– The founders of Academia Europaea had great vision in seeing the importance of independence

The AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub had the pleasure of hosting the former president of Academia Europaea, Sierd Cloetingh, on his visit to the University of Bergen, September 4th– 6th. On this occasion, he gave an interview about his long relationship with Norway and the scientific community in Norway, his work in Earth Science, the importance of science advice for policy, and the work of Academia Europaea. 
Former president of Academia Europaea, Sierd Cloetingh, on his visit to the University of Bergen in September 2022.

Former president of Academia Europaea, Sierd Cloetingh, on his visit to the University of Bergen in September 2022.

– Earlier in your career, your work in Earth Science has taken you to Norway on many occasions?

– Yes, the topography and geology of Norway is of great interest to Earth Scientists. The Norwegian Atlantic margin is one of the best studied in world. I had the pleasure of having a close personal interaction with researchers from both industry and academia, such as Olav Eldholm, Roy Helge Gabrielsen, Bjørn Larsen and Bjørn Rasmussen, as well as AE-Bergen Hub Director Eystein Jansen, who is still very much present in the international scene.

– These people are examples of the presence of a strong research community in this field. Norway is fairly unique as a natural laboratory for studying the role of the interaction of deep Earth and surface processes in continental break-up and subsequent evolution of rifted continental margins and Earth topography. In addition, it has been a very good example of cooperation between the academic field and the energy industry sector, which my PhD students, now with distinguished careers, have continued.

– Of the close to 80 PhD candidates you have supervised, 10 have been engaged in the research cooperation with Norway. What are your impressions of developments in your field in Norway?

– It’s been very interesting to learn more about the recent work of the group that my former student Ritske S. Huismans has built up here in Bergen. They really do frontier research, the international composition of the teams in Norway is exemplary and the work of young scientists is very interesting.

Former president of Academia Europaea, Sierd Cloetingh, on his visit to the University of Bergen. Right: Matthias Kaiser of the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and Humanities (SVT). Centre: AE-Bergen Hub manager Kristin Bakken.

Former president of Academia Europaea, Sierd Cloetingh, Right: Matthias Kaiser of the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and Humanities (SVT). Centre:  Hub manager Kristin Bakken.

– You seem to have very active retirement?

– I’ve always been multitasking. For instance, I’ve done a lot of community work in addition to my professional work, and I’m happy to be able to continue that. I’ve also been able to multitask in combining my passion for Earth Science with my passion for the European project. I’m happy to still be involved in active science. I sometimes say that though I’m retired, I’m not tired. I’m happy to see how the EU has supported science through a growing portfolio of grants, such as ERC grants and grants through the COST Association.

– It’s been a very important development that grant schemes now exist for all phases of a researcher’s career in Europe, form the young researcher as a student and up until he or she has a full professorship, prof. Cloetingh said in his lecture, citing grant such as Erasmus+, MSCA and the various ERC grants on the different steps of the career ladder and the networking in COST Actions.

– You have a long history with Academia Europaea, for instance you were the vice-president for 6 years before you were president 2014-2020. How do you see both the history of and the future for Academia Europaea?   

– Yes, I was also a member already from 1993, just 5 years after the founding of Academia Europaea. I must say that the founders of Academia Europaea were really visionaries. Many of the principles of Academia Europaea from the beginning, have proved to be essential in the following years. Examples are interdisciplinarity, independence, the bottom-up structure and thinking cross-border.

Former president of Academia Europaea, Sierd Cloetingh, in the Museum Garden of the University of Bergen, on his visit to the University of Bergen in September 2022.

Former president of Academia Europaea, Sierd Cloetingh, in the Museum Garden of the University of Bergen, on his visit to the University of Bergen in September 2022.

In this lecture in Bergen, titled “European cooperation in science, innovation and policy advice” Sierd Cloetingh emphasized the importance of the independence of academies like Academia Europaea, as well as the independence of organizations like SAPEA and the bottom-up spirit of the COST Association and the ERC. In his overview of SAPEA projects, he also underscored the wide variety of topics addressed in the SAPEA Evidence Review Reports since 2016. This sentiment was echoed by several of the commentators, particularly Matthias Kaiser.

