USP, University of Bergen seek collaboration

A delegation from the University of Bergen in Norway visited The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Laucala Campus in an effort to discuss future collaboration and partnership with USP on 1 November, 2016.

The team was led by Professor Dag Rune Olsen, Rector, University of Bergen (DRO) and comprised Professor Tore Furevik, Director of the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research; Professor Edvard Hviding, Director of the Bergen Pacific Studies Research Group; and Ms Nina B. Dahl, Studies Adviser in Anthropology

Professor Olsen stated that there are opportunities for further collaboration and expansion of the existing collaboration between the two universities.

He said while USP and the University of Bergen have already collaborated on issues like climate change adaptation and societal challenges related to climate change on a global perspective, he hoped this could be developed even more.

“An important factor in climate change is oceans and sea. And both USP and University of Bergen take a keen interest in marine sciences so it would be good if these two interests could be combined,” Professor Olsen said.

He said when it comes to climate change, University of Bergen have one of the very strongest research environments in the northern part of Europe.

“It is internationally known and we will continue to develop on that but we also see that in order to combat climate change we need to address the issue in a more holistic way meaning that we need to bring in the social sciences in psychology, economy and law for instance, and we need to engage much broadly,” Professor Olsen explained.

With regards to oceans and seas, he said marine activity has been a priority area at their university for many years but there is a need to engage internationally as some of these resources are managed globally along and have legal implications.

Professor Olsen added they always looked into the possibility of funding their activities or joint activities that they engage in.

“From our point of view, diversification of financing is important because it makes the university more robust in the sense that you can follow up on the boards decision to logics than if you rely on let’s say e-governmental priorities solely.”

He further suggested that the European Union (EU) is an extremely important source of research funds, which the University of Bergen is currently focusing on and would like to continue to do so.

Professor Rajesh Chandra, USP Vice-Chancellor and President said it was a pleasure to host the team adding that the interests of the University of Bergen and USP’s Strategic Plan objectives are closely aligned.

“On the student and staff exchange, we have some good experience to build on and we welcome that,” he said.

Professor Chandra said the two areas identified are both big issues particularly for oceans in terms of the interests of Governments to ensure there is proper assessment and valuation of marine resources and especially increasing the value that the region gets from its resources.

“EU is of course a major development partner for us and we are also exploring ways in being a lot more involved in projects under the EDF 11 programming as well as looking for opportunities in terms of harnessing a whole range of funding that EU makes available for inter-regional and global projects. So your comment about trying to focus on EU and trying to figure out how we can do that would also echo our own interests,” Professor Chandra noted.

Furthermore, he stated that research is a crucial element that USP USP is will to engage with the University of Bergen in sourcing external funding.

“We feel we will have the capacity and we should plan for ensuring that research outcomes can feed into public policy,” he added.

The team gave a public seminar later in the evening.        

Press Release