The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy – side event at Arctic Frontiers

Arctic seas

The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy is the topic of a side event organized by Academia Europaea and partners during the Arctic Frontiers conference 2023.

Organizing institution(s):

  • University of Bergen
  • Academia Europaea
  • Norwegian Polar Institute
  • The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA)
  • University of Tromsø

Date and time: (90 minutes) Thursday February 2, 9.00-10.30

Point of contact: Senior adviser UiB//Hub Manager Academia Europaea, Kristin Bakken, Kristin.bakken@uib.no, tlf. 98419420

Session description:

War, pandemic, climate change, biodiversity loss, energy crisis and geopolitical tensions are now part of our everyday life, especially for people living in or near the Arctic. Scientific and evidence-based state-to-state cooperation have historically been intertwined and of high importance in the Arctic, and even in periods when relationships have been strained, collaboration and dialogue has remained operative in this region.

This tight connection between science and diplomacy has traditionally helped reduce geopolitical tensions and facilitated international resource management. However, after Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, the Russo-western relationship has entered an ice-cold face. Due to the war and international sanctions, science, science-based decisions, and science diplomacy suffers severely. Without access to Russian scientists and territory, scientific data become incomplete, creating additional crisis. Reduced international Arctic science collaboration may have severe consequences for climate research and other important scientific topics like social science and ocean ecosystems. The event will highlight and debate following questions:

  • What is the status of Arctic Science diplomacy and collaboration?
  • What are the effects of war on scientific collaborations in the north?
  • What are the effects of the war on volume and value of arctic science?
  • What avenues can we foresee for Arctic Science and science diplomacy?

 

Target audience: government officials, politicians, universities, research institutions, businesses, research finance institutions with an arctic portfolio or interest.

Introductory remarks (10 min for Ole, others 5 minutes each)

  • Ole Øvretveit, Manager of Arctic Science diplomacy project, Academia Europaea
  • Dag Rune Olsen, Rector, University of Tromsø
  • Lise Øvreås, President of The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • Ole Arve Misund, Executive Director, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Nicole Biebow, Chair of The European Polar Board//Alfred Wegner Institute (digital)

Panel debate – Chair: Ole Øvretveit

  • Eystein Jansen, Vice President, European Research Council
  • Mike Sfraga, Chair, US Arctic Research Commission
  • Clara Ganslandt, Special Envoy for Arctic Matters to the EU
  • Petteri Vuorimäki, Finland’s Ambassador for Arctic Affairs
  • [Representative from the Norwegian government (not confirmed)]

Q&A

We aim to have the event recorded and made available on Youtube after the event.

Expected number of attendees: 50-80

 

Dr. Michael Sfraga

Dr. Michael Sfraga

Dr. Michael Sfraga is chair of the United States Arctic Research Commission. Prior to his current appointments, he was the founding director of the Polar Institute and concurrently served as director of the Global Risk and Resilience Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC. Sfraga also serves as chair and distinguished fellow in the Polar Institute, where his research and public speaking focus on Arctic policy. An Alaskan and a geographer by training, Sfraga studies the changing geography of the Arctic and Antarctic landscapes, Arctic policy, and the impacts and implications of a changing climate on political, social, economic, environmental, and security regimes in the Arctic. Sfraga served as distinguished co-lead scholar for the U.S. Department of State’s inaugural Fulbright Arctic Initiative from 2015 to 2017, a complementary program to the U.S. Chairmanship of the Arctic Council; he held the same position from 2017 to 2019. He served as chair of the 2020 Committee of Visitors Review of the Section for Arctic Science (ARC), Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation, and is a member of the Scientific Advisory Council of the Finnish Institute for International Affairs. Sfraga previously held several academic, administrative, and executive positions, including vice chancellor, associate vice president, faculty member, department chair, and associate dean. He earned the first PhD in geography and northern studies from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, where he is affiliate faculty in the International Arctic Research Center.

