This article is also available in Swedish.


A new year brings about hope, opportunities, and revival, but also a new Chair of Nordic Energy Research. The Chair of 2022 will be Rune Volla, Director for energy research at the Research Council of Norway. He is taking over after Helena Sarén, Head of Carbon Neutral Finland mission at Business Finland, who shouldered the role in 2021. What are Rune’s expectations for the upcoming year, for the chairmanship, and for Nordic Energy Research?

“As Chair in 2022, I am dedicated to securing the continuity of my competent Nordic colleagues who have hold the chairmanship before me. At the same time, I will, in co-operation with the administration, work to make the board of Nordic Energy Research contribute to setting the standard based on last year’s revised strategy,” says Rune.

Focus areas

According to Rune, the Nordic countries have very much the same thematic priorities regarding research and development efforts devoted to energy. “It is natural for these themes to be prioritized within Nordic Energy Research as well,” he says, “and that the institution coordinates and structures the Nordic efforts in a way that lets the Nordics benefit as much as possible from the research and act as a unified force in Europe and the rest of the world during the green transition”. Rune mentions the following areas as most relevant to focus on in 2022:


  • Emission free energy sources such as hydrogen, ammonia, and other sustainable synthetic fuels
  • Carbon capture, use, and storage
  • Green shipping
  • Coordinated development of the Nordic common power system

Rune has been Chair of Nordic Energy Research once before, and board member for several years. Consequently, he has empiric insight into the strengths and improvement areas of the institution. “Throughout my time at the board, Nordic Energy Research has strengthened its position and increased its raison d’être by focusing on its coordinating and structuring function between the Nordic countries’ research funding institutions. I believe Nordic Energy Research plays a more important role as a Nordic coordinator than a Nordic energy research council, that would use most of the funding for own calls,” says Rune.

Future aims

Rune hopes that the board will continue to support and reinforce Nordic Energy Research’s position, by implementing the new strategy for 2022. “How far we will reach depends on several factors – most importantly the post-pandemic normalization of the international co-operation that Nordic Energy Research actually is. Many essential processes will begin in 2022, where Nordic Energy Research plays a part. For instance, Nordic Energy Research will have an overall coordinating role on behalf of the Nordic countries in the new partnership Clean Energy Transition Partnership (CETP). I hope that we will see concrete results from this work by the end of the year. In that case, the Nordic region’s role in the European research co-operation would get stronger,” Rune concludes.


All board members can be found here.