Bees, bridges and climate tools: Here is what we have learnt from the rapid innovation research projects


What is the difference between bridges and aeroplanes? And have we encountered a new species of bee due to climate change? 

The answers to these and many more questions were given at COWIfonden's first-of-its-kind awards night, where the first seven successful applicants of the rapid innovation funds presented their research projects and findings. 

The funded projects span topics as different as endangered bees, buffeting response simulations of long-span bridges, a new climate data tool and a greenhouse gas assessment.

Better science and spatial planning

One of the projects was a survey of rare and endangered bees and potential new species for Norway due to climate change, and the results proved to be rewarding.

"Global biodiversity is declining, and bee populations are subject to concern," says Biologist Kaj-Andreas Hanevik, biologist at COWI, the successful applicant behind the project, at his presentation.

The project covered a survey of potential hotspot habitats for bees to spot new species in 15 sites in Norway close to the Swedish border.

People researching bees

Image: Kaj-Andreas Hanevik

In total, Hanevik and his colleague sampled bees from 37 different species. They did not find any new species for Norway but discovered several near-threatened bee species and a critically endangered bee species.

Thanks to the project, COWI can provide data for scientists and is able to practise more ecosystem-friendly spatial planning and train employees in the highly specialised biological skills needed to identify rare bee species.

"This project contributes to increased knowledge on endangered bees in Norway, and it provides vital conservation information for the survival of bees," Hanevik says.

More awards nights to come

A celebratory awards night will be held every six months, where successful applicants present their findings to COWI and COWIfonden.
COWIfonden's rapid innovation initiative "Fast & Furious" aims to promote innovation and professional development, and you can apply for funding for projects based on cooperation with partners, experimental work, and physical and digital prototyping. You can also apply for funds for workshops, hackathons and conferences for COWI employees. 

If you want to apply for the funds, fill in this form.

And if you were wondering about the answers to the questions above, the first might be rather obvious: Bridges do not fly, as Michael Styrk Andersen, another of the successful applicants, explained in his presentation. If you want the full explanation along with the other results and findings, you can watch the whole show here:

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