BSRS: Ten years of global challenges
For a decade, the Bergen Summer Research School (BSRS) has engaged PhD candidates from all over the world in discussions about the global challenges facing the world.
The anniversary was celebrated with previous participants, course leaders and representatives of the five partner institutions.The driving force behind BSRS, Professor Kjersti Fløttum, was happy to point out that the Bergen Summer Research School is standing stronger than ever within the large academic milieu of Bergen.
“Global Development Challenges has been the theme of BSRS since its start in 2008, and there is now pressure from above to integrate the Sustainable Development Goals into all activities at the university,” said Professor Fløttum. “We will see more of this in the future.”
At the University of Bergen, ‘global challenges’ is one of three prioritised areas for research.
“The Summer Research School is a tool for fostering research collaboration, and a catalyst for new research projects. This has led to concrete project initiatives. Also, spending two weeks with the international groups at BSRS provides a real pleasure in driving one’s own research forward,” says Erik Sandquist, Research Coordinator at Uni Research Climate.
Since its start in 2008, BSRS has received 836 PhD candidates from 43 countries for a total of 58 courses. Researchers from the Chr Michelsen Institute, Uni Research, NHH Norwegian School of Economics, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, and UiB, all take part in this joint venture to take on some of the most pressing challenges facing us all.
“BSRS has a fantastic network that spans more that forty nations. When I travel in Asia or Africa, I often meet people who attended BSRS — people who now are in leading positions within research or national administration,” says Tore Sæterdal, deputy director of Global Challenges at UiB.
Bjørn Einar Aas, who has a special responsibility for internationalisation at the Division of Research Administration, sees BSRS as one of the most important internationalisation efforts in research at UiB. "This builds valuable alumni resources for all the partners," he said. "But the fact that 51 young Norwegian researchers have taken part of this large initiative, is an example of the University's effort to promote actively in global knowledge development at home and abroad.
Hidden gem within
Professor Ingunn Engebretsen thinks the hidden gem of the Summer Research School is the essay that the participants have to write. “It provides us with a unique opportunity to receive feedback on thoughts participants perhaps have not had the opportunity to share before. It is through such feedback that students and teachers really learn,” she says.
Professor Engebretsen participated on one of the courses as a PhD candidate in 2008, and recently as a course leader through UiB’s Centre for International Health.