Trenger vi alternative pengesystemer? Se presentasjonene fra foredraget.

NTVA, Tekna Bergen og Academia Europaea Bergen arrangerte nylig foredrag og debatt om alternative pengesystemer med Svein Ølnes og Arne Krokan. Lenke til presentasjon fra foredraget er tilgjengalig fra NTVA nettsiden.

Foredrag og debatt om alternative pengesystemer med Svein Ølnes og Arne Krokan.

Norges Tekniske Vitenskapsakademi, Tekna Bergen og Academia Europaea Bergen arrangerte nylig foredrag og debatt om alternative pengesystemer med Svein Ølnes og Arne Krokan. Foto: Unsplash

Pengesystemene er kritisk infrastruktur i samfunnet. Selv om vi har verdens mest effektive systemer for pengeoverføring, er denne infrastrukturen også beheftet med sårbarhet. Det blir fort synlig når Vipps og BankId er ute av drift. Og hva hadde skjedd om selve oppgjørssentralen ble satt ut av drift for eksempel på grunn av manglende tilgang til elektrisitet?

Systemene har også andre sårbarheter fordi bankene jo ikke er i besittelse av alle pengene vi “har satt inn”. De er avhengige av vår tillit, at ikke alle sammen samtidig vil ønske å ta ut pengene sine, for at dagens system skal fungere etter intensjonen. Det var denne tilliten som knekte et par amerikanske banker sist år. Så hva er alternativene? Hva koster det å drive dem? Og er det fornuftig med tanke på fremtidig samfunnssikkerhet å holde oss med ett eller flere alternative pengesystemer?

Foredragsholdere på dette seminaret var Svein Ølnes og Arne Krokan. Svein Ølnes, tidligere forsker Vestlandsforskning, har over 20 års erfaring som prosjektleder for ulike IT-prosjekter. Han har fulgt Bitcoin og kryptovaluta siden 2011 og publisert en rekke artikler om emnet. Arne Krokan, professor emeritus i økonomi og ledelse ved NTNU, er også forfatter. Han har skrevet en rekke bøker om det digitale skiftet, den siste med tittelen HOMO APPIENS.

Les mer på NTVAs hjemmeside. Nederst i teksten finnes også lenke til presentasjonen fra foredraget. 

 

 

Michel Talagrand awarded the 2024 Abel Prize

The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2024 to Michel Talagrand of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Paris, France.

Michel Talagrand

Michel Talagrand receives the Abel Prize 2024 for his work in probability theory and stochastic processes. Photo: Peter Badge / Abel Prize 2024

Michel Talagrand receives the prize for his work in probability theory and stochastic processes. From the outset, the development of probability theory was motivated by problems that arose in the context of gambling or assessing risks. The common theme in Michel Talagrand’s groundbreaking discoveries is working with and understanding the random processes we see all around us. It has now become apparent that a thorough understanding of random phenomena is essential in today’s world. For example, random algorithms underpin our weather forecasting and large language models.

The modern world is a constant flow of random events, and understanding that randomness has impacts on everything from business logistics to condensed-matter physics. Much of Talagrand’s work involves understanding and utilising the “Gaussian distribution”, often better known as the “normal distribution” or – thanks to its shape – the “bell curve”. Our whole life is guided by the Gaussian distribution: the weight of babies at birth, the test results students get at school and the ages athletes retire at are all seemingly random events that neatly follow the Gaussian distribution.

Three specific areas

The Abel Prize is given for three specific areas of Talagrand’s work:

Suprema of stochastic processes – A stochastic process produces a sequence of random values, and the “supremum” is the largest value to be expected from a collection of those values. If the height of waves crashing on a beach is a stochastic process, it is useful to know what the largest wave to hit the beach next year is likely to be.

Concentration of measures – Counterintuitively, when a process depends on a range of different sources of randomness, instead of getting more complicated, it is possible for the different random factors to compensate for each other and produce more predictable results. Talagrand has given sharp quantitative estimates for this.

Spin glass – Leaving abstract probability theory behind, a “spin glass” is a special form of matter that atoms can arrange themselves in, much to the initial surprise of physicists. Talagrand used his knowledge of statistics and probability to prove limits on how spin glass matter can behave, and thereby completed the proof of Giorgio Parisi’s Nobel Prize winning work (2021).