 

Nicole Biebow

Nicole Biebow

Nicole Biebow is chair of The European Polar Board (EPB), an independent organisation focused on major strategic priorities in the Arctic and Antarctic. EPB Members include research institutes, logistics operators, funding agencies, scientific academies and government ministries from across Europe. She received her PhD in Marine Geology at GEOMAR in Kiel in 1996. She has long-standing experience in the management of international projects and coordination of international consortia. Since 2010, she has led the International Cooperation Unit at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). She is responsible for all international relations of the AWI and maintains an extensive network of contacts in the European and international science and policy communities. Nicole is the Coordinator of the EU coordination and support action EU-PolarNet 2, having previously served as Executive Manager of EU-PolarNet (1), as well as being Coordinator of the EU-funded Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium (ARICE).

 

Clara Ganslandt

Clara Ganslandt

Clara Ganslandt is Special Envoy for Arctic Matters at the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Union’s diplomatic service, since September 2022. Ganslandt’s role is to drive forward the EU’s Arctic policy, enhance cooperation with partner countries and other interested parties, improve coordination between the different EU institutions, mainstream Arctic issues in policy-making, and promote and publicise the EU’s Arctic engagement externally. She was born in Sweden and entered the Swedish diplomatic service in 1990. Following Sweden’s accession to the EU in 1995, she joined the first structure set up in the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers of the EU to build the EU Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP); and she has since then worked in EU external relations in various functions. She holds a Master of Laws (LLM) from the Lund University in Sweden, and also studied at the College of Europe in Bruges, and at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Paris.

 

Petteri Vuorimäki

Petteri Vuorimäki

Petteri Vuorimäki is Finland’s Ambassador for Arctic Affairs since September 2019, and Finnish Senior Arctic Official in the Arctic Council. Until the fall of 2022 also Ambassador for Antarctic Affairs. Before his current post he served in diplomatic postings for Finland in Moscow, Pristina, Strasbourg and Brussels. Before his MFA career he worked for the International Organization for Migration in Geneva (Coordinator for Russia and the CIS Countries) and Helsinki and held various positions in the Finnish Labour Administration. In Brussels, he worked in the Finnish Permanent Representation to the EU in charge of the COEST Working Party (Russia, CIS, Arctic and Northern Cooperation, European Neighborhood Policy, Black Sea cooperation), in the External Relations Directorate General of the European Commission (Unit for Relations with Russia) and in the European External Action Service, where he in 2011 was the first permanent chairperson for the COEST and COSCE Working Parties and subsequently as from 2015 a Senior Russia Expert. In Brussels his primary fields of interest and responsibility were EU-Russia relations, Union’s Eastern Neighborhood and regional cooperation structures in the North, including the Arctic cooperation. He was also Chair of the Vision Group for the Council of the Baltic Sea States, – a group of independent experts which submitted a report to the CBSS Ministerial meeting on the future of the CBSS and the Baltic Sea region cooperation.

Lise Øvreås

Lise Øvreås

Lise Øvreås is the president of the Norwegian Academy of science and letters, since 2022. She was the scientific director for University of Bergen`s strategic SDG initiative Ocean Sustainability Bergen from 2019 – 2021. She holds a PhD in microbial ecology from University of Bergen in 1998, where she since 2007 has been professor in geomicrobiology. She was central in applying and establishing the Center of Excellence (CoE) in Geomicrobiology at UiB in 2007 and led the research topic “The deep Biosphere” for 5 years. She served as dean of research at the faculty for mathematic and natural sciences from 2009 – 2015. She is also member of The Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences and Academia Europaea. She holds an associate professor position at University Centre at Svalbard since. Her research focus on microbial processes and functions along environmental gradients with special emphasis on climate change, permafrost, extreme environments and biodiversity.

