Meeting grand challenges together: actionable knowledge through collaboration in research and innovation

The complexity and urgency of the challenges facing the world today call for new approaches and relationships in knowledge production.


26. April.

Time: 09:00 - 16:30


The conference will explore collaboration across sectors to bring forth knowledge that is actionable and relevant for solving pressing issues.  Academia and other actors in society need to jointly identify challenges and questions that are societally urgent and academically relevant, critically examine our different roles in knowledge production and the tools and frameworks that can enable meaningful cross-sectorial collaboration for actionable knowledge. Finally, we need to reflect on whose voices are included in defining the challenges and as sources of knowledge and wisdom and how we might broaden the debate. By convening a dialogue between academia and public and private actors, the conference aims to take stock of lessons learnt so far and bring forth insights on how we might create viable collaborative partnerships in the future.


09.00 Opening

09.15 Keynote - Complexity, ungency and the imperative to collaborate

Jeroen van der Sluijs Professor at the Centre for the Study of the Science and the HumanitiesUniversity of Bergen.

9:45 Group work reflecting on the questions to be discussed in the following roundtable sessions10:15 Roundtable 1 - Taking stock: what have we learnt in the last decades of collaboration and stakeholder engagement in research and innovation?

This roundtable discussion will explore experiences with collaboration and stakeholder engagement in research and innovation for actionable knowledge, and findings from research on such processes. We will discuss lessons learnt from previous projects in order to identify barriers and opportunities for meaningful collaboration in research. The panellists will reflect on when, from their various perspectives, it is relevant and beneficial to engage in collaborative knowledge production ventures.


Siri Gloppen Professor and Director at the Centre on Law & Social Transformation, University of Bergen


Stina E. Oseland Director of the Climate Agency, Bergen Municipality

Marieke van Haaren Coordinator of the project Learning with the City, Leiden University, The Netherlands

Brooke E Wilkerson PhD fellow at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation, University of Bergen.

11:15 Coffee Break

11:30  Roundtable 2 - Roles and knowledge needs: what knowledge is needed to meet the challenges of our time and how can we build on our respective strengths?

Is there a tension between what is societally and academically relevant and urgent, and, if so, how might we navigate different needs also in situations that are not necessarily characterised by win-win? This roundtable will examine which questions and types of knowledge that should be the focus on cross-sector collaboration. Which knowledge needs are better met in-house and in which instances would collaboration with universities be meaningful? The panelists will examine the roles of different actors in producing actionable knowledge, and reflect on how to approach the power asymmetries between different partners and stakeholders that are involved in collaborative knowledge production.


Scott Bremer Researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities, University of Bergen


Nicole Klenk Associate professor and Co-director of the Environmental Science in Society Lab, University of Toronto, Canada

Anna Steynor Senior Climate Services Scientist at the Met Office, UK

Maud Borie Lecturer in Environment, Science & Society and convenor of the Political Ecology, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (PEBES) research group, Department of Geography, King's College London, UK

12:30 Lunch

13:30 Roundtable 3 - Reaching out: how can we broaden the range of actors/perspectives involved in co-producing knowledge?

Collaborative projects between academia and other sectors of society are usually limited to formal, institutional actors. How does this affect the co-production of knowledge and how societies navigate grand challenges? Is there a risk of narrowing the debate or reinforcing the agendas of powerful actors? The session will examine practical opportunities to broaden the range of actors and perspectives engaged in the creation of actionable knowledge.


Håvard Haarstad Professor and Director of the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation, University of Bergen


Esperanza Diaz Professor and Director of the Pandemic Centre, University of Bergen

Christine Jacobsen Professor of Social Anthropology at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Research, University of Bergen

Simon Neby Professor at the Centre for Climate and Energy Transformation, University of Bergen

14:30 Roundtable 4 - Institutionalising collaboration for actionable knowledge: from projects to partnerships

Collaborative knowledge production tends to be organised as relatively short-term projects. How does this influence the types of engagement that is possible? When might longer-term partnerships be more relevant? This session will examine how we can institutionalise cross-sectorial collaboration for actionable knowledge short- and long term. What types of institutional support are needed from universities and other societal actors?


Christoph Trattner Professor and Director of MediaFutures: Research Centre for Responsible Media Technology and Innovation, University of Bergen


Gunn Mangerud Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, University of Bergen

Helge O. Svela CEO of Media City Bergen.

Torleif Markussen Lunde Director of the Eitri Medical Incubator, VIS and University of Bergen

15:30 Group work reflecting on recommendations

16:00 Concluding plenary session: Recommendations

16:30 End of conference


Kulturhuset i Bergen
Vaskerelven 8
5014 Bergen