“Talagrand is an exceptional mathematician, and a formidable problem solver. He has made profound contributions to our understanding of random, and in particular, Gaussian, processes. His work has reshaped several areas of probability theory. Furthermore, his proof of the celebrated Parisi formula for free energy of spin glasses is an amazing accomplishment,” says Professor Helge Holden, chair of the Abel Prize Committee.

The Abel Prize is awarded by The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters.

Read more at the website of the academy. 

 

Recorded event: Eva Jablonka at Darwin Day 2024

Watch the video recording of “The evolution of learning and the origins of consciousness”, a lecture by professor Eva Jablonka. This was the Darwin Day and Horizon Lecture at University of Bergen on February 12th 2024.

In this lecture, Eva Jablonka explores the question of the origins of animal mentality, which Darwin avoided, and present an evolutionary approach for studying it, developed together with Simona Ginsburg. Jablonka explains the rationale and methodology underlying their approach and presents their proposal that the emergence of primary consciousness was driven by the evolution of a domain-general, representational form of associative learning, which they called unlimited associative learning (UAL).

The event on February 12th 2024 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. The lecture received economic support from Selskapet til Vitenskapenes Fremme.

We apologize for the poor visuals of this recording. However, the audio quality is good, so we hope that you can still enjoy it.

Recorded event: A New Arctic Energy Mix

A recording of the Arctic Frontiers 2024 panel discussion “A new Arctic energy mix – at what costs? The Finnmark example”, organized by AE-Bergen Hub, is now available on youtube.

 

Lars-Henrik Paarup Michelsen (director of the Norwegian Climate Foundation)

Lars-Henrik Paarup Michelsen (director of the Norwegian Climate Foundation). Photo: Jensenmedia/ArcticFrontiers

The range of insights from keynotes, speakers, and panelists, as well as the audience response, proved that we had found a hot topic for this year’s side event. Our experts explored how the energy sources in use in Norway today will have to be supplemented by new energy sources in the future. While the emphasis of our experts varied, they all agreed on one thing; that in the future a mix of energy sources will be necessary, while also addressing the 1.5 or 2-degree targets set by the Paris Agreement.

Speakers were Jonas Kristiansen Nøland (Associate Professor of energy conversion with NTNU), Lars-Henrik Paarup Michelsen (director of the Norwegian Climate Foundation) and Sigrid Ina Simonsen (director of the regional office NHO Arctic). The panel discussion was moderated by Helge Nitteberg (editor-in-chief at Northers Norways leading newspaper Nordlys), and panelists were, in addition to speakers Nøland and Paarup Michelsen; Geir Vollsæter from the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions, Sigurd Kvammen Rafaelsen (mayor of Lebesby municipality) and Else Broderstad (International Sami Council).

Have a look at the youtube-recording of the event!

Arctic Frontiers side-event: Exploring the new Arctic energy mix in light of major electrification projects

 

A new Arctic energy mix.

While the decision to electrify Melkeøya will have a significant positive impact on the reduction of Norway’s inland CO2 emissions, many fear negative consequences such as the impact on local industry, jobs, communities, nature, reindeer herding and energy security.

Once again, the AE Bergen Hub is organising a panel discussion at the upcoming Arctic Frontiers 2024 conference in Tromsø. The conference which takes place from January 29th – February 1st will include our very own session titled A new Arctic energy mix – at what costs? The Finnmark example.

We welcome you to join us for this important discussion which will take place on 1st February, during the Arctic Frontiers 2024 conference in Tromsø. You can also follow a live streaming of the event on February 1st at 11:00 – 12:30.

Background

In August 2023, the Norwegian Government´s announced its decision to change the energy source at Melkøya’s Liquid Natural Gas plant, from natural gas to electrical power. This announcement has since sparked a polarised debate. This decision has ramifications that extend beyond local considerations. The debate mirrors numerous global challenges related to the green transition and the need for more energy.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states that there’s a probability exceeding 50% that global temperatures will increase to or exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius between 2021 and 2040. Norway, much like the rest of the world, is struggling to achieve the 1.5 or 2-degree targets set by the Paris Agreement. The prospect of nearing 3 degrees appears likely considering current commitments and implementation. While the decision to electrify Melkeøya will have a significant positive impact on the reduction of Norway’s inland CO2 emissions, many fear negative consequences such as the impact on local industry, jobs, communities, nature, reindeer herding and energy security.