 

Dag Rune Olsen

Dag Rune Olsen

Dag Rune Olsen is rector of UiT The Arctic University of Norway, a position he took in 2021. Prior that he served as dean and later rector at the University of Bergen. Olsen is a professor of medical physics and holds a PhD from the University of Oslo. He served as head of research at The Norwegian Radium Hospital in Oslo and professor at University of Oslo until he took up a position as dean at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Bergen. Professor Olsen has served as chair of Universities Norway (the Norwegian rectors conference) and as member of the research policy working group of European University Association (EUA). He chairs the board of the Nordic Institute of Studies of Innovation, Research and Education and serves on the board of cultural institutions in Norway. Olsen has been awarded with The Breur Award for his research, is elected member of The Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences the Academia Europaea of which he was also presented with the Presidents Merit Award in 2021. He is also an honorary professor at the Shandong University.

 

Eystein Jansen

Eystein Jansen

Eystein Jansen holds a PhD in Earth Science from the University of Bergen where he since 1993 is professor of palaeoclimatology. Jansen was the founding director of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, which he led for 13 years. Jansen is presently Academic Director for the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub and is vice director for the interdisciplinary SapienCE Centre, on Early Sapiens behaviour at the University of Bergen. Jansen is Vice President of the European Research Council (ERC) and a member of Academia Europaea, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences and the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research. Jansen was in 2019 awarded the Brøgger prize and the Meltzer prize for excellence in research. His research has primarily dealt with the influence of changes in ocean circulation on climate and on natural climate changes of the past and present.

 

Ole Arve Misund

Ole Arve Misund

Ole Arve Misund is the Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute since 2017. He has previously been Managing Director at National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research and at the Norwegian University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). He worked for a number of years at the Institute of Marine Research, where he was, among other things, director of research from 2000 – 2012. He was director of the University Center in Svalbard from 2012 – 2016. In 2015, Misund was appointed director of the National Institute for Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), which in 2018 was merged into the Institute of Marine Research. Misund is chairman of the board for marine infrastructure at Gothenburg University, and on the board of the Nansen Center in Bergen. Misund holds a PhD in Fisheries Biology from the University of Bergen. Misund is Adjunct Professor on climate effects in the polar regions at the Geophysical institute at the University of Bergen.

 

Ole Øvretveit

Ole Øvretveit

Ole Øvretveit is the project manager on the Arctic Science Collaboration and diplomacy project at the Academia Europaea Bergen Hub. He served as Director of Arctic Frontiers for eight years through 2020, building Norwegian and international partnerships for this global scientific conference on economic, societal and environmental sustainable growth in the north. Among his initiatives is the Memorandum of Understanding that he signed on behalf of Arctic Frontiers to enable the international, interdisciplinary and inclusive contributions in this second volume of the Informed Decision making for Sustainability book series. Subsequently, Mr. Øvretveit served as Director of Science to Policy for the Sustainable Development Goals at the University of Bergen, where he received his master’s degree in Comparative Politics.  Ole Øvretveit has also provided leadership with Initiative West, a think tank focusing on sustainable ocean economy, societal growth and the green transition from the west coast of Norway.

 

Kjernekraft og bærekraft

Er kjernekraft nødvendig for å unngå global oppvarming og samtidig sikre stabil og tilstrekkelig energiforsyning? NTVA, Tekna og Academia Europaea inviterer til foredrag om behovet for kjernekraft og om nyere reaktorteknologi.

Foredrag 14. februar kl 19.00–20.30, Høgskulen på Vestlandet, Kronstad, 1. etasje i M-bygget.

Arrangører: NTVA i samarbeid med Tekna Bergen og Academia Europaea Bergen.

Det er en økende erkjennelse av at overgangen til et globalt samfunn tilnærmet fritt for fossil energiforsyning ikke er mulig uten massiv oppbygging av kjernekraft. Som et resultat av dette er nye reaktorteknologier under utvikling i et hundretalls ulike internasjonale virksomheter hvor små kjernekraftverk planlegges å kunne leveres fra samlebånd. I vårt naboland Sverige har Riksdagen nylig vedtatt en opptrappingsplan for kjernekraftverk. Selv i vårt skrint befolkede fedreland kan det bli svært vanskelig å gjennomføre et grønt energiskifte om ikke kjernekraft blir en vesentlig del av energimiksen.

