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Bergen Summer Research School

bergen summer research school 2018

Six PhD Courses on Global Challenges

Next summer, we take on some of the biggest global challenges, from health and cultural heritage in a digital age, to ecology and ethics, food security, and rights as political tools. Register now.

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PhD candidates talking

The annual Bergen Summer Research School (BSRS) is an interdisciplinary venue for exploring some of the greatest challenges of our time. About one hundred PhD candidates, researchers and policy makers from around the world will gather in Bergen from 11-21 June, 2018.

We now accept applications (deadline 15 February 2018)

The courses will be tied together by common sessions on research tools, writing and presentation skills, joint keynotes by high-profile researchers, plenary discussions, and an excursion into the Norwegian waterscape.

BSRS seeks to create a unique environment for the participants to present, engage, discuss, progress their thinking, and improve on their work.

Bergen Summer Research School is a joint effort by the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI), NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Uni Research, and the University of Bergen.

Courses next summer:

Image, Ecology, Ethics

Associate Professor Øyvind Vågnes
Department of Information Science and Media Studies, UiB

Professor Asbjørn Grønstad
Department of Information Science and Media Studies, UiB

The objective of this course is twofold, and the seminars will be organized around two related, yet distinct thematic nodes: "Environmental Implications of Digital Technologies" and "Visualizing the Anthropocene."

In "Environmental Implications of Digital Technologies" we will invite discussion concerning the ethical urgency of what Sean Cubitt describes in Finite Media as an eco-political media aesthetics, in which the reorientation of our use of media enables a shift in our relationship to the environment. Cubitt will be our keynote speaker.

Then, in "Visualizing the Anthropocene," we will examine the diverse ways in which images from a range of different media imagine and depict ongoing transformations in the interconnected spheres of ecology and ethics. This will include discussions of how visual representations may intervene in environmental deliberations, for instance through the process that visual culture scholar Nicholas Mirzoeff has referred to as “visualizing the Anthropocene.”

Rights as governance mechanisms and political tools

Professor Siri Gloppen
Department of Comparative Politics/CMI

Professor Henriette Sinding Aasen
Faculty of Law, UiB

We propose a bundle of courses on the use of rights as governance mechanisms and tools of political change and contestation (lawfare) – in and out of court – in a range of fields, including health, gender equality, natural resources and climate change.

The courses will alternate with regard to the topic in focus (among other building onto previous BSRS courses which has focused on rights and governance in relation to health, poverty and climate change, and ongoing research projects in the field, among other a number of projects on sexual and reproductive rights, the right to health, and a new project on the right to water)

The courses all have a three-pronged focus on

1. the social and political dynamics in which rights are developed, used and implemented

2. the norms themselves as developed by legislative, adjudicative and professional bodies

3. the effects of rights and lawfare and methods for assessing this.

The courses will (in line with previous courses) always be multidisciplinary in terms of perspectives, literature and course leaders, integrating law, social sciences and humanities, as well as psychology, health and other natural sciences as relevant.

Can the oceans contribute more to our food security?

Professor Øyvind Fiksen
Department of Biology, UiB

The Ocean, an important source of protein for the human population, is under pressure from climate change, pollution and fisheries activities. Can more food be obtained from the ocean in a sustainable way?

We approach this question from several perspectives. First, how much is it - in theory - possible to get from the ocean by harvesting wild species? What are the key constraints for realization of this potential? Second, what is the potential for mariculture (i.e. marine aquaculture) to increase human food security, and what are the key limiting factors for further expansion of mariculture? Third, can we increase future food security and decrease the human environmental footprint through integration of agriculture and mariculture?

The potentials and limitations will be viewed in light of basic theory in biological oceanography and ecology, but also from a socio-economic perspective on how markets, regulations, and conservation influence ocean harvest.