Like most Arctic regions, the population of Finnmark is rapidly decreasing, and the demand for energy plays a pivotal role, for example in the creation of new job opportunities. What amount of energy and from which sources, is required to compensate for the electrification of Melkøya? And how does this conflict with recommendations from the UN’s Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)? These recommendations state that «The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health, and quality of life worldwide».

About our panel discussion

The situation in Melkøya raises many issues. A central question is how to establish legitimacy by considering both scientific knowledge and stakeholder interests. Our panel discussion at Arctic Frontiers 2024 will delve into these dilemmas and explore potential solutions offered by advancing technologies and systems, such as multisource micro-energy plants, hydrogen solutions, offshore wind, and even possibly nuclear power.

 

Speakers and panelists:

Eystein Jansen

Eystein Jansen

Eystein Jansen is professor of palaeoclimatology at the University of Bergen. Jansen was the founding director of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, which he led for 13 years. Jansen is Academic Director for the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub and 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.

Lars-Henrik Paarup Michelsen

Lars-Henrik Paarup Michelsen

Lars-Henrik Paarup Michelsen has been working professionally with climate change and energy transition for more than a decade and has served as the director of the Norwegian Climate Foundation, Norway’s green think tank, since 2015. He lives in Bergen, where the foundation is headquartered. His professional experience comes from politics and public service, and he holds a degree in comparative politics. The Climate Foundation´s cooperates closely with academic institutions and its work cover a broad range of issues – from decarbonizing deep-sea shipping to financial climate risk.

 

 

Anne Ingeborg Myhr

Anne Ingeborg Myhr

Anne Ingeborg Myhr, SVP NORCE Climate & Environment. Myhr has extensive experience from inter- and transdisciplinary projects on emerging technologies. Main focus for research is on future food systems, sustainable aquaculture, protection of the environment and biodiversity, and the circular economy. This includes studies on ELSA and RRI with novel technologies. Myhr holds a Dr. scient within medical biology and a M.Sc in biotechnology. Myhr has extensive experience from inter- and transdisciplinary projects on emerging technologies including genome editing.

 

 

Political scientist Ole Øvretveit.

Political scientist Ole Øvretveit.

Ole Øvretveit is the project manager on the Arctic Science Collaboration and diplomacy project at the Academia Europaea Bergen Hub. Øvretveit is currently Director of the Coastal Impact Hub (Østfinmark kystutviklingssenter), which is a pilot project funded by the Norwegian government. Previously he served as Director of Arctic Frontiers for eight years. Subsequently, Øvretveit served as Director of Science to Policy for the Sustainable Development Goals at the University of Bergens. 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.

 

Helge Nitteberg

Helge Nitteberg

Helge Nitteberg (42) is editor-in-chief in Nordlys, the biggest newspaper in Northern Norway. Nitteberg was only 14 years only when he wrote his first news article in the local newspaper Folkebladet in Finnsnes. Later, he worked for Adresseavisen in Trondheim, before he started working for Nordlys in Tromsø in 2003. He worked as a journalist until he became news editor in May 2010. In June 2016 he became editor-in-chief of Nordlys. Throughout his career, Nitteberg has been covering all kinds of topics such as politics, sports, crime and much more.

 

 

Sigrid Ina Simonsen

Sigrid Ina Simonsen

Sigrid Ina Simonsen is director of the regional office NHO Arctic of The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO). NHO is Norway’s largest employers’ organization and has more than 32,000 member companies. NHO Arctic covers Troms, Finnmark and Svalbard. Simonsen previously held the position as head of northern areas in Offshore Norway, and has also worked as communication leader in Equinor. She was County Councillor for Business Development and Culture for the Labour party in Troms County from 2017-2020. She holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Bergen.

 

 

Jonas K. Nørland.

