Twice a year FNI provides new master ‘s degree students with a financial grant and the opportunity to conduct their degree project in our research environment.

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

Students are allocated a workplace at Polhøgda as well as an FNI supervisor – and are welcomed into everyday life and activities at the institute. 

‘Any organisation that wants to evolve over time needs young people, and research institutions need inter-generational dialogue simply to do their work properly. Just look at climate activism amongst the younger generation, and it should be obvious why FNI is so keen on attracting young blood’, says FNI director Iver B. Neumann, who himself was a master’s degree student here some years ago. 

This semester’s master’s degree students are working in the fields of sociology, China studies, human geography, environmental law and social anthropology. 

Ida Morén Strømsø

Ida Morén Strømsø is a master’s degree student in social anthropology, with specialization in political economy, at the University of Oslo. Supervisor: Cecilia Salinas, University of Oslo.

Master’s thesis: Paradoxes in Norwegian Seed Policy, a study of the policy space for promoting crop diversity in Norwegian development politics

‘Recent years have seen an increasing focus on policy coherence in Norwegian development politics, to prevent one policy from undermining others. As anthropologists, we are interested in the people behind the policies and how they make sense out of what they do. In this thesis I examine how policy actors navigate cases of incoherencies and friction. 
‘I have chosen to look at the policy world of seeds and seed security, an area of Norwegian development politics governed by several ministries: Trade, Climate, Foreign Affairs, and Agriculture. This entails a considerable risk of incoherencies and lack of coordination. My thesis builds on six months of fieldwork in Oslo, in the ministries, in civil society, with farmers and with researchers.’ 

Serafima Andreeva

Serafima Andreeva is pursuing a master’s degree within the field of sociology at NTNU – the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. Supervisor: Heidrun Åm, NTNU.

Master’s project: ‘The political discourse on climate change in Russia has changed drastically in the past five years – and temperatures in the Arctic have risen drastically as well. In my thesis I will examine how Russian climate scientists working with the Arctic experience the interpretation, practice, and dissemination of their research in relation to Russian climate policy. In addition, I want to map out the institutional logics and mechanisms that shape the processes between scientific work and policymaking. This involves in-depth interviews in Russian with climate scientists affiliated with the Arctic Council, as well as a discourse and document analysis on annual official reports on the state and protection of the environment of the Russian Federation.’

Tarjei Brekke

Tarjei Brekke is a master’s degree student in China studies at the University of Oslo. Supervisor: Jørgen Delman, University of Copenhagen.

Master’s thesis: Beijing Behind the Steering Wheel? Examining the Chinese Distant-Water Fishing Fleet Under Global Governance

‘Over the past few decades, global fish stocks have increasingly suffered from overexploitation and insufficient monitoring. This is the result of inadequate fisheries governance on the global scale. At the heart of this conflict is China which, as the world’s largest producer and consumer of aquatic product and owner of the world’s largest distant-water fishing fleet, has increasingly been criticised for failing to manage its distant water fisheries properly  and in accordance with international regulation. The question remains, though: How to go about that? In my thesis, I conduct a policy analysis, an actor analysis and a case study to examine the interactions between national and global marine environmental governance of the Chinese DWF fleet and how China’s marine environmental governance functions at the global level.’

Elin Grytten Sandnes

Master’s degree student in human geography at the University of Oslo. Supervisor: Kirsten Ulsrud at the University of Oslo. 

Master’s thesis: What external factors influence electrification in Nepal? Examining the political economy of large-scale hydropower development in South Asia.

‘In my master’s thesis, I explore the political and economic factors that enable or slow down energy development in Nepal. With increasing awareness of climate change and with national pledges to cut emissions, transitioning to renewable energy has become imperative. But what does this process look like in developing countries that must struggle to finance energy projects?

Nepal has looked to export of electricity from large-scale hydropower as the key to economic development since before the 1990s, but not until 2021 was there an electricity surplus. To examine the contextual factors that influence development, I will conducting a qualitative analysis with in-depth interviews as the main method. 

My preliminary findings show that: 1) reliance on foreign investment and aid shape the trajectory for energy development, 2) the regional geopolitical context, specifically relations between India and China, has a major influence on Nepal’s possibilities to export energy, 3) although Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate change, and temperature rise in the Himalaya have major impacts on river flows, Nepal’s goals for energy development have remained relatively constant since the 1990s.’ 

Heloisa Warren

Heloisa Warren is pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Law at the University of Lisbon’s Faculty of Law. 

Master’s thesis: 'The accelerated sea-level rise rates our world is currently experiencing due to human-induced climate change, has been responsible for engendering various threats throughout the globe, affecting especially nations and communities located in low-lying coastal areas. 

Comprehensively, the phenomenon reached the legal community, as it gave rise to the discussion of its effects on the current international legal system, which does not provide explicit answers to the many legal challenges likely to be produced by rising sea levels – as those related to territorial integrity, forced migration, and statehood. 

Considering that, my master’s research intends to explore the phenomenon in the light of both Environmental Law and the Law of the Sea, focusing on assessing the legal issues that sea-level rise may pose to the conservation of marine living resources through area-based management tools such as Marine Protected Areas, especially in Pacific small island developing States, as these nations are simultaneously the most vulnerable to threats over territorial integrity, and holders of some of the biggest Marine Protected Areas in the world.'