In the course of the past one a half years, three FNI researchers achieved academic promotion and now have full professor competence. One of the trio – Øystein Jensen – is also professor of law at the University of Southeast Norway (USN).
It is a double pleasure to join in the celebration of my successful colleagues’, says FNI director Iver Neumann. ‘Double, because their elevation means that we also have to recruit new young talent in order to maintain a well-balanced staff.’
Tor Håkon Jackson Inderberg
The most recent to gain promotion is Tor Håkon Jackson Inderberg, who holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Oslo. His 2012 PhD work focused on climate adaptation in the energy sector. Since then, he has delved further into climate and energy policy, not least as regards achieving the transition to a renewable, low-emissions society, and a just ‘green’ shift.
Inderberg heads the FNI's sector of the large, inter-institutional research centre Include, and is now poised to launch a new FNI project on windpower. He has previously led the FNI research programme on Europe, as well as a project on climate adaptation that resulted in a new book.
Not thinking in silos
‘I’ve studied the power industry extensively – including support systems, solar cells and decentralization and digitization of the power sector, licensing processes, national choices and social justice’, Inderberg explains.
As leader of the FNI’s part of Pathway, a UiO-TIK project, Inderberg and his team analyse the major climate-and energy-policy choices that Norway will have to make in the near future.
‘Here and in other projects, we examine the social implications, while also considering what is politically feasible – for instance, concerning windpower’, Inderberg adds.
‘I really enjoy interdisciplinary cooperation, and like exploring different perspectives of a given case. Curiosity is a driving force for my motivation’, he smiles.
‘We are privileged to have the opportunity to engage in such work. I’m lucky to be in a position where I can immerse myself in these matters that should be useful to society. As we also offer critical perspectives, we hope that the knowledge generated will be useful to society.
The external review committee in charge evaluating Inderberg’ s work was in no doubt that elevation to the status of full professor was in place. They wrote:
Inderberg´s research demonstrates both high scientific quality and breadth of scope. We would particularly like to emphasize his ability to apply interesting theoretical concepts and models to his empirical work, demonstrating the role of theory in explaining causal relationships. His research demonstrates strong abilities to reflect theoretically based on empirical observations and inferences. Occasionally, Inderberg also makes nuanced contributions to the advancement and refinement of theoretical concepts and models.
Øystein Jensen, the youngest of our three new research professors, has been at FNI for his entire career. Now, as a fresh professor of law at the University of Southeast Norway, he will continue his work at FNI in parallel with his chair at USN.
Jensen defended his doctoral thesis at the University of Oslo in 2013. Here he focused on the continental shelf; since then, he has focused on the law of the sea, in particular on its implementation in Norwegian legislation.
Shelf, shipping and Svalbard
‘Norway has a particularly interesting history concerning the law of the sea’, explains Jensen, pointing to a map of Svalbard and the marine areas in the High North. Indeed, Norway’s marine territories are about six times as large as the mainland.
Last year Jensen joined in the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Spitsbergen Treaty by editing a new book on the treaty. In the course of the past decade, he has also led research projects at the Norwegian Centre for the Law of the Sea (formerly the K.G. Jebsen Centre for the Law of the Sea) at UiT Arctic University of Norway, in Tromsø.
However, Jensen himself has always been based at the FNI at Polhøgda.
‘FNI has been the right place for me as regards research’, he emphasizes. ‘Jurisprudence and political science have theoretical interfaces, and it is healthy to have broader perspectives than the purely legal dogmatic ones.’ Here he highlights fruitful collaboration with several of FNI's senior researchers, including experts on Russian High North policy – and, of course, the law of the sea.
‘It’s been a great help to be in a place where there are not only lawyers. For one thing, I’ve gained an international network that would hardly have possible if I hadn’t been at FNI. They have taught me a lot’, adds the new professor.
Gørild Heggelund is ‘a globally leading researcher in Chinese environmental, energy and climate policy’, according to the statement issued by external promotion review committee, who also note that these are fields of increasing international interest. The committee emphasizes Heggelund's special strengths: her written and spoken fluent command of Mandarin and her extensive network among Chinese policymakers, NGOs and in academia.
Her work is characterized by her training as a Sinologist, as well as practical expertise from positions in energy, climate, and environmental consultancy, and her familiarity with political science and public policy. Heggelund is recognized, within China and internationally, as a leading foreign scholar on Chinese climate policy. She has achieved this status in part because of her involvement in climate policy advisory work, but also because of her numerous publications in this field.
Recommends working for the UN
Heggelund has not always been a researcher. For two periods she worked in the UN system, also there focusing on Chinese climate and energy policy.
‘It’s a good idea to do something else than being a researcher. It opens many doors, and I really recommend it. But, of course, it is a milestone to become a research professor’, she smiles, adding that she is grateful to her colleague Kristin Rosendal for pushing her to apply for promotion.
‘Applying is a lengthy process – but it’s also important to be able to point out what you have achieved, and where the new contributions of your work lie.’
There is no doubt that Heggelund is particularly good at getting to know new and emerging research areas. Some 20 years ago, her work helped to foster China’s changing attitude toward the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) she explained why it was in the interest of the Chinese government to succeed with CDM projects. She has also conducted theory-oriented work, and more recently has contributed new insights into the rapidly expanding new field of China in the Arctic.
Heggelund emphasizes the importance of achieving a consistent understanding of China, a nation so important in the world, and of being able to draw on Chinese sources. Indeed, her many years in China have given her a unique understanding of the mindset and culture in addition to the politics and language of this vast country.