– These reports are prepared on the request of the European Commission, something that ensures that they will have a life and role to play in policy decisions.

Prof. Cloetingh pointed out in his lecture that there is a close interaction between SAPEA and the Group of Chief Scientific Advisors to the European Commission in SAM.

In terms of the role of the AE-Bergen Hub in SAPEA, prof. Cloetingh highlighted the role of prof. Dag Aksnes as chair of the “Food from the Oceans” SAPEA Working Group, as well as cooperations between AE-Bergen Hub an AE Cardiff, on outreach for “Biodegradability of Plastics” as well as the joint webinar on “Transitioning to New Energy Systems”.

AE-Bergen Hub will contribute to administrative tasks of YAE

The Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub has agreed to supply the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) with administrative support. This cooperation was last week formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Eystein Jansen for AE-Bergen Hub and Gemma Modinos for YAE. A recording of the event is available here:   

The AE-Bergen Hub has responded to a request from YAE the help out with administrative tasks and web updates, as the YAE currently relies on the unpaid work of board members for the running of it’s administration.

The Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub has agreed to supply the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) with administrative support.

The Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub has agreed to supply the Young Academy of Europe (YAE) with administrative support.

In view of the important work done by YAE, as well as the partnership between YAE and AE established in 2012, the AE-Bergen Hub agreed to the cooperation which have now been formalized, where the hub will contribute to web updates and newsletters, as well as help with sending out fee reminders.

The agreement was formalized with the signing of an MoU during a zoom meeting on September 13th

Academia Europaea congratulates Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and Johannes Oerlemans as winners of the 2022 Balzan Prize

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen from Uni Copenhagen and Johannes Oerlemans from Utrecht University have won the 2022 Balzan Prize in the category “Glaciation and Ice-Sheet Dynamics”.
Dorthe Dahl-Jensen from Uni Copenhagen and Johannes Oerlemans from Utrecht University have won the 2022 Balzan Prize in the category “Glaciation and Ice-Sheet Dynamics”.

Dorthe Dahl-Jensen of Uni Copenhagen. FOTO: Danmarks uddannelses- og forskningsministerium.

Dahl-Jensen is a world leader in ice core drilling and subsequent analysis of ice core data in conjunction with models to determine past climate and how it affected the Greenland ice sheet dynamics and size, thus informing future changes in climate and sea level. Her research has led to numerous achievements that document how the past illuminates potential future abrupt climate changes. Dorthe Dahl-Jensen was elected to Academia Europaea in 2022.

– We are particularly happy to see the prize awarded to a scholar from the Nordic and Baltic region, covered by our Hub, says Eystein Jansen, Academic Director of AE-Bergen Hub.

Johannes “Hans” Oerlemans is a Dutch climatologist specialized in glaciology and sea level. He has been a professor of meteorology in the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy at Utrecht University since 1989. He was elected a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1994, and has been a member of Academia Europaea since 1989.

The International Balzan Prize Foundation aims is to promote culture, the sciences, and the most meritorious initiatives in the cause of humanity, peace, and fraternity among peoples throughout the world.

Johannes Oerlemans of Utrecht University

Johannes Oerlemans of Utrecht University

Academia Europaea congratulates Dorthe Dahl-Jensen and Johannes Oerlemans as winner of the 2022 Balzan Prize.

The latest IPCC climate report in 5 takeaway points

The Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub, Eystein Jansen, had the task of distilling 3000 pages of the latest IPCC Climate reports into a 15-minute talk.

Jansen spoke of the key findings in the latest 3 IPCC climate reports during the 2022 Rosendal Week, a regional conference in Western Norway focusing on climate change, energy transitions, green initiatives, and sustainability.