På møtet vil Jan Petter Hansen (UiB/NHH) innlede med en analyse av påstanden om at kjernekraft virkelig er helt nødvendig om vi skal nå de internasjonale bærekraftsmålene. Deretter vil Lars Jorgensen (CEO) og Niels Berger (CFO) fra ThorCon (thorconpower.com) presentere ThorCons reaktorteknologi og beskrive hvordan den skal anvendes i et energiforsyningsprosjekt i Indonesia. De vil presentere utformingen av selskapet sin saltsmeltereaktor som er under utarbeidelse. Denne planlegges rettet mot det globale markedet, der målet er å kunne konkurrere direkte med kull og LNG på kostnader, skalerbarhet og etableringstid.

Foredraget er gratis og åpent for alle interesserte. Velkommen!

Det blir enkel bevertning etter foredraget. Påmelding her. 

Vær ute i god tid, da ytterdøren til bygget vil være stengt når foredraget starter kl. 19.00.

Putting people first: how do we care for each other, build resilience and solidarity in a world in crisis?

What is a crisis, and how do we ensure we provide adequate support – social, economic, health and wellbeing – to those in need? How can societies distribute the burdens, as well as the benefits, fairly and equitably? These questions are addressed at the January 31th webinar organized by our sister Hub in Cardiff.

Registration here.

Season’s Greetings from academic director Eystein Jansen

 

If the previous covid-affected two years were exceptional, the year that now comes to a close has been no less exceptional. I am thinking of the Russian aggression and the war in Ukraine with all its atrocities, loss of lives and senseless destruction. The effects of the war have been profound on many aspects of academic life, most dramatically for our Ukrainian colleagues who have had to suspend their work, flee their workplace, home and country.

Winter landscape

Season’s Greetings from the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub.

I am happy to have seen many examples of solidarity and various forms of help extended, and hope that strong support from academics and their institutions actively will support Ukraine in rebuilding a strong, democratic research nation when the war eventually is over. This will be a costly but well spent use of resources. Many of our Russian colleagues have been negatively affected as research collaboration between Russian institutions and the rest of Europe have come to a halt, and long-term research programmes have been abruptly terminated. These measures have been necessary, but individual researchers suffer.

Many of these are colleagues who oppose the invasion and are victims of the strong oppression of free thinking imposed by Putin´s regime. Within the remit of our Hub, the high geopolitical tensions have specially affected those countries who are neighbours to Russia and Ukraine, but all countries are affected in various ways, e.g. through reductions of existing research networks, restrictions of research funding due to financial emergencies caused by increased energy prices and prioritization of military spending over other aspects of public spending, such as on research.  

The changing geopolitical situation also affects science diplomacy. Science has played an important role in creating a situation of collaboration and lowered tensions in the Arctic, for instance during the cold war. This situation is now significantly worsened by the war in Ukraine. The war has led to a suspension of work in the Arctic Council, and potential losses of critical observations of key importance for monitoring the strong changes in Arctic climate. Our Hub follows this dangerous development with the production of a special report on the fate of climate diplomacy after the war in Ukraine, due next year, and a special side event during the Arctic Frontiers conference on Feb 2, 2023 (see more info elsewhere in this newsletter).  

In 2022 the Hub has increased its activities as we have moved out of covid-restrictions, and we hope this will allow for more person-to-person meetings and increased activities in 2023.  

AE organised a cross-class Task Force on environment, climate and sustainability issues led by Prof. Verena Winiwarter which was administratively supported by our hub. The report from the Task Force also included a survey of our members and I am happy that we received many good suggestions for the future work on these issues and that many members have volunteered to take part. The AE Board is now setting up a more permanent Task Force, in which it is likely that I will take part. I hope many of the members in our region will take part as plans evolve.  

AE-Bergen Hub academic director Eystein Jansen.

AE-Bergen Hub academic director Eystein Jansen.

We have organized or co-organised several events in 2022, and plans are emerging for 2023. Please share with us any ideas or suggestions you might have for events. One thing we wish to do is to create some events on specific pan-Nordic/Baltic aspects of research and research policy, and and hope to have members outside of Bergen involved in the planning and execution of these.  

