FNI welcomes new master's students twice a year, offering them financial support and the opportunity to carry out their Master's projects in our research setting.

Application deadlines are 20 November and 20  May each year. If you are interested in a student scholarship, read more here (text in Norwegian).

Our students are provided with workspace at Polhøgda, and are an integral part of our institute's daily activities. 

This semester’s Master’s degree students are working in the fields of political science, human geography, development & environment, modern history and China studies.


Matti Seppola SimonsenMatti Seppola Simonsen. Foto: Jan D. Sørensen/FNI

Matti Seppola Simonsen is a Master’s degree student in Development, Environment and Cultural Change at the University of Oslo. Supervisors: Jostein Jakobsen and Pia Lane

Master’s thesis, preliminary title: ‘The effect of river regulation on Kven culture and language’

 My project will examine how state regulation of salmon fishing in North Norway’s Raisinjoki and Lemmijoki rivers has affected the retention and further transfer of Kven culture and language. Within the context of the Norwegian Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which submitted its report in June 2023, my thesis seeks to map out how conflicts over land use and ownership affect the Kven national minority today. To this end I apply a Gramscian theoretical framework, examining how hegemonic understandings of nature and nature-use impact minority groups, as well as how capitalist interests inform conflicts over land.


Anna Hov Smeby Anna Hov Smeby. Foto: Jan D. Sørensen/FNI

Anna Hov Smeby is a Master’s degree student in Human Geography at the University of Oslo
Supervisor: Hege Merete Knudsen

Master's thesis working title: Discourse analysis of Norwegian petroleum and climate policy, 2021-2023

My thesis will examine Norwegian petroleum policy in the context of strict climate policy frameworks and high energy demand. Norway has decided to continue its oil production, with energy security and economic revenues among  the priorities. In addition, Norway has ambitious goals for emissions mitigation, and has committed to reduce global warming in line with the Paris Agreement. Emissions from the petroleum sector currently comprise one fourth of national emissions.

How is the coherence between climate considerations and petroleum production framed in the Norwegian discourse? How is the development of petroleum production justified? Has the Russian invasion of Ukraine affected the discourse? What are the political consequences of the discourse? I plan to conduct a document analysis of state documents and speeches from politicians, comparing them  with the counter-discourse.  


Anne Brøvig PedersenAnne Brøvig Pedersen 

Anne Brøvig Pedersen is studying Political science at the University of Oslo. Primary Supervisors: Marina Povitkina and Øivind Bratberg

Master's thesis working title: 'Debates that don’t blow over: an investigation of green on green conflicts in Norwegian wind power development'

A transition to renewable energy is necessary in order to mitigate climate change and achieve the goals set in the Paris Agreement. However, renewable energy development affects large areas – often in untouched nature. This is where ‘green-on-green’ conflicts emerge, with opposing climate and environmental interests on both sides. These conflicts are becoming more frequent, calling for closer examination. My master’s thesis will study green-on-green conflicts within Norwegian windpower development through discourse analysis of the debate surrounding three Norwegian windpower plants. This will provide insights on how such conflicts emerge and operate.


Erik Ettner Sanne Erik Ettner Sanne.

Erik Ettner Sanne is a Master’s degree student in political science at the University of Oslo. Primary Supervisors: Olav Schram Stokke and Andreas Raspotnik. 

Master's thesis working title: What explains the EU's position in the post-Brexit disagreement over cod quotas with Norway?

Here I explore the political driving forces that contributed to shaping the European Union's stance in the recent dispute with Norway over cod quotas in the Svalbard zone. For several years, Norway and the EU had an informal understanding regarding the allocation of cod quotas in the waters surrounding the archipelago, despite differing interpretations of the scope of the Svalbard Treaty. However, this informal understanding was broken following the UK withdrawal from the EU. As a result of Brexit, Norwegian authorities reduced the Union's cod quota for 2021. The EU contested the size of the new quota, and allocated a higher quota to its member states. In this Master's project, I will analyse the political driving forces that shaped the EU's stance in this dispute. Additionally, I examine how this case can contribute to explaining the EU's overarching perspective on the Svalbard zone.


Ruairi Long Ruairi Long

Ruairi Long is a Master’s degree student in Modern International and Transnational History at the University of Oslo. Primary Supervisors: Ulrike Spring and Johannes Mattis

Master’s thesis, working title: ‘Finding a balance: coal mining, environmental protection and geopolitics on Svalbard, 1970–1990’

Coal-mining activities on the Svalbard archipelago had long been the economic backbone of the Norwegian presence there. In order to meet the official policy aims of a Norwegian, family-based and sustainable community on Svalbard, a range of other economic activity developed – including some under the auspices of one of the major coal mining companies, Store Norske Spitsbergen Kulkompani (SNSK), which had effectively managed the Norwegian presence. The thesis examines how the Norwegian government attempted to balance environmental and geopolitical concerns in this vital and vulnerable region, within the context of the Cold War and growing concerns for environmental aspects.


Eirik Bryhn Jacobsen Eirik Jacobsen

Eirik Bryhn Jacobsen is a Master’s degree student in Chinese Culture and Society at the University of Oslo. Supervisor: Koen Wellens

Master's thesis working title: Power in the provinces: Local government energy policies in China

Renewable energy is a prioritized area for the national government in the People’s Republic of China. At the same time, renewable energy development is often dependent on local conditions, and the local governments play a crucial role in expanding wind and solar in China. In my Master's thesis, I want to explore what agency the provincial governments have in developing their renewable energy policies, and whether it is adapted to local conditions or following directives from the national government. I plan to analyze policy documents from the provinces of Zhejiang and Jiangsu and see if the policies have been developed and increased independently of national government, or if they follow along national guidelines. These provinces have good conditions for developing renewable energy, as the geographical conditions are suitable, their economies are strong, the infrastructure is developed etc., making them interesting cases.


Olivia Zhang Olivia Zhang

Olivia Zhang is studying International Relations at Norwegian University of Life Science
Supervisors: Gørild Merethe Heggelund and Stig Jarle Hansen

Master's thesis working title: China and India in the Arctic: Implications for the Region's Geopolitical Dynamics

My thesis will examine China and India’s strategic interests and policies in the Arctic region. China and India share a lot of similarities when it comes to their situations and goals in the Arctic. The two countries are both observer states in the Arctic Council, the two countries climate and environment are both heavily influenced by the climate change in the Arctic, so both countries have strong motivation to join environmental research in the Arctic. On top of that, China and India are two of the world’s most populous countries with strong demand and momentous for economic growth, and the untapped natural resources and new shipping routes in the Arctic region could be exactly what China and India need to boost their economy. 

Understanding the motivations and strategies of China and India in the Arctic is crucial, as their actions can influence the region's geopolitics, environmental sustainability, and economic development. While China's Arctic ambitions have received significant attention, India's entry into the Arctic, including its attainment of observer status in the Arctic Council, has been relatively less examined. The thesis seeks to compare and analyze the positions, goals, and strategies of China and India in the Arctic and assess their implications for the region.