IPCC 6th Assessment report consists of 3 available reports, focusing respectively on «The Physical Science Basis», «Impacts, Adaptations and Vulnerability» and «Mitigation of Climate Change». Even more condensed than in Jansen´s 15-minute talk, the findings can be broken down to 5 bullet-points:

  • Every decade the last 60 years have been warmer than the previous decade.
  • With a global temperature increase of 1,25 degrees, the goal of the Paris accord of limiting global warming to 1,5 degrees will be surpassed within 10-15 years.
  • The increase in extreme heatwaves, forest fires and flooding affect all continents.
  • Extreme rainfalls are increasing both in frequency and in intensity.
  • Sea levels have risen 4,6 mm yearly since 2010.

Towards the end of his presentation, Academic Director Eystein Jansen looked at Norwegian emissions of CO2 and other climate gases, implying that there is a need for lowering national emissions by 3,5 million tons yearly in the years leading up to 2030 in order to reach the national reduction targets.

Discussion moderated by Bergens Tidende Editor-in-Chief Frøy Gudbrandsen (left). Norwegian minister of climate and environment Espen Barth Eide (middle), Eystein Jansen of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub (right).

Discussion moderated by Bergens Tidende Editor-in-Chief Frøy Gudbrandsen (left). Norwegian minister of climate and environment Espen Barth Eide (middle), Eystein Jansen of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub (right).

Following the presentation from Eystein Jansen, was a discussion between him and the Norwegian minister of climate and environment, Espen Barth Eide, moderated by Bergens Tidende Editor-in-Chief Frøy Gudbrandsen. The minister agreed with Jansen that stronger measures must be implemented to reach climate goals.

– We see encouraging progress in the EU countries. For a country like Norway, demanding climate action from trading partners can be an effective measure, the minister said.

The location of the conference in the idyllic village of Rosendal by the Hardangerfjord in Western Norway, underlined the urgency in taking care of the natural beauty of the planet.

– While we are at risk of reaching some negative tipping points, we also see the possibility of some positive tipping points, arising from increased awareness in the public, something that also should be addressed by the social sciences, Eystein Jansen said, ending the talk and the discussion on a positive note.

Summer greetings from the Academic Director

Summer has reached Europe. While some parts experience heat waves, it has been cool and wet so far here in Bergen, but now finally the Nordic summer is emerging. We can look back at a semester where the grip of the pandemic has faded.

Eystein Jansen Academic Director is the Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: ERC.

Eystein Jansen Academic Director is the Academic Director of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: ERC.

However, new variants of the virus put people to bed, but this time mostly with milder symptoms and new lockdowns in Europe seem unlikely. This encourages our Hub to plan for more physical activities ahead, although the pandemic has taught us that we can get much done and reach further out by also utilizing online meeting and webinars.

Instead of the expected normalization we now have a devastating ongoing crisis in Europe with global effects, due to Russia´s unprovoked brutal invasion of Ukraine. In addition to the direct suffering and senseless destruction, the conflict influences many aspects of academic life. Most severely for Ukrainian academics who have had their lives turned upside down, whose workplaces are destructed or inaccessible, who have had to flee or to take part in the armed or civilian resistance. They all have my deepest thoughts and concerns!

But the effects go way beyond the direct impact for Ukrainian (and Russian) academics. Research is international by nature, and the changing geopolitical and economic landscape will influence us all in many ways. We can already see that the war and the sanctions have created severe obstacles for cooperation in the Arctic, – a region of high priority for our Hub. In May we organised a successful side-event on the status, opportunities, and environmental impacts of potential deep-sea mineral mining at the Arctic Frontiers Conference in Tromsø. Throughout the conference however, both in sessions and off sessions, the effects of the ongoing war on Arctic research were a theme of deep concern.

Ole Øvretveit will work on a report on the effects of the Ukraine War on science diplomacy and scientific cooperation in the Arctic for the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub.

