Global Challenges

Gathered PhD candidates from 49 countries around the SDGs

For the second time, the annual Bergen Summer Research School was an online event — this time with special sessions on systems-thinking and innovative digital social activities.

Katja Enberg and Gabriella Ljungström, BSRS 2021
Scientfic Director BSRS 2021, Associate Professor Katja Enberg and postdoctoral fellow Gabriella Ljungström connecting with the PhD candidates in their course on sustainable development of life below water.
Eivind Senneset / UiB

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Bergen Summer Research School is an institution at the University of Bergen. When exams come to an end, libraries empty and quiet fills the corridors, then all of a sudden in mid-June, more than a hundred PhD candidates and guest lecturers from all over the world fill the halls of the Law faculty. 

But like last summer, the buzz of young researchers making new friends, exchanging ideas and presenting their research was only to be found in a headset in front of a computer screen.

“You would think that the world is a little fed up with digital meetings by now, but the overwhelming number of participants shows that the Bergen Summer Research School has something unique to offer”, says Associate Professor Katja Enberg from the Department of Biological Sciences.

Science and society towards the SDGs

Professor Enberg was the scientific director of this year’s summer school. She led a team of researchers from the University of Bergen, Norwegian School of Economics, and Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, who over the past year developed six parallel courses.

"I wanted to put together a broad variety of courses, and bring everyone together in special sessions on creative interdisciplinary problem-solving", says Professor Enberg.

The six courses focused on key global challenges, including reproductive health, the internationalisation of higher education, socio-economic inequality, psychological and social science perspectives on climate change, the sustainable development of life below water, and the governance of corruption.

Creative interdisciplinary problem-solving

"Traditional and disciplinary methods are not always sufficient in today's complex world. I think it is important to equip young researchers with problem-solving methods focused on research impact," says Professor Enberg. 

The participants spent most of their time in their respective courses, but also worked with a team from the research group on System Dynamics on problem-solving and challenge-driven innovation related to the sustainable development goals (SDG). 

"It is important to think about how we communicate and that we master collaborative and innovative methods, so I am very happy that Professor Birgit Kopainsky and her research group agreed to develop this series of special sessions". 

The new social normal

New this year was also a virtual UiB – a digital social platform built as a model of Bergen, with the main campus on Nygårdshøyden, Mount Fløyen and an artificial island just off the harbour. Here, the participants could explore parts of Bergen, meet and mingle, and check out the over 100 poster presentations. 

"It is hard to spend ten long days in front of the computer, so we wanted to create a place for informal networking and bring Bergen to the participants in form of an app. Here they can meet their collegues, explore parts of the city, study poster presentations or even hit the dance floor".