Interdisciplinary PhD course in Marine Sustainability

until Mar 6, 2017
Bodø - The Hurtigruten - Tromsø

Future Earth Norway, Nord University, Nordland Research Institute, and UiT The Arctic University of Norway invite PhD students working in fields relevant to healthy oceans and the sustainable utilization of resources to a week-long interdisciplinary PhD course in marine sustainability.

We start in Bodø for a few days,  then board the Hurtigruten for a night with some stops along the way in the Lofoten Islands. The last few days will be in Tromsø. Along the way there will be lectures, 2 side events in Bodø and Tromsø, stakeholder dialogues, training in conducting stakeholder dialogues, and group work sessions.

Participants will improve their understanding across disciplinary boundaries and explore ideas and research methodologies around pathways to the sustainable use of the ocean under global change. Leading lecturers will support participants to better integrate knowledge from the natural and social sciences into their research, and side events, stakeholder dialogues and practical training in co-production will equip participants to integrate different perspectives into their work.

Course dates: 27 February – 5 March 2017
27 February to 1 March: Nord University, Bodø
1 to 2 March: The Hurtigruten - Bodø to Tromsø
2 to 5 March: UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø
Course credits: 10 points (ECTS) from the UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Limitations: 20-25 participants
Organizers: Future Earth Norway, Nord University, Nordland Research Institute, and UiT The Arctic University of Norway










The oceans and seas are of vital importance for nature and human life. Decades of research underlines the importance of the oceans for the climate on Earth, and also how changes in the climate can affect ecosystems and impact the human activities that rely on access to oceans. Climate change adds a new pressure to the diverse environmental problems already caused by increased and diversified human use.

This course is designed in response to increasing calls from the marine and coastal research communities for the integration of different perspectives; it will integrate knowledge from the natural and social sciences and also give participants the skills to better integrate stakeholder perspectives into their research.

From the natural science perspective, participants will learn about the ocean´s role in regulating nature, with a particular emphasis on climate change, and its essential role as a life support system for humans. The focus will particularly be on the current situation, but also how oceans have developed and the prospects for dramatic changes in the future.

The social science perspective will present how humans interact with the ocean. For example how the human use of the sea has changed with modernization and recent globalization processes, and how changes in use have triggered the development of regulations and new institutions which either aim to improve marine sustainability or achieve societal goals.

Co-production and co-design are vital tools for carrying out research that is socially relevant and solutions oriented. Frameworks for conducting co-design and co-production of new knowledge with policy makers, businesses, civil society, and other stakeholder groups to support sustainable ocean development will be covered and participants will apply these skills in a series of interactions with societal actors from the local area.

A major aim, is to study how an integrated analysis of the complex interactions in nature, society and governance can lead to better governance of and services from the ocean. Participants will discuss and generate new understanding into the complex problems associated with climate change, ocean acidification, biodiversity loss, marine resource management, food and energy provision, and other issues relevant to the protection, management and sustainability of marine ecosystems.

Target participants

This course is for PhD students who are exploring ideas and research methodologies for pathways to the sustainable use of the ocean under climate change and want to improve their understanding of the oceans across academic disciplines and develop their skills to co-produce and co-design research with societal actors.

Highly-motivated PhD students working in any field relevant to healthy oceans and the sustainable utilization of their resources, both from the natural and social sciences (including law, humanities, business and economics) are invited to apply. The course will accommodate 20-25 international participants, ensuring scientific quality, geographical diversity and gender balance.

Objectives and outcomes

Five critical questions in solutions-oriented marine sustainability research will be addressed:

  1. How can ocean sustainability be brought about and what role does research play?
  2. What are the key links/interactions between the social and natural sciences that might affect ocean sustainability?
  3. How could society develop to manage and utilize the ocean and its resources sustainably under climate change?
  4. What are the key knowledge gaps about the marine and the social systems related to marine sustainability?
  5. What methodologies are urgently needed to address and fill the knowledge gaps?

After the course, the students will have achieved the following learning outcomes:


The student will obtain knowledge at an advanced level on:

  • the oceans as life support systems and the factors that increase the pressure on marine environment and sustainability 
  • the extent that regulations and governance structures at different levels are sufficient tools to secure sustainable development in the marine environment and society
  • working with stakeholders to develop solutions-oriented research questions and solutions


The student will be able to:

  • carry out cutting-edge analyses of the strengths and shortcomings of the models used in the governance of marine resources
  • apply co-production and co-design frameworks with societal actors, if relevant to their work


The students will develop competence in integrated science and the ability to work with researchers from different disciplines. In addition, through guided interactions with stakeholders throughout the course, students will learn and experience ways of applying co-production and co-design techniques in their work.

Course format

The course will be built on 10 lecturers (approximately 25 hours) around three integrated themes (subject to change):

Theme 1: The Ocean as a Life Support System

Session 1: One planet, one ocean
Session 2: Global changes – risks and vulnerabilities
Session 3: Marine biogeochemical cycles/ecosystems and global change

Theme 2: The Blue Economy

Session 4: Harvesting the ocean
Session 5: Moving from harvesting to production – trends

Theme 3: The Ocean and Society

Session 6: Livelihoods, identity and well-being
Session 7: Responses to climate change: Adaptation and mitigation
Session 8: The Hot Arctic
Session 9: Governing oceans
Session 10: Moving from research to solutions and implementation

Invited lecturers include: Thorsten Kiefer (Future Earth), Grete Hovelsrud, Svein Sundby, Berit Kristoffersen, Scott Bremer, Ingrid Bay-Larsen, Torstein Kristensen, Svein Jentoft

In addition to lectures, field trips, side events and stakeholder dialogues will create space for transdisciplinary dialogue across and beyond academic disciplines, enable vibrant conversation, ensure maximum exposure to different perspectives, and allow new ideas and collaborations to emerge. The following additional activities are planned:

  • Training session on co-production and co-design
  • Stakeholder dialogue with local community representatives on board the Hurtigruten
  • Field trip to Mørkvedbukta Research Station, Bodø
  • Side events with local community representatives in Bodø and Tromsø
  • Discussions and group work among the participants
  • Drafting a paper(s) for publishing

All activities will be in English.


There will be a small course fee of 4,000 NOK (ca. 450 euros) payable upon acceptance into the course. Among other expenses, this includes accommodation (in twin rooms) and the following meals:

  • Bodø: Breakfast with accommodation, lunch and dinner
  • Hurtigruten: All main meals except beverages
  • Tromsø: Breakfast with accommodation and a course dinner

Other meals and some beverages will need to be paid for by participants.

Note: Participants will need to arrange their own travel into Bodø and out of Tromsø. There will be some bus ticket costs in Bodø and Tromsø too.

Application procedure

Numbers are limited to 20-25 students. Learn more about the assessment, admission requirements and how to register at:

In addition to completing the registration, applicants are asked to provide a short (1-2 page) presentation of themselves and their research interest.

1st December 2016 for PhD candidates outside the UiT The Arctic University of Norway
10th January 2017 for PhD candidates at UiT The Arctic University of Norway

Timeline: The course organizers will review the applications. The selection of participants will be based on scientific quality and the perspective that the student can bring to the discussion. Applicants will be notified in early-mid January 2017 if they are successful. Payment will be required within 14 days.

Queries can be directed to:

Leonie Goodwin
Project Assistant
Future Earth Norway
Mobile: +47 960 17 446





Hans-Kristian Hernes and Magnus Kleppe Lyngra , UiT The Arctic University of Norway
Julia Olsen, Nord University and Nordlandsforskning
Leonie Goodwin, Project Coordinator, Future Earth Norway