Ole Øvretveit will work on a report on the effects of the Ukraine War on science diplomacy and scientific cooperation in the Arctic for the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: Nils Olav Sæverås

Research has for many years been an avenue for science diplomacy and collaboration in the Arctic and has helped lower geopolitical tensions in the region. The current shut-down in western-Russo relations is effective in the Arctic. A potent example of this is the pausing of all Arctic Council activities. The academic community risks losing networks, collaborations, and key environmental data. For this reason, our Hub has initiated a project to investigate the effects of the war on Arctic research and science diplomacy on the short and longer term. We aim to provide a report by the end of this year.

Through November 2021-March 2022 the Hub helped organise the work of an AE Task Force set up by the Board to explore a stronger AE presence in the area of climate, environment and sustainability. A membership poll showed wide interest in contributing, and we envisage new initiatives to emerge after the summer break.

We can welcome close to 50 new AE members from the Nordic and Baltic regions in this year´s nomination round, and hope all will become active members. In Norway we have strengthened our ties to the national academies and hope to be able to do so across the Nordic/Baltic region as well. Any help with establishing meeting places or joint activities in the rest of the region will be heartly welcomed.

With the demise of the pandemic, we plan to launch new initiatives and opportunities for our members the coming semesters, some in collaboration with other AE Hubs and some related to the Science Advice for Policy activities of AE in the second phase of the SAPEA project, now funded as SAPEA+ under the Horizon Europe Programme. We look forward to receiving suggestions and ideas that our members may have on events and themes that our Hub should engage in.

With best wishes for a nice summer!

Eystein Jansen
Academic Director

 

 

Advisory Board and Steering Group meetings in June 2022

The AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub held meetings with both the Advisory Board and Steering Group in June 2022.
The Advisory Board of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub.

The Advisory Board of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub.

For the Steering Group, which is based in Bergen, it was finally possible to have a physical meeting on June 16th, after virtual meetings during the pandemic. For the Advisory Board, with members from the Nordic and Baltic region, there was a virtual meeting on June 17th.

The Academic Director of the hub, Eystein Jansen, gave an overview of the hub activities of the past year, as well as some upcoming projects.

Among the 2021/22 activities summed up in Jansen´s presentation, were our participation in the Rosendal Week, as well our cooperation with NTVA-Bergen and Tekna on local technology seminars. The Hub also offered technical support for the Academia Europaea Building Bridges 2021 Conference, as well as the SAPEA webinar om new energy systems on October 11th. The AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub organized the founding of the AE Task Force on Environment, Climate and Sustainability, including a survey among members and report to the AE Board.

Arctic Frontiers Side-Event

Turning the page to 2022, we co-hosted a Norwegian webinar on biodegradable plastics held by NORCE scientist Gunhild Bødtker on March 23rd. We also co-hosted the Darwin Day lecture by Professor Yadvinder Malhi, as well as organized a side-event on deep-sea mineral mining during the Arctic Frontiers conference. In late May, we were honored to host László Lovász, the academic director of our sister hub in Budapest, for two days during his Norway visit. We also co-hosted his lecture “Graphs and Geometry”.

The Steering Group of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub.

The Steering Group of the AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub. Photo: Nils Olav Sæverås

Many of these activities, including the local technology seminars with NTVA-Bergen and Tekna, will continue in the autumn. A new, major project in the autumn, is a report coordinated by Ole Øvretveit on the effects of the Ukraine War on science diplomacy and scientific cooperation in the Arctic. There will be more news on this major project at our website as the project progresses in the autumn.

AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub Steering Group:

Dag L. Aksnes; MAE, Professor, Univ. of Bergen (Marine biology)

Petter Bjørstad; MAE, Univ. Bergen (Informatics)

Kjersti Fløttum; MAE, Univ. Bergen (Linguistics)

Jessica Jewell; Research scholar/Assoc. prof., IIASA/Univ. of Bergen (Energy and Political science)

Matthias Kaiser; Professor, Univ. of Bergen (Philosophy of science)

Stein Kuhnle; MAE, Professor, Univ. of Bergen (Political science)

Dieter Roerich; MAE, Univ. Bergen (Physics)

Anne Gro Salvanes, MAE, Professor, Univ. of Bergen (Marine biology)

