Bergen Summer Research School

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Course 1

The Economics and Politics of Global Agriculture and Trade


Course theme:

In this course we use internastional trade theory to discuss some of the main issues found in the overarching theme of BSRS 2013. In particular we deal with the issue of distributing food in environmentally and economically sustainable ways. Food can be a source of conflict, around tables as well as among nations. Globalization processes have consequences for how we solve these various challenges related to food production, and consumption at all scales and levels. This course requires knowledge which is contained in a bachelor degree in economics.

Course leaders:

Rolf Brunstad, Professor, Department of Economics, Norwegian School of Economics

Erling Vårdal, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.

Area of Expertise: Agricultural Economics, Trade theory

Invited keynote speakers:

David Blandford, Pennsylvania State University

Area of Expertise: Agricultural Economics, Trade theory

Course description and objectives:

Agriculture has for decades been a bone of contention in international trade and has been one of the main focal points in the last and the ongoing rounds of negotiations in the WTO. On one side we have industrialized nations eager to protect and support their own agriculture; on the other side we have nations with comparative advantage in agriculture, including many developing nations, who want freer markets for their products. While the present problems of hunger and malnutrition in the world are more questions of income distribution than of shortage, the sharp rise in food prices since 2005 may also hint to a future with more scarcity.

Full course description here (pdf) 

Course 2

Surf & Turf – Ecological Perspectives on Food Production from Marine and Terrestrial Systems 


Course theme:

The course combines the “Aquatic Food System” and “Biodiversity and Food Production” activities around the common theme of “Ecological perspectives on food production from marine and terrestrial systems”. Food production has a profound impact on terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and it is a major challenge to manage systems for both biodiversity and productivity. Rapid technological developments, consumer pressures, and issues of biological sustainability are important aspects of the business of producing food – and this leads to increasing demands for scientific expertise and advice for decision-makers. The most important issues apply in both terrestrial and aquatic systems: What is sustainability? What is the goal of management? Is the impact of intensive, efficient production better than the impact of extensive, low input production?

Course leaders:

Richard Telford, Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Bergen

Karin Pittman, Professory, Department of Biology, University of Bergen

Invited lecturers:

Dr. Peter Kareiva, The Nature Conservancy, USA

Emma Marris, Columbia, Missouri, USA

Professor Serge Garcia, former Director of FAO Fisheries Management Division

Dr. Ambekar E. Eknath, Director General of NACA, Director for the Central Institute for freshwater Aquaculture, India

Professor Patrick Sorgeloos, Artemia Reference Centre, Ghent University

Course description and objectives:

“Surf & Turf” takes a broad perspective in analyzing how food reaches our dinner plates. The chains of production, forms of management, food sources and nutritional value, long-term effects of early interventions, the use and proof of concept of intervention strategies like marine protected areas, and the links with consumers are all crucial component of the food systems, and will be explored through the course activities. A central theme in the course is understanding how biodiversity supports food production through ecosystem services. Conversely, food production has negative effects on biodiversity in both terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, both directly and through off-site pollution. Despite these common challenges, and conceptually similar management strategies to minimize damage, there are few opportunities for terrestrial and aquatic ecologists, and aquaculture and fisheries scientists to meet and discuss these linkages. With this course we want to create a meeting point for early career scientists and students to learn from each other and to better understand how food production systems affect natural populations and ecosystems: to share perspectives, solutions and methods used in different ecosystems, and to find common ground and general approaches to protect biodiversity in all systems. This course combines debates and discussions with international experts, with group activities and individual writing projects. 

The course objectives include:

1.      Assessing linkages among ecosystems and their effects on productivity

2.      Understanding a variety of approaches to producing and managing food, such as fisheries or intensive aquaculture,

3.      Learn basic methods for balancing protection vs use of land and aquatic resources

4.      Improve scientific writing and statistical skills

5.      Work together through panel discussions and group projects, interact with invited experts.


Full course description here(pdf)


The final programme can be downloaded here.


Course 3

The Global Food System


Course theme:

The course is aimed at providing an interdisciplinary approach to understanding the causes and consequences of the changing global food system, and to analyse and evaluate proposed policy interventions.

Course leader:

Associate Professor Peter Andersen

Invited lecturer:

Professor Julie Guthman

Division of Social Sciences, University of California, Santa Cruz


Associate Professor Peter Andersen

Professor Arnt Fløysand

Researcher Birgit Kopainsky

Postdoc Inger Elisabeth Måren

Associate Professor Ragnhild Overå

Postdoc Keshav P. Paudel

Professor Ole Reidar Vetaas

Department of Geography, UiB


Associate Professor Kari Loe Hjelle

Associate Professor Anne Karin Hufthammer

Bergen University Museum, UiB

Course description and objectives:

Viewing food in a global system perspective offers possibilities to analyze developments and linkages across spatial and temporal scales. It includes chains of production and consumption from soil, plant and livestock, water and fish, via transport, processing, marketing, purchase, food culture and to nutritional outcomes of food consumption. Changes within the system are linked to global environmental change, food policies, technology, expansion of corporate capital and neo-colonialism, farmers’ decision making, intellectual property rights, agro-biodiversity, cultural landscapes, demographic changes and changing metabolic rates, changing food skills, preferences and dietary patterns, creating concurrent situations of food insecurity and under-nutrition, and eating disorders, over-nutrition and obesity epidemics, in the global South as well as the global North. Food cultures, preferences and avoidances relate to economy, class, ethnicity, socialization and ethics, and are constantly challenged by trends and countertrends in global and local markets. This course seeks participants who are interested in setting their research case studies in a system perspective, being local or global.  

Full course description here (pdf)

The final programme can be downloaded here.

Course 4

Micronutrient Research for Global Health


Course theme:

The course deals with the long-term consequences of micronutrient deficiency on the health and the development of the individual and of society. Micronutrient deficiency may occur independently of any energy deficit and may therefore be ‘hidden’, and even be associated with overweight and obesity. Assessment issues of micronutrient research will also be part of the course.  

Course leaders:

Jutta Dierkes, Institute of Medicine, UiB

Grace Egeland, Lifestyle Epidemiology, UiB

Invited lecturer:

Shenggen Fan, Director General, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Washington DC, USA


Jutta Dierkes, Institute of Medicine, UiB

Grace Egeland, Lifestyle Epidemiology, UiB

Karen Marie Moland, Centre for International Health (CIH), UiB

Thorkild Tylleskär, Centre for International Health (CIH), UiB

Tor Strand, Centre for International Health (CIH), UiB

Catherine Kaulfuss, Centre for International Health (CIH), UiB


More information to follow. Preliminary course description here (pdf)