 The Hub has in 2022 entered into an agreement with the Young Academy of Europe to assist in some of their administrative tasks. The Young Academy and the voice of young scholars are critical for the future of European Research, and we are pleased to offer help.  

 In September we were visited by Sierd Cloething, for many years AE president and an important person for strengthening the Bergen Hub, something we are very grateful for. We could tap into Sierd´s Earth Science expertise and his experiences in Science Advice for Policy through two guest lectures during the visit. Earlier this year we were visited by Abel Prize laurate Laszlo Lovacs, who is also Director of the AE Budapest Hub and had the opportunity to discuss Hub-to-Hub collaboration, an area that AE aims to strengthen in the time to come.  

In 2022 we can welcome 47 new members of AE from our region. I would like to wish all new members warmly welcome and hope we can see many of you in our upcoming activities. We still have a way to go to ensure that the leading scholars in our region become AE members, and I would also like to see a more gender balanced and younger membership. I therefore hope that the coming nomination cycle will engage more of our members with these aspects in mind. So please nominate! 

I am very pleased that the agreement between AE and The University of Bergen was renewed for 4 more years in 2021. This gives the hub financial and administrative support a nice platform to operate from.  

When the year comes to an end, I would specifically like to thank the Hub-staff, Kristin and Nils Olav for their hard work, dedication and support in 2022. I know this is much appreciated across the Academy.  

I am a strong supporter of scientific excellence and the key importance of curiosity driven frontier research. The ERC is a remarkably successful and a premier funder of such research. I have had the pleasure of serving this fantastic organisation in the last years through its Scientific Council. In the following 3 years I will extend this work,serving as Vice-President for the Physical Sciences and Engineering Domain of the ERC, which I will combine with my AE duties. Despite all the uncertainty we live through, I do hope that the importance of basic science will rightfully be acknowledged in Europe. Our future as a region will very much depend on the creative minds of scientists who can express and pursue their best ideas. Thus, the two missions of AE and ERC have a lot in common.  

Best wishes for the Season and the coming year! 

Eystein 

Report on Science Diplomacy in the Arctic commissioned by AE-Bergen

Science Diplomacy has been a central part of Arctic relations for many decades, with the 8 Arctic states working together, even during the Cold War. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Russo-western relationship has understandably entered an ice-cold phase. What are the foreseeable effects of freezing Science Diplomacy in the Arctic? This is the subject of a report commissioned by the AE-Bergen Hub.

Political scientist Ole Øvretveit.

Political scientist Ole Øvretveit on a wintry, if not exactly Arctic day in Bergen.

Political scientist Ole Øvretveit will be writing the report, based on interviews with arctic experts, scientists, and political analysts. Arctic relations will also be the topic of a side event during the Arctic Frontiers conference, titled “The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy”, taking place on Thursday 2nd February. The event is organised by the AE-Bergen Hub, with co-organisers University of Bergen, Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (DNVA) and University of Tromsø as co-organisers.

– “The new Russian openness in the 1990’s, particularly in the wake of Gorbachev’s Murmansk speech, opened new areas for Science Diplomacy in the Arctic. Even though the field of Science Diplomacy never cooled completely during the Cold War, new possibilities opened in the 1990’s, especially in areas like environment and climate. We saw significant rewards from sharing scientific data. Even though other effects of the war in Ukraine are more catastrophic, it is worthwhile investigating the effects of halting this collaboration,” Øvretveit says.

Øvretveit has been interviewing experts on the Arctic for the upcoming report over the last few months and is now in the process of evaluating his findings.

– “I hope that the report will be useful for readers interested in the Arctic, not necessarily just experts on the Arctic. Hopefully, the report will also shed some light on how reduced international Arctic science collaboration has affected our understanding of climate change in the Arctic,” Øvretveit says.    