Sigrid Eskeland Schütz; Professor Univ. of Bergen (Law)

Svein Sundby, MAE, Professor, Institute for Marine Research, Bergen (Oceanography)

Marit Warncke, CEO Bergen Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Ole Øvretveit, CEO Initiativ Vest

AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub Advisory Board:

Margareth Hagen; Chair, Rector and Professor, University of Bergen, Norway (Italian Literature)

Erland Källen; MAE, Professor, University of Stockholm, Sweden (Meteorology/Climate)

Kirsten Drotner; MAE, Professor, University of Southern Denmark, (Media)

Carl G. Gahmberg; MAE, Professor Emeritus, University of Helsinki, Finland (Molecular and Integrative Biosciences)

Björn Wittrock; MAE, Professor Emeritus, Uppsala University and Vice President AE

Jüri Allik; MAE; University of Tartu, Estonia (Psychology)

Ole Arve Misund; MAE, Director/Professor Tromsø (Marine and fisheries biology)

Martin Fernø; MYAE, Professor, University of Bergen (Physics)

Meeting of Hub Directors in Bergen during László Lovász’ visit

The AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub was honored to host László Lovász, the academic director of our sister hub in Budapest, for one evening during his Norway visit this spring. Possible cooperation was discussed.  

The academic director of the AE Hub in Budapest, mathematician László Lovász, was awarded the Abel Prize for 2021.

The academic director of the AE Hub in Budapest, mathematician László Lovász, was awarded the Abel Prize for 2021.

The academic director of the AE Hub in Budapest, mathematician László Lovász, was awarded the Abel Prize for 2021. Because of Covid restrictions last year, he visited the Norwegian Acadamy of Science and Letters this year instead. His week in Norway included 2 days in Rosendal in western Norway, as well at 3 days in Bergen, where a meeting with the AE-Bergen Hub took place.

László Lovász was awarded the 2021 Abel Prize jointly with Avi Wigderson.

– Lovász and Wigderson have been leading forces in the development of theoretical computer science and its mathematical foundations over the last few decades. Their work interlaces in many ways, and they have both made fundamental contributions to understanding randomness in computation and in exploring the boundaries of efficient computation, says Hans Munthe-Kaas, chair of the Abel Committee, and continues:

– Thanks to the ground-breaking work of these two, discrete mathematics and the relatively young field of theoretical computer science are now firmly established as central areas of modern mathematics.

Abel Prize winners Dennis Sullivan and László Lovász in Oslo. In the background Lise Øvreås, president of DNVA.

Abel Prize winners Dennis Sullivan and László Lovász in Oslo. In the background Lise Øvreås, president of DNVA. Photo: Natalia Demina / Abelprisen

Several opportunities for cooperation were discussed during the meeting between Hub directors László Lovász and Eystein Jansen. Among these were the thematic mission of the Budapest Hub: Methodology of Science Education, as well as Urban Sustainability. Of these, the theme of Urban Sustainability is a good fit with the focus on sustainability in the strategy of the Bergen Hub.

Recorded Event: Deep Sea Minerals at Arctic Frontiers Conference

Explore the recording of a UiB and Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub organized Side Event at this year’s Arctic Frontiers Conference – “Race to the (seabed) bottom – realities and sustainability dilemmas in the demand for minerals”.

Vast quantities of metal-rich mineral deposits have been found in deep sea areas including deep sea regions of the Arctic and sub-Arctic. While the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has granted exploration licenses in various locations, in particular in the Pacific Ocean, several countries are planning to initiate exploration within their own jurisdiction. Norway being one of them.

The green transition generates a need for critical minerals, expected to be greater than the supply from existing land-based mining industry and recycling. Norway is in a position to become a leader in the exploration for deep-sea minerals. The race has started, and this event will address both challenges, opportunities, and dilemmas.

