Income from Matis’ international projects now represents more than 20% of the company’s overall operations; a figure which has been increasing over the last few years.
“I see this development continuing as it is important for us both professionally, and in terms of operations” says Oddur Már Gunnarsson, Director of Business Development at Matís.
Matís is a state-owned company and as such, receives contributions from the Icelandic state. These contributions have diminished in line with overall cutbacks to public spending following the economic recession in Iceland. However, it is safe to say that Matís has managed to effectively respond to these restraints by expanding evermore into foreign projects. This has resulted in the company posting profits over the past few years despite the recession in Iceland. Further, the company has not had to take austerity measures, such as employee cutbacks, like so many other companies have had to do.
Europe and Scandinavia the most important
“We are involved in projects in many continents, but the largest and most important ones are in Scandinavia and in Europe. We can be proud of the success we have achieved and it is a clear indication of Matís’ current strength.
Competition for foreign projects is substantial, but in 2009, we systematically embarked on the task of guiding our staff on how to apply for grants and then, set about looking for projects and funds in foreign markets in a pragmatic manner,” states Oddur Már. A large part of these foreign projects is funded by the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme (of which Matís is an active participant), and by Nordic innovation and research funds, such as NICe and Nora.
Tiny nation – large producer of food
The foreign projects for which Matís applies are, in all cases, collaborative projects with several other partners: similar research companies and institutions, as well as various other companies and universities. In many cases, there are also other Icelandic partners involved and it is not uncommon that Matís leads such projects. “Our company builds on an extensive knowledge base and we have had years of experience in establishing contacts. Matís was built upon this base and in only a few years, has become a powerful research facility and garnered a strong international reputation. The development of Matís, as well as its priorities coincide well with the similar emphasis of many of our foreign projects; we are experts in areas such as biotechnology, genetic technology, energy, geo-thermal heat, and research for the fishing industry.
In many regards, Iceland is small among nations; it hardly measures up when counting population figures. However, we are indeed large when it comes to fisheries and the manufacturing of fish products. At Matís, this stature is utilized to forge ahead and substantiate our future success.”