The Research Council of Norway granted FNI funds to start a number of new projects. We are excited to conduct  research on energy poverty, sustainable aquaculture, China’s role in global environmental politics, and the Arctic Council. In addition, we will be studying the Arctic Council on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and we are part of a NUPI project on critical materials in the Arctic, Cicero's new project on EU climate politics, and a new Sintef project on bioprospecting. 

FNI director Iver B. Neumann is very happy about the allocation: 

This fall, The Research Council of Norway allocated FNI funds to start a number of new projects. We are excited to research energy poverty, sustainable aquaculture, China’s role in global climate policy, and the Arctic Council. In addition, we will be working with the ArcticFNI director Iver B. Neumann is very happy with the allocations from NRC. Photo: Jan D. Sørensen/FNI Council on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and we are part of the NUPI project on critical materials in the Arctic, Cicero's new project on EU climate politics, and a new Sintef project on bioprospecting. 

FNI director Iver B. Neumann is very happy about the grants: 

“With old challenges taking on new hues and new ones appearing left right and center, I am thoroughly pleased that our institute may contribute on not only on the local and national, but also on the regional and global levels. Our long-term work on honing our skills is once again paying off,” says Neumann. 

China’s role in climate policy

FNI is very happy to finally receive a large grant on Chinese climate policy. Gørild Heggelund is one of the country’s foremost experts on the topic, and can now delve deeper into China’s role in international climate negotiations. China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases and the policies are changing, with powerful initiatives. What determines Chinese climate policy and which consequences could it have for the world? Gørild Heggelund will study China’s role in global environmental and climate policy. Photo: Jan D. Sørensen/FNI

The new research project takes a look at four policy areas: “We will explain China’s role in international environmental cooperation in relation to climate change, the loss of biological diversity, plastic pollution and chemicals,” says Heggelund.

“FNI researchers are already traveling to Montreal in December to follow the UN’s Biodiversity Conference where China (COP15) will host a global environmental conference,” says Heggelund. It is urgent to provide the environment with as strong protective measures as have already been accorded to the climate change issue, according to researchers at FNI.

“The conference COP15 is already two years overdue and getting an agreement in place is urgent. Hosting still gives China a good opportunity to exercise global leadership in an area with a great need for community solutions and where no one has taken the role as the driving force.”
Project: China’s changing role in global environmental governance. A prism for understanding its key role in other world order issues (CHAMBITION). Funding: NFR. Budget: NOK 7,9 million. Project leader: Gørild Heggelund.

How is knowledge created in the Arctic used?

Svein Vigeland Rottem is Norway’s foremost expert on the Arctic Council.

“I have now been doing research on the Arctic Council for ten years and I have finally been given a large allocation where I can go in-depth on how the knowledge created in the Arctic is used,” he says contentedly. Svein Vigeland Rottem has been allocated two Arctic Council projects. Photo: Jan D. Sørensen/FNI

The Arctic Council is the most important forum for international cooperation in the Arctic, but what happens there is still unknown to many. There have been great ambitions for the Arctic Council, but they have not always been met. The Arctic Council is nonetheless the most important premise provider for an active and knowledge-based debate about the challenges in the north.

With Russia’s war in Ukraine, cooperation in the Arctic Council has come to a halt. 
“The timing of this project grant could not have been better,” says Rottem. He believes it is important that someone studies the work of the Arctic Council at this moment.
“In the coming spring, Norway will take over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Today, Russia has the chairmanship, but they will no longer be a part of the cooperation because of the war,” he says. “Everyone wants the Arctic Council to endure, because it has been a success story thus far,” he says. “But everything is in motion right now, and it will be interesting to follow developments.”

At about the same time as the RCN project, which has an academic structure, Rottem also received funds from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to convey knowledge about the Arctic Council. “We will achieve some nice synergy effects here,” he smiles.

Project: Making use of Arctic science – The Case of the Arctic Council (MARCS). Funding: RCN. Budget: NOK 7,4 mill. Project leader: Svein Vigeland Rottem.

Read more about the MARCS project: New Funds to Study Knowledge From the Arctic - FNI

Read how the war in Ukraine affects the Arctic Council’s work: The work of the Arctic Council put on hold because of the war in Ukraine - ScienceNorway

Sustainable aquaculture

Kristin Rosendal has received funds to study the sustainable management of our coastal areas. She will study why businesses and municipalities choose to place fish farms where they do, or why they choose not to. “I am so happy! This is what I want to work with the most,” the project leader celebrates. Kristin Rosendal will have her hands full with aquaculture research. Photo: Jan D. Sørensen/FNI

In the research project, Rosendal and her colleagues will analyze the environmental status and the locating of fish farms.

“The coastal areas are under pressure and we need to think carefully about how we manage them going forward,” says the researcher. “The farming industry is among those who need to become more aware of their ecological footprint. With a better knowledge base for management within aquaculture, the industry could have a more solid economical platform, contribute to food security and sustainability,” she believes.

“The project focuses on how decisions about the location of aquaculture affect the sustainable use of marine areas. The central research question concerns how decisions about the location of salmon fish farms concur with the aims of increased environmental sustainability,” explains Rosendal.

Joining her, she has partners such as Alta municipality, The Norwegian Society for the Conservation of Nature, Vestland County Council, Frøya municipality, Grieg Seafood, Mowi ASA, The Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and Nofima.

Project: Sustainable management of coastal areas: Salmon farm locations and environmental status (LOCATION). Funding: RCN; Budget: NOK 8,9 mill. Project leader: Kristin Rosendal.

Read research articles on sustainable aquaculture from the FNI researchers: 

2022: Breeding for lice resistance in Norwegian farmed Atlantic salmon: an ignored or insignificant path for sustainable innovation?

2020: Environmental policy and innovation in Norwegian fish farming: Resolving the sea lice problem?

Energy poverty in the spotlight

The vast majority of people in Norway is able to pay their electricity bills. But not all. A group, which researchers call the “energy poor”, also exists in this country. However, very little research has been done on this in Norway. Now, FNI has received funds to start a large-scale mapping of the problem, together with partners such as Statistics Norway, Cicero, and The Centre for Development and the Environment (SUM) at the University of Oslo. Tor Håkon J. Inderberg will study energy poverty in Norway. Photo: Jan D. Sørensen/FNI

“Politicians make policies blindfolded,” says project leader Tor Håkon Jackson Inderberg.  “Norway has not researched what energy poverty is, which makes it difficult to hit the mark with the policies that are made,” he points out.

Project: Understanding Energy Poverty in Norway (PowerPoor). Funding: RCN. Budget: NOK 12,0 mill. Project leader: Tor Håkon Jackson Inderberg. 

Read more about the research project POWERPOOR here: Will Research Energy Poverty - FNI

New projects we are involved in:

  • New NUPI (The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs) project: Andreas Østhagen takes part in “NEXTRUSH: Next Arctic Rush? Critical Materials for the Energy Transition”, led by Indra Øverland.
  • New Cicero project: Jørgen Wettestad and Lars H. Guldbrandsen take part in “Governing under turbulence: The European Green Deal and implications for Norway”.
  • New SINTEF project: Christian Prip and Kristin Rosendal take part in “AMBIOS: Autonomous Marine Biodiversity Mapping and Bioprospecting Platform”, which is a cooperation project for innovation in business.