Does the Green Shift really need deep-sea minerals? Do deep-sea minerals have a potential for creating new industries? Is the technology advanced enough? Do we have the knowledge base needed to safely explore these resources without irreversible damage to surrounding ecosystems? How is Norway preparing for its 1st licensing round for deep-sea minerals, and how will this influence the arctic regions? Is the Norwegian Act on Mineral Activities on the Continental Shelf (Seabed Minerals Act) a sufficient regulatory framework? And finally; can deep-sea mineral extraction be sustainable enough to be justified?

Target audience: Industry professionals, environmental groups, policymakers, the geoscience community, and other stakeholders.

Regrettably, the sound quality is varying on this recording.

List of speakers:

  • Chair: Eystein Jansen (Scientific director of AE-Bergen Knowledge Hub, University of Bergen)
  • Andrew Bloodworth (Policy director, BGS – British Geological Survey Keyworth)
  • Walter Sognnes (CEO of Loke Minerals, Stavanger Norway)
  • Kaja Fjærtoft (Senior Advisor , Sustainable Oceans in WWF-Norway)
  • Pedro A. Ribeiro (Dr., UiB – University of Bergen)
  • Anita Parlow (MSt., Formerly Harvard-MIT Arctic Fisheries, Wilson Center Team Lead Polar Code Initiative, Fulbright Scholar-Iceland, United States)

Recorded lecture: Yadvinder Malhi – The Metabolism of Planet Earth

In this lecture Professor Yadvinder Malhi examines human influence on the natural world through the concept of metabolism: how much energy flows through human societies compared to how much flows through the biosphere. The lecture was held at the University of Bergen on April 25th, to mark the Darwin Day.

 

In this interesting lecture, prof. Yadvinder Malhi first looks at the biological metabolism of the planet, how it is measured and how it is distributed over the Earth. He then explores how these energy flows have changed through human history and prehistory, and scenarios for how they may change over this century, where human-appropriated energy flows threaten to overwhelm the life-sustaining metabolism of the planet.

The metabolic profile of a modern industrialised country (the UK) is explored detail: how much of our energy is directly consumed or embedded in products and in societal infrastructure?

The lecture was  a joint event organised by the Horizon Lecture Committee at the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, the Darwin Day Committee at the Department of Biological Sciences, and Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub. It is also available at Vimeo:

 

In Memoriam Olav Eldholm (1941 – 2022)

Emeritus Professor Olav Eldholm, passed away April 18 2022 at the age of 80. 

In Memoriam Olav Eldholm (1941 - 2022)

In Memoriam Olav Eldholm (1941 – 2022)

Eldholm was elected member of Academia Europaea since 1990, and a prominent person in the international geoscience community. He was also a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and a number of several national and international academies. Eldholm studied geophysics at the University of Bergen, and spent formative years as research scientist at Columbia University´s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York before returning to Norway for a professorship at the University of Oslo in 1974.

At that time Lamont-Doherty was arguably the global hothouse for marine geoscience, and Eldholm soon became an important member of the global community in the field with key collaborators. Most influential was perhaps his collaboration with Manik Talwani, which also resulted in the prominent monograph Evolution of the Norwegian-Greenland Sea in 1971.

Eldholm was widely known internationally for his significant contributions to marine geophysics and geodynamics, notably to the understanding of continental margins, ocean basins, volcanism and plate tectonics –in particular in the North Atlantic region. In 2021 an ancient volcano on the Vøring Plateau was named Eldhø to honour his contributions to science. His research has also been highly influential for oil and gas exploration and production on the Norwegian Continental Shelf not least with many of his students moving to central positions in the industry.

Eldholm was a key person in international programmes in marine Earth Science, and he was for many years deeply involved as a leading figure in the Ocean Drilling Program, where he was a keen promotor of getting young scientists involved in this major global scientific undertaking. This has shaped many excellent scientific careers.

In 2003 Eldholm moved back to his Alma Mater in Bergen to become head of the newly merged Department of Earth Science at the University of Bergen which he led as a dynamic leader for six years before retiring to become an emeritus professor. He was an active emeritus and continued with producing new scientific publications. His legacy is important and many in the national and international marine geoscience community will miss him as an interested and inspiring colleague.

Eystein Jansen