Bergen Summer Research School
Interdisciplinary sessions | BSRS 2022

Systems thinking, creative problem-solving and project management

These interdisciplinary sessions will equip summer school participants with problem-solving methods that facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration with a strong focus on research impact.

Main content

Birgit Kopainsky, Professor in System Dynamics, Department of Geography, UiB.
Ingunn Johanne Ness, Senior Researcher & Cluster Leader, Centre for the Science of Learning & Technology (SLATE), UiB.
Hiwa Målen, Senior Advisor at the Division of Research and Innovation, UiB

The purpose of the interdisciplinary sessions is to equip summer school participants with problem-solving methods that facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration with a strong focus on research impact. This will be achieved by working concretely with challenge-driven innovation related to sustainable development goals (SDGs), in teams consisting of summer school participants with varied disciplinary backgrounds. 

The interdisciplinary sessions combine theory and application:  

  • Theoretical part: systems thinking, creative problem-solving and project management. 
  • Practical part: work in interdisciplinary teams using the methods for solving concrete sustainable development challenges.

Learning outcomes

Express knowledge and understanding

  • Participants have an overview of the most frequently used methods in systems thinking and creative problem-solving.  

Apply knowledge and understanding

  • Participants can apply those tools that are appropriate for the innovation challenge.  
  • Participants can identify appropriate boundaries for the challenge. 


  • Participants can adopt a problem owner’s perspective to effectively summarise the challenge, describe the methods for solving that challenge and the implications of the proposed solutions.  

Learning skillsParticipants are able to:

  • organise efficient and effective communication within interdisciplinary teams
  • engage in the co-creation process

Birgit Kopainsky is professor in System Dynamics at the University of Bergen. She holds a PhD in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in Geography and Environmental Studies. Her research explores the role that system dynamics can play in facilitating transformation processes in social-ecological systems such as the transformation towards sustainable and resilient agri-food systems. She conducts and supervises research both in Europe and in developing countries.

Ingunn Johanne Ness is a senior researcher and Cluster Leader at the Centre for the Science of Learning & Technology (SLATE). She has a PhD from the University of Bergen and a postdoc from SLATE. Ness leads the innovative research futures efforts in SLATE and carries out research on interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation, creativity, and leadership. Ness has a particular interest for the sociocultural approach and works with the world’s leading environments on sociocultural theory, the OSAT group at the University of Oxford and Webster Center for Creativity and Innovation. In addition, Ness collaborates with business such as Equinor.

Hiwa Målen is senior advisor at the Division of Research and Innovation at UiB. Målen holds a master’s and PhD degree in molecular biology from the University of Bergen, Norway. In addition to his researcher background, Hiwa Målen has extensive project management expertise as a project manager in the private sector, with responsibility for project portfolios covering maintenance & modification on the North Sea energy extraction installations. I 2015, the Leadership Foundation in Norway selected Målen as one of the Top10 role models in Norway for outstanding contributions to Norwegian business and society.