Jonas K. Nørland, Foto: Thor Nielsen / NTNU

Jonas Kristiansen Nøland is currently an Associate Professor of energy conversion with NTNU, an Associate Professor II with USN, a senior member of the IEEE, a researcher within Nuclear Energy’s role in a Renewable Energy System (NERES-project), a coordinator of NTNU’s Clean Aviation research initiative, and a communication manager for the hydropower system project SysOpt. He holds a PhD in Engineering Physics from Uppsala University – Angstrom Laboratory. Since 2022, he has been part of NTNU’s Outstanding Academic Fellows Programme. He is serving as an Associate Editor for the American scientific journals: IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON ENERGY CONVERSION, IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON INDUSTRIAL ELECTRONICS, and IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON TRANSPORTATION ELECTRIFICATION. From 2022, he is also the Chair for the IEEE Power and Energy Society Chapter of Norway.

Geir Vollsæter, representing the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) of Troms & Finnmark, has more than two decades experience in the oil, gas and power sectors in Norway, Europe, and the US. He recently joined Pharos Advisors following many years at Industry Energy, a union within LO Norway. Energy, power and climate policy keeps him motivated and engaged at work and in civil society.

 

 

 

Sigurd Kvammen Rafaelsen is mayor of Lebesby municipality for the Labor Party. He was born and raised in Kirkenes and moved to Kjøllefjord in 2010. Rafaelsen has been active in politics since he moved to Kjøllefjord. In 2011, he was elected as a municipal board representative in Lebesby municipality. Rafaelsen took over as mayor of Lebesby municipality after the election in 2019. In addition to his role as mayor, Rafaelsen is deputy representative to the National Assembley for the period 2021-2025. He also holds positions as chairman of the National Association of Norwegian Wind Power Municipalities,  and as chairman of the Natural Resource Municipalities. He is also deputy leader of Finnmark Arbeiderparti and a board member of Finnmark Havfiske A. Rafaelsen is a teacher by education, and also has a bachelor’s degree in political science as well as a year’s study in German language from UiT – Norway’s Arctic University.

Initial meeting of «Rethinking Arctic collaboration» project from AE-Bergen

 

The initial meeting of the partners took place on November 29th.

Representatives of the partners were present at the initial, digital meeting on November 29th. The partners – Alfred Wegner Institute, Germany, Nord University, Norway, and Dartmouth College, USA, were represented at the meeting by Dr. Volker Rachhold of AW Institute, Frode Nilsen of Nord University and Melody Brown Burkins of Dartmouth College. From the Steering committee, Lise Øvreås, Professor and President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, attended. From AE-Bergen Hub, Eystein Jansen, Kristin Bakken and Nils Olav Sæverås attended.

The AE-Bergen report «The Future of Science Diplomacy in the Arctic» will see it’s continuation as the project now called «Rethinking Arctic collaboration» has been awarded a grant of 400 000 NOK from UArctic, for further research on the topic. Several partners will work together with AE-Bergen for the continued project. The initial meeting of the partners took place on November 29th.

This project was initiated in the autumn of 2022, and has already resulted in a side-event at the Arctic Frontiers Conference, and a report now available from the AE-Bergen website. The grant from UArctic will secure the continuity of the project, as well as open new avenues of research and new partnerships.

Representatives of the partners were present at the initial, digital meeting on November 29th. The partners – Alfred Wegner Institute, Germany, Nord University, Norway, and Dartmouth College, USA, were represented at the meeting by Dr. Volker Rachhold of AW Institute, Frode Nilsen of Nord University and Melody Brown Burkins of Dartmouth College. From the Steering committee, Lise Øvreås, Professor and President of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, attended. From AE-Bergen Hub, Eystein Jansen, Kristin Bakken and Nils Olav Sæverås attended. Further partners are The Macdonald-Laurier Institute and the international NGO International Center of Reindeer Husbandry.

Ice-cold relationship

The summary of the project reads: “The tight connection between science and diplomacy in the Arctic 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-informed decisions, and science diplomacy suffer severely. Reduced international Arctic science collaboration may have severe consequences for climate research and other important scientific topics like social science and ocean ecosystems.

The objective of the project is to understand what the effects of war are on scientific collaborations and the volume and value of arctic science in the north. And, in the light of various discussions in the scientific community, to elevate a discussion on what principles should be the foundation for political decisions on science collaboration across borders in turbulente times. And finally, what may become the characteristics of the future Arctic science collaboration architecture”.

