidance of Matís’ scientists and the excellent facilities the company has to offer them. They
find Matís an exciting option due to the company’s links to both companies, and the university
environment, since most of the student projects are scientific in nature but with a desire for