The courses targets PhD candidates interested in oceanography, marine ecosystems, fisheries and aquaculture. The two-week course includes plenary activities and lectures in addition to presentations of participants’ own papers. The course aims at active learning where participants contribute presentations, discussions, and practical work in the lab or field, under guidance of marine researchers and scientists. It is highly relevant to students in a broad range of disciplines, and directed towards societal problems and management challenges related to the oceans in a global perspective.

Cultural Heritage and Policy in a Digital Age

Professor David G. Hebert
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

Professor Tamsin Meaney
Western Norway University of Applied Sciences

We live in an exciting age in which new technologies are rapidly transforming traditional life worldwide, often in ways that are disorienting to both the most and least powerful in society.

This intensive course will equip doctoral students with specialized competence in the array of complex issues associated with research and policy-making at the intersection of "big data" and cultural traditions. We will critically examine the rise of digitization and its implications for indigenous, migrant and minority heritage, as well as multiculturalist educational and cultural policies.

We begin by exploring the role of research and social theory for the innovation of public policies, and then proceed to a survey of the epistemological foundations of "big data", interculturalism and indigeneity, as well as contemporary theories of postcoloniality and glocalization. These social processes and mechanisms are considered from a global perspective, through case studies that illustrate changing notions of cultural identity and intellectual property, particularly through processes of repatriation among indigenous and minority peoples in the Nordic countries, Oceania (New Zealand), East Asia (Japan), South Africa, and the Americas. Special attention is devoted to grappling with ethical dilemmas in the digitization of traditional artefacts, including stories and music.

The course will enable PhD candidates from various arts, humanities and social science fields to enhance their ability to engage with critical cultural policy issues in both their scholarly and practical work for universities, museums, libraries, and government agencies. It will be of particular interest to those engaged in digitization projects, cultural projects with Indigenous and minority groups, and projects that include combinations of these aspects, which could be in the fields of governance, computer science, education, arts, or social sciences.

Fair priority setting in global health

Professor Ole Frithjof Norheim
Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, UiB

The participants will learn about key ethical principles for fair priority setting in global health, how to evaluate equity in access to health services and fairness in the distribution of health outcomes, and how to combine tools for equity measurement with standard health economic evaluations.

The course is divided into two parts. Part one will cover theoretical concepts of equity, fairness and health maximization, and how they are applied in global and national health care priority setting. These will be linked to widely agreed global frameworks such as the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage.

Part two will cover hands-on exercises in equity analysis, starting with assignments in excel, moving to ADEPT (Software platform for equity analysis developed by the World Bank), and Stata with DASP (Distributive Analysis Stata Package).

The first part is theoretical, and consists of a mixture of lectures and group work/discussions on the main topics described above. Candidates are required to participate in group work on assigned topics. This includes daily exercises, with alternating group compositions and presentation of results for the class.

The second part consists of a combination of theory and practice, and students will work through exercises on their own laptops on a “learning by doing” principle. Each day will be organized around a number of assignments to be completed individually. The softwares Microsoft Excel, ADEPT, and Stata will be used throughout the course.

Food and Nutrition Insecurity: Dimensions, Measurement, Interventions

Associate Professor Anne Hatløy
Centre for International Health, UiB

Adjunct Professor Grace M. Egeland
Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, UiB

This course will provide an understanding of the current global status of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. Course participants will gain perspectives of the diversity and complexity of situations globally ranging from hidden hunger in the world’s largest economies to periodic or endemic food insecurity in low income countries.

The overview will include the important considerations affecting nutrition and food security from the national to household level. Following the overview, the course will focus on methodology.

High quality assessment and intervention research methods are essential given the importance of research results in the development of public health priorities and in the formation of prevention and intervention programs.

The course will provide PhD candidates with various assessment methodologies and their validity and appropriateness for diverse field settings. The components of successful intervention research methodology will be discussed and examples of diverse intervention studies presented.

The course is targeted toward doctoral and post-doctoral researchers and junior career investigators who wish to gain more knowledge and skills in community nutrition, nutritional epidemiology, health promotion, and public health policy.