A brief history of NTNU:

NTNU - the nation builder

Whether in the oil industry, search engines, or jazz - new standards are being set by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Photo: Oil drilling Plattform Gullfaks C in the North Sea

Norway is a small country with natural resources that have placed it in a privileged position. When oil and gas were first discovered on the Norwegian continental shelf in 1969, Norway had limited technological expertise in petroleum exploration and production. Extracting oil from reservoirs about a kilometre below the seabed was no easy task. Nevertheless the Norwegian government stepped into the petroleum age. And what is today NTNU was given a vital role in building this new industry.

Photo: high-voltage power line Top priority to energy and environmental research
Today Norway has become one of the world’s largest exporters of oil and natural gas, and probably has the most technologically advanced industry in the world in offshore production. An important challenge we now face is developing the technology and strategies to prevent CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. Energy and environmental research is one of the top priorities at NTNU.

The roots of Norway’s maritime technological leadership go back more than a thousand years, when know-how in shipbuilding enabled the Vikings to build colonies and trade throughout the North Atlantic.

Norway has 2650 kilometres of indented coastline and deep fjords fed by rivers off the inland mountain plateaus. This provides clean renewable energy – hydropower and electricity to Norwegian offices, factories and houses. Engineers educated in Trondheim have been central in building the infrastructure that makes all this possible. Off the coast there are the abundant sources of healthy food - fish-farms in coastal waters and fisheries on the banks in the North Sea and Norwegian Sea. Energy resources, advanced technology and the fisheries are the three pillars that underpin one of the healthiest economies on the planet.

Photo: Researcher at the Department of Civil and Transport Engineering working in the field Building the nation
Norway's technological advances are deeply entwined with the establishment of the Norwegian Institute of Technology (NTH) in Trondheim in 1910 – the forerunner of NTNU. From the beginning, the country’s potential and existing natural resources shaped this institution’s areas of research and expertise. As it was assigned the national responsibility for education and research in technology, eighty per cent of the country's graduate engineers have been educated in Trondheim. The graduates of our university have literally been building the nation for almost a century.

NTNU is renowned for its high international standards not just in energy and environmental R&D, but also in medical technology, materials science, marine and maritime research and information and communication technology. World class research at NTNU and SINTEF - our close partner in contract research - generates products and solutions worth billions of dollars a year.

Creative, Constructive, Critical
NTNU is Norway’s second-largest university. As the name implies, natural sciences and technology are our main profile, but at the same time NTNU is a comprehensive university with a broad range of research and education within fine art and the humanities, the social sciences, architecture and medicine. But there is more, NTNU has a highly esteemed music performance milieu – and here students and staff have had the honour to go on tour with some of the world’s greatest musicians, like the violin virtuoso Anne Sophie Mutter and jazz legend Chick Corea.

NTNU is committed to the fundamental values of similar academic institutions in an open society. Our vision of Creative, Constructive, Critical means that NTNU represents integrity, openness and high ethical standards in all of its activities.

Photo: 3D imaging techniques that our scientists are developing. GSM, Internet search, and 3D ultrasound
Innovation and creativity are requirements for all good science, but for NTNU these qualities have a special meaning. We place considerable emphasis on interdisciplinary cooperation, technology transfer, entrepreneurship and the application of research results, whether on campus or through spin-off companies.

The GSM technology in the now universal mobile phone was first developed here. The leading search engines on the Internet today use algorithms invented at NTNU. Hospitals all over the world benefit from 3D imaging techniques that our scientists are developing. Cars are becoming safer thanks to the light alloy research carried out in Trondheim.

World-class ambitions
In 1950, NTH established the Foundation for Scientific and Industrial Research (SINTEF), which has since grown into Scandinavia’s largest independent research organization with particular focus on applied research. In 2006 these two institutions, with total budgets of almost USD 1 billion, entered into a strategic alliance to develop the technological environment in Trondheim internationally. The aim is to be among the world leaders in selected areas of R&D: marine technology, biomarine activities, globalization, ICT, and materials science.

We welcome you to learn more about our university that has made creativity and innovation a hallmark for all activities, ranging from the challenges of subsea production of oil and gas in deepwater and arctic areas, to the making of new standards in jazz.

Facts and figures

  • Our vision: Creative, Constructive, Critical
  • Annual budget NOK 4.2 billion (approx. USD 800 million)
  • 7 faculties and 53 departments
  • 20 000 students, half of these are studying technology or the natural sciences
  • 48 per cent of NTNU's students are female
  • About 3300 degrees awarded each year: 1100 bachelor’s, 2200 master’s and 260 doctoral degrees.
  • About 750 international students.
  • Total premises 550 000 m2
  • 4200 man-years. Over half in academic or scientific positions
  • Engaged in about 2000 R&D projects
  • More than 100 laboratories
  • NTNU Library has 2.8 million printed volumes, 37 500 electronic books and10 000 electronic journals, and access to 1200 international reference databases
  • International student exchange programmes and bilateral agreements with numerous universities around the world
  • Close cooperation with SINTEF, an R&D organization with 1800 employees (located both on the NTNU campus and in Oslo)