The Fridtjof Nansen Institute is delighted to announce that Dr. Irja Vormedal has been promoted to the prestigious position of Research Professor. Congratulations!
Dr. Vormedal has a strong background in environmental policy, and, more recently,  the politics and governance of aquaculture. 

As noted by the committee who assessed her application, ‘Dr Vormedal's remarkable achievements and contributions to the field of environmental policy and international relations have earned her this well-deserved recognition.’ 

'After a long journey from student to research assistant and PhD fellow, motherhood and senior researcher, I am truly honored to advance to the position of Research Professor,' Dr Vormedal declares.

Academic path and motivation

Dr Irja Vormedal, a Senior Researcher at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute since 2011, has indeed an impressive academic background, including an honours degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in 2004, a Master's degree with distinction from LSE in 2005, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oslo in 2011. Her expertise spans environmental policy, international relations, and political science.

To describe her academic motivation, she says: 

‘Academic research has always been a real passion of mine. I have a deep motivation towards advancing our understanding of how dynamics between politics and markets affect the governance of complex environmental problems such as climate change. This genuine motivation will continue to drive me to pursue new research projects, through which I want to explore and seek to explain the political economy of green transformations and policy change’.

Environmental Policy and Aquaculture Politics

Her publications, featured in prestigious academic outlets and leading journals, are of top quality, reflecting substantial theoretical ambition and empirical depth. Her research has attracted significant attention, with an impressive total of 289 Scopus citations as of June 2023.

In addition, Dr Vormedal has played a pivotal role in securing substantial funding – close to 3 million Euro, for four major projects funded by the Research Council of Norway. She has also received prestigious grants and contributed to applied research initiatives.

‘Dr. Irja Vormedal is an undisputedly distinguished researcher with a deep understanding of business, politics, and environmental regulation. 

In the words of the assessment committee, ‘Dr. Irja Vormedal is an undisputedly distinguished researcher with a deep understanding of business, politics, and environmental regulation. Her work, marked by theoretical innovation and profound empirical investigations, has left an indelible imprint on her field. She has actively shaped crucial projects and datasets, making a tangible impact on the Norwegian policy debate.’

Supporting efforts

In recent years, FNI has been running a promotion group aimed at supporting senior researchers aiming for promotion. Its activities include examining how reports can become articles, providing feedback on article drafts, discussing book ideas, and seeking to align portfolios so that the promotion process doesn't stall because the researcher has been focusing on too narrow a field. 

‘This has all been enjoyable! Irja would probably have gained promoting anyway, but it has been very rewarding for the rest of us to be a part of this journey. We intend to keep  encouraging more researchers follow her lead’, notes FNI Director Iver B. Neumann. 

The promotion to Research Professor is well-deserved, adds research professor Kristin Rosendal. ‘Timing the application to the promotion committee correctly benefits everyone. Management's involvement and encouragement are essential. They should be available for advice, even in the early stages of the merit process. Research leaders play a central role, and senior colleagues offer valuable insights.’

‘I would like to thank the FNI for being such a great “home” of friends and colleagues, from which I can also collaborate with peers abroad, says Dr Vormedal.

Peer Endorsements

Research Professor Kristin Rosendal shares her thoughts on her colleague, Irja: Research professor Kristin Rosendal.
‘Irja is a pleasure to work with. She's analytically competent and consistently delivers timely and reliable work. Her fearlessness and meticulousness in handling contentious topics, like aquaculture and sea lice, are valuable. Irja's contributions have strengthened our research on aquaculture at FNI. She also brings enjoyment to the workplace with her cool, clever, and witty personality.

Dr. Vormedal's colleague, Research Professor Jon Birger Skjærseth, also speaks highly of her:
‘Irja prioritizes quality over quantity, consistently delivering high-calibre research that's both theoretically sound and empirically robust. Research Professor Jon Birger SkjærsethHer adaptability and analytical skills shine across a range of topics, from aquaculture to energy and climate. Here at the FNI, she's a vital asset in political economy and corporate studies, elevating the institute's expertise in aquaculture, and sparking numerous major projects.’ He continues: 

‘Irja's work holds significance in both the academic and the practical realms. Her expertise, particularly in aquaculture, actively informs decision-makers, fostering the development of more efficient management practices. Her contributions are invaluable to scholars and policymakers alike, facilitating informed decision-making.’

Researcher Mari Lie Larsen, another close colleague at FNI, sums it up: esearcher Mari Lie Larsen
‘Irja is a true enthusiast who really enjoys challenging questions. Her deep engagement in her work makes collaborating with her a continued pleasure. What’s more, she is always positive and encouraging, and excels at motivating and applauding others.’ She goes on: 
‘Irja is open-minded, creative, intelligent, and adept at distilling key points. With her exceptional communication skills, she can make any topic captivating. Irja's enthusiasm for challenging questions makes collaboration enjoyable, and her deep engagement, positive attitude, and encouragement boost team morale.’