The UiB Magazine 2018/2019

The UiB Magazine 2018/2019

The UiB Magazine 2018/2019 is out now. Read about the launch of UiB-technology to the International Space Station, medical breakthroughs, climate research in front, students at the heart of the industry in Media City Bergen, and much more.

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The UiB Magazine is an annual research and education magazine at the University of Bergen. The following are some of the articles you can read in this years magazine. The UiB Magazine 2018/2019 can also be read online here.

Island nations could disappear due to climate change

The project Mare Nullius? Sea-Level Rise and Maritime Sovereignties in the Pacific – An Expanded Anthropology of Climate Change has been developed over many years by Professor Edvard Hviding of the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bergen (UiB).

Marovo Lagoon, Salomon Islands
Edvard Hviding

Marovo Lagoon of Solomon Islands, with one of the world's largest and richest coral reefs and the place where Professor Edvard Hviding embarked on his research career.



The Mare Nullius project poses some uncomfortable questions about the condition of our globe: What happens when entire nations stand to disappear from climate change and rising sea levels, a scenario faced by several low-lying Pacific Island countries? What status is accorded to those who have to leave islands that are no longer inhabitable? And, what is the fate of the 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs) of island states when the land upon which maritime boundaries are based is inundated by a rising sea? 

Potential Parkinson’s breakthrough

Using data gathered from 100 million Norwegian prescriptions, researchers at the University of Bergen have found that asthma medicine can halve a patient’s risk of developing Parkinson´s disease.

Illustration asthma
Margareth Haugen


Researchers at the Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care (IGS) at the University of Bergen have completed a large study that included data from the Norwegian Prescription Database, in cooperation with researchers at Harvard University.

 “Our discoveries may be the start of a totally new possible treatment for this serious disease. We expect that clinical studies will follow these discoveries”, says  Professor Trond Riise at IGS.

Hunting mystery lightning from space

2nd of April 2018 was a historic day for the University of Bergen. After 14 years of planning, developing and building, technology from the Birkeland Centre for Space Science (BCSS) was to be launched to the International Space Station. Its mission; to learn what happens in the atmosphere when lightning strikes earth.

To see the SpaceX-rocket well off, a small group of engineers and scientists traveled from Bergen to Florida to observe the launch from Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX-launch - 360

360-degree video from Cape Canaveral, Florida: the launch of the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft with UiB technology on board.

A new view of evolution

New discoveries from the University of Bergen can knock a hundred years old hypothesis on the evolution of the nervous system off its perch.

Andreas Hejnol
Eivind Senneset

Andreas Hejnol believes the finds will change the field of evolutional biology.

Andreas Hejnol, researcher at the Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology at the University of Bergen has headed the investigation, which concludes seven years of research. He believes the finds will change the field of evolutional biology.

“The researchers who have believed in the hypothesis of inversion will be shocked, and sad, perhaps. The majority of the researchers in the field will be happy, on the other hand. The hypothesis has been disputed, but our article is strong enough to put it to rest,” Hejnol says.

Small electrical shocks give healthier brains

Researcher Marco André Hirnstein at the Faculty of Psychology uses brain stimulating devices to treat stroke or depression. The devices are also used to treat people who hear voices, such as patients with schizophrenia. In addition, the researcher helps surgeons at Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen in preparation for operations on brain tumours.  

Eivind Senneset

“It is highly satisfying to be a researcher and to be able to apply basic research directly in the treatment of patients,” says a dedicated Hirnstein.

Cleaning spray may harm lung function

Cleaning spray may harm lung function


Cleaners who have regularly used cleaning sprays over 20 years were found to have reduced lung function equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day over the same period, a UiB-study shows.

PHD-candidate Øistein Svanes, at the Department of Clinical Science, at the University of Bergen is main author of the study. He says his findings might not be surprising, when thinking about all the small particles that follow with cleaning products.The study also shows that cleaners have 40 per cent higher risk of developing asthma than others. The research includes 6 000 participants, based on the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS).

Fighting child mortality in Uganda

Fighting child mortality in Uganda
Kim E. Andreassen

The projects are a part of the work at Centre for Intervention Science in Maternal and Child Health (CISMAC) at UiB.


Every year, in low- and middle-income countries, as many as 6 million children die before their 5th birthday. In addition, 300 000 mothers also die.

“Most of these mothers and children die from diseases, which are usually easy to cure and can be prevented by simple means in the rich parts of the world,” says Professor Victoria Nankabirwa, at Makerere University and University of Bergen. She is currently leading two projects at Centre for Intervention Science in Maternal and Child Health (CISMAC). The centre is a Norwegian Centre of Excellence (SFF) of The Research Council of Norway.

In the projects, she is testing and comparing non-complex interventions, with the aim of reducing child mortality in Uganda. The results may have impacts globally.

Studying at the heart of the industry

From the new facilities in Media City Ber­gen, the University of Bergen now offers six new studies – three bachelor’s programs and three master’s programs – in journal­ism, television production and media and interaction design. Here, about 200 students are studying alongside industry companies like NRK, BA, TV2, BT and Vizrt.

Media City Bergen
Eivind Senneset

Ellen Eriksen is studying the first year of the bachelor programme in journalism at UiB.

The co-location of media companies, technology companies, research and education makes the media cluster unique.

Students get access to the latest technical equipment, and learn to use the tools the industry is using. They will also help de­velop new tools and solutions for the media industry. All study programmes are practically oriented and includes collaboration with, and practice at, the cluster companies.

The UiB Magazine interview: Bruce Kapferer

With the pioneering Egalitarianism project, Professor Bruce Kapferer wanted to challenge conventions in anthropology and to redefine how inequality is viewed.

Professor Bruce Kapferer
Andy Lewis

GLOBAL VISIONARY. Professor of anthropology, Bruce Kapferer, has built partnerships with major universities in the US, Europe, Australia, Africa, India and the Middle East as part of the Egalitarianism project.

The question of inequality within societies and the nature of egalitarian processes overcoming them was at the heart of his concerns when he was awarded an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Fittingly the project, which kicked off in June 2014 and concludes in June 2019, is called Egalitarianism: Forms, Processes, Comparisons.

Understanding the data that surrounds us

Digital traces are all around us. At SLATE, researchers works to understand digital data, and to put it to use for new ways of understanding and supporting learning.

SLATE: Understanding the data that surrounds us
Illustration: Margareth Haugen

“The data tells a story. However, it needs interpretation. At SLATE, we help understand the data", says SLATE director Barbara Wasson.

“We collect and analyse data generated from learning while it happens, in order to understand different aspects of the learner, learning, and learning environments. The results are visualized for learners and teachers”, says SLATE director Barbara Wasson

Researcher to watch: Hans Christian Steen-Larsen


Hans Christian Steen-Larsen


Climate researcher Hans Christian Steen-Larsen has for many years explored some of the most extreme environments on Earth, in his search to improve our climate models. If he succeeds with his new ERC-project, it will have great impact on todays climate research.

A major question for the five-year run of the project, is if it is possible to analyze so-called isotopes from ice cores to create a better understanding of past climate variations and therefore better climate models.

"I have an holistic approach, and aim to combine climate models with climate research on ice cores", he says, adding: "When SNOWISO ends in five years, I hope to have built brigdes between the analysis of isotopes in ice cores and climate modeling. To present new ways to understand climate, and climate dynamics".