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Researchers from all over the world are gathered in Bergen

- I think this will provide me with new and important approaches for my own research, says PhD candidate from Ghana, Evans Manu. He is one of 97 researchers who are participating Bergen Summer Research School 2017.

Evans Manu, Portia Adade Williams, Mark Stevenson, Prudence Atukanda

Evans Manu, Portia Adade Williams, Mark Stevenson, Prudence Atukanda
Evans Manu, University of Ghana; Portia Adade Williams, University of Cape Town; Mark Stevenson, NUI Galway og Prudence Atukanda, University of Oslo
Photo:
Paul S. Amundsen

Around a table at the Student Centre in Bergen, a group of researchers have found much to talk about, only halfway into the first day of Bergen Summer Research School.

Evans Manu, Portia Adade Williams, Mark Stevenson og Prudence Atukanda are four of the PhD candidates that are gathered in Bergen between 12. - 22. June, to exchange knowledge and ideas about common global challenges through courses that focus on migration, the role of higher education, global health, water management, poverty, and the impact language has on global challenges.

- I am really looking forward to Terje Tvedts course "Water Management, Development Trajectories and the Modern World". In Ghana, almost all water resources have been polluted by illegal mining activity. It is important to learn how we can live in a world where the climate is changing, and the population is increasing, so that we do not destroy the resources for the next generation. I think this will give me new and important approaches for my own research, says Evans Manu who is researching water resources at the University of Ghana.

- Important for UiBs focus on global challenges

Bergen Summer Research School is a cross-disciplinary research school for PhD candidates who are concerned with global challenges, and a partnership between NHH—Norwegian School of EconomicsBergen University CollegeChr. Michelsen Institute, and Uni Research, under the leadership of the University of Bergen.

This years theme "global challenges", is one of the University of Bergens strategic research areas, and part of the strategy for 2016 - 2022: Ocean, life, society.

- Bergen Summer Research School is very important for a university like ours, but also for the academic community. We need to engage in a global research community. I am happy that so many are here to dig into these important questions, and look at them from an international perspective, said UiB-Rector Dag Rune Olsen at the opening 12. June.

He also emphasized the cross-disciplinary focus at the Bergen Summer Research School.

- This years summer school will address almost all of the United Nations sustainable development goals, and relates to all of the faculties at the university. Global challenges can not be solved or understood from one subjects perspective alone, said Olsen.

10 years with Bergen Summer Research School

Professor Kjersti Fløttum at The Department of Foreign Languages is one of the initiators behind the research school, that has been held for the last ten years. Like Olsen, she emphasizes the cross-disciplinary focus.

- We want to create an arena where researchers with different backgrounds can meet, but not at the expence of expert knowledge. This is a chance to gain insight into how other fields of expertise solve problems. We believe this will be valuable for every single researcher.

- This research school is unique because we are able to gather people from all over the world, from countries where people have many resources and countries that do not have the same prosperity. We award scholarships, because a lot of researchers do not have the opportunity to pay for travel and accommodation. This is required if we are to have a dialogue about global challenges. We need to meet with those who have other perspectives and challenges than us, says Fløttum.

A social arena for researchers

In addition to the scientific part, several of the participants emphasizes the opportunity to build networks and research collaboration as an important reason to why they applied for this years summer research school.

Portia Adade Williams is a PhD-candidate at the University of Cape Town in South-Africa, and is in Bergen to attend the course Agenda 2030: Poverty, Climate change and sustainability which is closely related to her own research. She also emphasizes the research school as a social arena.

- Our research relates to very different subjects, but we have a common interest that could create opportunities for research cooperation. In the future we might need someone to hold a course at our own university, or we could look into the possibility to collaborate on studies. So these weeks are not just about our present research, the social part is very important. This goes far beyond what is happening in Bergen these weeks, says Williams.