The first report from Academia Europaea Bergen on «The Future of Science Diplomacy in the Arctic» was published in the autumn of 2023, and is available from our website

International experts

For the continued project, the project coordinator will be AE-Bergen Hub director Eystein Jansen, while the project manager is political scientist Ole Øvretveit.

– First and foremost, the continuation of the project will give us the opportunity to work in a more structured and strategic way with some of the best experts on this issue internationally. With academic partners from both Germany, Canada, and the US, and also organizations representing indigenous experience and competence, we can include both broader and sharper perspectives on this issue, Ole Øvretveit says.

– The issue of Science Diplomacy in the Arctic and how this is affected by the freeze in the Russo-western relationship following the Russian war in Ukraine, will probably be with us for years to come. The longer this conflict and the resulting political instability lasts, the harder it will be to restart Science diplomacy efforts, Eystein Jansen says.

Season´s Greetings from the Bergen Hub Director

Aurora Borealis as Christmas greeting

Hub director Eystein Jansen wishes all members a peaceful and relaxing holiday period, in the hope that next year will see the world coming a bit back to its senses.

I am writing to you after the first snowfall in Bergen and after an unusually dry and sunny autumn. This coincides with the opening of COP28, that will provide a stocktake of how countries are living up to their pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Despite the need for urgency, the status unfortunately looks as bleak as an early winter day in the high North.

Our work and daily life, both as citizens and scientists, are severely impacted by the geopolitical situation characterised by increased conflicts and turmoil. This has had an impact on the activities of the AE Bergen Hub and will continue to do so in the years to come. We cannot perform our research in isolation. Scientists must provide and share their knowledge but should if possible, also engage in opportunities to use research and scientific collaboration to reduce tensions through cross-border contacts – thus participate in what is often called ‘science diplomacy’. One of our Hub’s main strategic priorities has always been ‘the Arctic’, and scientific cooperation in this area is now highly affected by the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Our focus has been the fate of scientific collaboration and scientific studies in the Arctic as it has changed dramatically due to both the war and the following sanctions. Throughout 2022 and 2023 our Hub has organised a project where we have analysed some of the effects through, amongst other sources, interviews with many of the stakeholders in Arctic Research. We also held a successful event with key stakeholders at the 2023 Arctic Frontiers conference. This led to a report which is published on our website. We have also been discussed this issue on SAPEA’s podcast.

A critical effect of the Russian invasion is the loss of key scientific data from the Arctic. Russia covers about 40% of the Arctic and the region is undergoing a huge transformation as global warming continues. We really need data to assess the situation, as 2023 is by far the warmest year ever recorded, with global temperatures more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

We will follow up our engagement with a new project called ‘Rethinking Arctic Collaboration’, which will launch before Christmas. The project is funded by UArctic and with support from our host University of Bergen. This project includes academic and non-academic partners from Canada, USA and Europe, who will seek knowledge from experts and stakeholders to further map the situation and hopefully advise as to how scientific collaboration and science diplomacy can be recovered again.

Continuing an important outreach activity from previous years, our Hub has organised a series of lectures throughout 2023in cooperation with academies such as The Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences and The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Topics have included the evolutionary meaning of cancer, seabed mining and biodiversity conservation, Arctic Ocean Policyand nature and sustainability.

I’d like to use this opportunity to wish new members from the Nordic/Baltic region a warm welcome. I hope you will engage with AE and with our Hub. We welcome your suggestions in terms of topics, events and initiatives that you think AE and/or our Hub should engage in.

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

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

I also urge our members to nominate new members. We need an influx of active younger scholars from all fields. Our Hub provides communication and administrative support for the Young Academy of Europe. We see this as a fruitful means of supporting the activity and integration of young scholars into AE activities.

One activity I am personally very hopeful for, is the work of the AE Task Force on Environment, Sustainability and Climate (TFESC), which I am part of. The Task Force came about after undertaking a poll  to gauge interest from our membership. The Task Force held a highly effective workshop in Cambridge in September, the outcomes of which were presented at the AE Annual Meeting in Munich in October. We first aim to spearhead an initiative in the area of a sustainable food system, and more initiatives will follow.