Eystein Jansen: A champion for basic research, for Academia Europaea and the ERC

– It has long been my firm belief that the chances of achieving premium research are higher when researchers are allowed to develop their own ideas. Challenging ideas are also more likely to result in new knowledge, says Eystein Jansen, Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Hub, AE trustee and as of 1st January, 2023, Vice-President of the ERC.

Eystein Jansen, Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Hub.

Eystein Jansen, Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Hub.

Two months after he takes up the position as ERC Vice-President, Jansen will be celebrating his 70th birthday, but this does not seem to lessen his energy at all. He is an outspoken champion for basic research and cites the focus on basic research in the current ERC guidelines as an important reason for accepting the appointment.

– I have great respect for the ERC. It is of huge importance that the ERC continues to be a flagship for basic research in Europe. This made it easy for me to accept the position of Vice-President and to strive to contribute through that role, Jansen says.

Taking up duties on 1st January 2023, Eystein Jansen will be responsible for ERC activities in the Physical Sciences and Engineering domain whilst Prof. Jesper Svejstrup will oversee the Life Sciences domain. The current Vice-President for Social Sciences and Humanities domain, Prof. Eveline Crone, will continue her mandate.

– We’ve seen many times, with the green deal, with health innovations and with new digital solutions, that real innovation is driven by basic and frontier research. I’m very happy that the guidelines of the ERC aligns with this, with a focus on basic and frontier research, says Eystein Jansen.

– Often, politicians seem to favour applied and mission-oriented research. For politicians, this is often considered a more secure path to knowledge. And of course, this research also has its place. But it is not correct that gains are higher from mission-oriented research. For instance, basic research is often more likely to result in patents than applied research does.

Challenging decades ahead

Curiosity has always been a driving force for Eystein Jansen. As for many Norwegians, he’s been fond of the great outdoors from an early age. In fact, it was one of the reasons he was inspired to embark on a career as a climate scientist.

– In my youth, I often wondered how the varied landscapes of Norway had been created. This led me to research the effects of earlier climate periods, and the effect these had on landscape formation. When I started out, climate research was not considered quite the “hot” field that it is now, but by the end of the 1980’s evidence started to mount that CO2 emissions were about to create a new era of climate change, says Eystein Jansen.

The ERC Executive Agency and Scientific Council, where Eystein Jansen now serves as Vice-President of the Physical Sciences and Engineering domain.

The ERC Scientific Council, where Eystein Jansen now serves as Vice-President of the Physical Sciences and Engineering domain.

– In the big picture, can you find reasons for optimism?

– I am an optimist by nature, but I recognize that the coming decades will be extremely challenging. Turning evidence-based decisions into actions, as well as adapting to new realities, will be of the utmost importance, says the AE-Bergen Hub director.

Prior to his appointment as ERC Vice-President, Eystein Jansen was known as the Founding Director for the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, established in 2000. Jansen stayed on as Director until 2013, building the Bjerknes Centre into a large multidisciplinary climate research centre, now ranking as internationally renowned.

Science diplomacy

– In Academia Europaea, you are both a Hub Director and a Trustee. What challenges do you see for AE in the coming years?

– Unless the pandemic takes new forms again, one of the main threats, both to society and to science in the coming years, will be the war in Ukraine. Whatever solutions may come, the war will have consequences for many years. It will affect science particularly in the fields of international cooperation and science diplomacy. Both these areas are cornerstones in the work of Academia Europaea.

– For the AE-Bergen Hub, Arctic issues and research is a strategic priority. Traditionally, the Arctic has been a good example of an area with low barriers to cooperation between Russia and the rest of the world. In the short term, this will now be very difficult.

– Working together with SAPEA, Academia Europaea have been investigating ways to achieve a systemic approach to the energy transition in Europe. Energy has now become a part of warfare, putting extra pressure on energy policy. In my view, these situations increase the need for evidence-based policy, and for courageous politicians.

In the coming years, the AE-Bergen Hub will have to share Eystein Jansen’s capacities with the ERC.

– I will not have any direct influence on project grants from my position as Vice-President, so the position is maybe not quite as powerful as some people would imagine. My main responsibility will be in appointing members of evaluation panels, ensuring that they are all experts in their fields, Eystein Jansen says.

