“It has been rewarding to be at the helm of the HAVKYST programme for nearly a decade," says programme board chair Kari Nygaard.(Photo: Ingar Næss)
Kari Nygaard, programme board chair for nearly the entire programme period, summarises the many activities in terms of statistics: “The research has generated 307 peer-reviewed scientific articles and more than 1 900 other scientific publications, 79 doctoral fellowships, 216 popular science publications and nearly 1 000 articles in the mass media.”
Research activities for roughly NOK 1 billion, allocated to research institutes and universities all across Norway, were initiated and followed up under the programme. For the duration of its programme period, the HAVKYST programme was actively involved in international cooperation via the ERA-NET scheme and other arenas of cooperation.
“More than 90 per cent of the projects have reported international cooperation activities,” adds Dr Nygaard, “and we have documented cooperation with researchers from 37 different countries.”
IMPORTANT FOR NORWAY
The HAVKYST programme was a policy-oriented programme with the primary objectives of enhancing Norway’s position as a leader in marine ecosystem-related research, contributing significantly to generating greater knowledge about the marine environment, and providing a research-based foundation for integrated, long-term management of and value creation based on marine resources.
|“The HAVKYST programme has helped to make Norway a strong marine research nation,” says Fridtjof Unander. (Photo: Sverre Jarild) (Photo: Sverre Jarild)
“A broad understanding of our marine environment is of great value to Norway as a knowledge nation with seven times more marine area than land area,” says Fridtjof Unander, Executive Director of the Research Council’s Division for Energy, Resources and the Environment. “At the same time, this knowledge provides a foundation for the long-term management of marine ecosystems – and the resources and value creation they represent – both nationally and internationally.”
“The HAVKYST programme has attached importance to promoting innovative, high-quality research on the marine environment, and deserves some of the credit for Norway’s top international standing in the research category fisheries and aquaculture,” continues Mr Unander. He points to the bibliometric analysis from 2013 indicating that Norwegian research is highly specialised and has a major impact in this field.
MORE COMPLEX ISSUES
Over the course of the HAVKYST programme period, the target of research activity shifted from smaller projects focused on individual components towards larger, more complex projects. Correspondingly the focus shifted from individual species to populations and ecosystems, and from a purely biological approach to multi- and cross-disciplinary research. The role of social science topics such as legal issues, economics, business development, management and conflict management has expanded, and completely new issues such as ocean acidification and microplastics have emerged.
Now, the HAVKYST programme staff has passed the baton to the Research Programme on Marine Resources and the Environment (MARINFORSK), which has many challenges to tackle.
“Pressures on the oceans are growing, with more and more conflicting interests involved,” points out Dr Nygaard, who is Managing Director of the Norwegian Institute for Air Research (NILU). “If we are to win the battle to protect and sustainably utilise the oceans, we have to break down barriers between disciplines, genders and cultures and invest in creative research. The important role of the oceans in relation to the climate, food production, energy, transport, trade and industry and labour market, both locally and globally, means that we constantly need new knowledge that can help to safeguard and enhance Norway’s strong position in the management of marine areas, ecosystems and resources.”
(Translation by: Victoria Coleman/Carol B. Eckmann)