This year I have taken over as Vice-President of the ERC, with responsibilities for the physical sciences and engineering comain of this fantastic organisation which has such a key role in European research. There are many ways that connect the work in AE and our Hub with the goals and aspirations of the ERC. One way I hope to do this is to involve both the AE and the ERC in the International Decade for Science for Sustainability, a recent initiative by the UN General Assembly.

I wish all our members a peaceful and relaxing holiday period, in the hope that next year will see the world coming a bit back to its senses.

 

Eystein

Arctic climate data unavailable to science following Russia sanctions

Currently, Arctic climate research does not have access to climate data from 45% of the Arctic area. This is because climate data from the Russian Arctic areas is largely no longer available to the global research community, as a by-product of the Russia sanctions.

This is one of the findings in the report “The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy”, initiated by Academia Europaea Bergen, the Nordic hub for the European science academy Academia Europaea.

The absence of complete data for climate development in the Arctic is potentially dramatic, as the Arctic is seen as a “temperature gauge” for global warming. In the Arctic, temperatures are rising three times faster than generally in global warming.

Another situation demanding attention in the Arctic is the thawing of the permafrost and the methane emissions resulting from this. A complete picture of this will also require complete data from all Arctic areas including the Russian ones.

This lack of complete data is a by-product of the sanctions following the Russian war in Ukraine, sanctions that also affect cooperation with Russian scientists, including climate scientists.

Academia Europaea Bergen has commissioned the political scientist Ole Øvretveit to assemble a report on the situation for science diplomacy in the Arctic in the wake of the Russia sanctions since February 2022, with a particular focus on the consequences the lack of science diplomacy has had on the sharing of climate data and access to the collection of data.

Further follow-up of the project is ensured through a grant of NOK 400,000 from UArctic.

The complete report can be read or downloaded here. 

The topics of the report were also central to a successful event with key stakeholders at the 2023 Arctic Frontiers conference. The issue has also been the topic of a SAPEA’ podcast, with project manager Ole Øvretveit and hub director Eystein Jansen as guest of the podcast.

“Science Diplomacy in the Arctic” project from AE-Bergen Hub topic of SAPEA podcast

400 000 NOK grant from UArctic secures further research

The project commissioned by the Academia Europaea Bergen Hub, “The Future of Science Diplomacy in the Arctic”, is the topic of a recent episode of the SAPEA podcast. “Genuinely one of the most important topics I’ve ever discussed on this podcast”, says Toby Wardman, host of the SAPEA podcast, about his discussion with project manager Ole Øvretveit and AE-Bergen Hub director Eystein Jansen.

The podcast starts with some general information about the Arctic and how it is governed by the 8 Arctic countries, as well as the function of the Arctic Council. This as a background for the discussion on the current state of Scientific Diplomacy in the Arctic and the current lack of exchange of scientific data from the Arctic as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Climate data missing

– In the absence of complete climate data from the Arctic, if a situation where Russian climate date are missing continues several years, we’ll miss data on the state of the permafrost, the emission of greenhouse gasses from the permafrost, the reflectivity of the planet and the speed of the changes, AE-Bergen Hub director Eystein Jansen says in the podcast.

– Is there any kind of unified view in the scientific community in terms of how to handle this situation, Wardman asks in the podcast.

Ole Øvretveit

Ole Øvretveit, Manager of Arctic Science diplomacy project, Academia Europaea

– My impression from the people I’ve talked to for our report, is that everybody has the deepest understanding that there needs to be strong reactions from the West against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It is still unprecedented that science collaboration has been shut down overnight as a part of sanctions, Ole Øvretveit says.

You can be updated on several other aspects of this topic from podcast, available from the SAPEA website, but also on Spotify and YouTube.

Earlier this spring, “The Future of Science Diplomacy in the Arctic” project from the AE-Bergen Hub was also awarded a grant of 400 000 NOK from UArctic, for further research on the topic.  

This project was initiated in the autumn of 2022, and has already resulted in a side-event at the Arctic Frontiers Conference, and a report that will be available in early autumn. The grant from UArctic will secure the continuity of the project, as well as open new avenues of research and new partnerships.

The summary of the project reads: “The tight connection between science and diplomacy in the Arctic 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-informed decisions, and science diplomacy suffer severely. Reduced international Arctic science collaboration may have severe consequences for climate research and other important scientific topics like social science and ocean ecosystems.