Involvement of AE in sustainability efforts increase as permanent working group is planned

The work of the Academia Europaea Task Force on Environment, Climate and Sustainability over the last year, was presented during a plenary session during the Building Bridges Annual Conference. Among the suggestions of the Task Force is for AE to set up a Permanent Working Group on Environment, Sustainability and Climate (PWGESC).
Academia Europaea Task Force on Environment, Climate and Sustainability

The Task Force recommends that the Permanent Working Group (PWGESC) should consist of a core group of less than 10 people, two to three members per topic.

The Task Force has been chaired by Verena Winiwarter, who also presented the work at the Annual Conference. Deputy Chair has been Poul Holm with Peter Wagner as a member for Class A1, Eystein Jansen and Nebojsa Nakicenovic as members for Class B, and Patricia Holm and Jane Hill as members from Class C.

AE-Bergen and Hub Manager Kristin Bakken have facilitated the work of the Task Force, but further administrative resources will be needed for the Permanent Working Group.

– The Task Force sees the need for a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach. They suggest the topics for the Permanent Working Group to not be pre-framed by the specialties of members, Peter Wagner said during the presentation.

– The Permanent Task Force should also seek cooperation and communication with other Academies, seeking to not duplicate efforts done by others, but rather cooperate, Task Force Chair Verena Winiwarter said.

Interdisciplinary issue

– There are many links between topics important for sustainability issues, such as food and energy. The interdisciplinary nature of the issue indicates the Permanent Working Group should be formed across the different classes of the Academy, a thinking that also should inform future events, Jane Hill added.

The Task Force recommends that the Permanent Working Group (PWGESC) should consist of a core group of less than 10 people, two to three members per topic.

From the survey conducted by the Task Force, it is clear that AE members want AE to provide a distinctive, yet interdisciplinary approach, linking climate change, ecosystem transitions and human society transitions, with inputs across the four classes of AE.

Activities suggested by members were research-based policy reports, public debates, and expert hearings.

An upcoming event highlighting the sustainability efforts from AE, is the Tuesday 29th November webinar “Changing minds or changing systems to avert dangerous climate change?”, organized by the Cardiff Hub.

Academic Director Eystein Jansen is elected Vice President of the European Research Council (ERC)

The Academic Director  of The Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub, Prof. Eystein Jansen is elected Vice President of the European Research Council (ERC).
Eystein Jansen Academic Director is the Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: ERC.

Eystein Jansen Academic Director is elected Vice President of the European Research Council (ERC). Photo: ERC.

Eystein Jansen will be responsible for the ERC activities in the Physical Sciences and Engineering domain from January 1th 2023, replacing Prof. Andrzej Jajszczyk. From the same date, Prof. Jesper Svejstrup will oversee the Life Sciences domain, replacing Prof. Nektarios Tavernarakis.

Eystein Jansen holds a PhD in Earth Science from the University of Bergen, where he has been a Professor of palaeoclimatology since 1993. Jansen was the founding director of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, a world-leading centre on climate dynamics, which he led for 13 years. Jansen is presently the Academic Director for the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub and is vice director for the interdisciplinary SapienCE Centre on Early Sapiens behaviour at the University of Bergen.

Author on 2 IPCC reports

Jansen is a member of Academia Europaea, the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, The Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences and the Norwegian Scientific Academy for Polar Research. He was the coordinating lead author in the 4th (2007) and lead author in the 5th (2013) Assessment Reports of the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Jansen was in 2019 awarded the Brøgger prize for lifelong contributions to geological sciences and the Meltzer prize for excellence in research.

His research has primarily dealt with the influence of changes in ocean circulation on climate and on natural climate changes of the past and present, with key contributions to understanding the evolution of ice ages and abrupt climate change. 2014-2019 he is the principal investigator of an ERC Synergy Grant, ice2ice, on abrupt climate changes. He has also served as a member of ERC’s panel for Advanced Grants.

More on both the new Vice Presidents in the ERC press release.