The objective of the project is to understand what the effects of war are on scientific collaborations and the volume and value of arctic science in the north. And, in the light of various discussions in the scientific community, to elevate a discussion on what principles should be the foundation for political decisions on science collaboration across borders in turbulent times. And finally, what may become the characteristics of the future Arctic science collaboration architecture”.

For the continued project, the project coordinator will be AE-Bergen Hub director Eystein Jansen, while the project manager is political scientist Ole Øvretveit.

Working with international experts

– First and foremost, this grant and the continuation of the project will give us the opportunity to work in a more structured and strategic way with some of the best experts on this issue internationally. With academic partners from both Germany, Canada, and the US, and also organizations representing indigenous experience and competence, we can include bothh broader and sharper perspectives on this issue, Ole Øvretveit says.

The partners in the continued project are the Alfred Wegner Institute, Germany, Nord University, Norway, Dartmouth College, USA, The Macdonald-Laurier Institute, Canada as well as the international NGO International Center of Reindeer Husbandry.

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

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

– The issue of Science Diplomacy in the Arctic and how this is affected by the freeze in the Russo-western relationship following the Russian war in Ukraine, will probably be with us probably for years to come. The longer this conflict and the resulting political instability lasts, the harder it will be to restart Science diplomacy efforts, Eystein Jansen says.

– The grant from UArtic will give us a two year perspective on the project. This will give us opportunity to observe the ongoing events over a longer time frame, Jansen adds.

– 45 percent of the Arctic is Russian territory. It is a cause for great concern that data from Russian scientists now are missing in most international projects, particularly in climate research. We have seen earlier that climatic change in the Arctic have been indicators of developments affecting other areas later. With the continuation of the project, we can now broaden our scope to look at the effects of the freezing of Arctic Science Diplomacy on research both in terrestrial and oceanographic areas, Ole Øvretveit says.

Recorded event: The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy

 

The AE-Bergen Hub organized a side event at the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø February 3rd, titled “The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy”. The backdrop is the freezing of science diplomacy efforts during the sanctions in the wake of Russia’s invasion in Ukraine.

The project on Science Diplomacy in the Arctic is commissioned by the Academia Europaea Bergen Knowledge Hub, and will include a report to be published later in the year. Political scientist Ole Øvretveit is preparing the report, and also planned the Arctic Frontiers conference side event with the Hub.

A recording of the event is available here.

– It is important to make clear that this event is not seeking to criticize the western governments for  sanctioning in principle. Aggressive states going to war should be penalized anywhere, not least here in our neighborhood.

– Still, there have been strong voices questioning the sanctions against science collaboration and the procedures for making these decisions, like the International Science Council, calling for more involvement from the scientific community in the processes leading to the political decisions. Then again, there are also those calling for stronger sanctions, Øvretveit said in his introduction.

Arctic seas

The Future of Arctic Science and Science Diplomacy is the topic of a side event organized by Academia Europaea 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

Introductory remarks 

  • 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
  • Lars Kullerud, President, UArctic

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?

 

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.

 

Lars Kullerud

Lars Kullerud

Lars Kullerud is the president of the University of the Arctic (UArctic). He  has had the pleasure to take part in the journey of developing the Universty of the Arctic (UArctic) since May 2002. UArctic – a “university without walls” – was announced in the 1998 Arctic Council Iqaluit Declaration, and has grown to a membership origination with more than 200 Higher Education Institutions from the circumpolar north and beyond. The members of UArctic carry out concrete cooperation in Education and Research in and for the Arctic through UArctic’s more than 60 Thematic Networks and Institutes as well as other forms of cooperation. Before joining the UArctic team, Lars Kullerud was the Polar Programme Manager for GRID-Arendal, the UN-Environment (UNEP) Key Polar Centre. His academic background is in Precambrian Geology and Isotope Geochemistry, geostatistics, petroleum resource assessments, as well as assessments of the Arctic environment. Lars has authored or co-authored several academic publications on Arctic issues, in environmental sciences and geosciences. Lars Kullerud is Honorary Professor at North Eastern Federal University (Yakutsk) and Honorary Doctor at Northern Arctic Federal University (Arkhangelsk).

 

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.