Background and activities

Project affiliations:

HAVANSVAR Humanities Ocean Initiative – NTNU Oceans Pilot on Ethical, Social and Cultural aspects of Ocean Research and Innovation. https://www.ntnu.edu/oceans/havansvar

"The high seas and the deep oceans: Representations, resources and regulatory governance" (3ROceans). 3roceans project at NTNU. https://www.ntnu.edu/3roceans

PhD project: Norwegian aquaculture research ca. 1970-1995

The project will examine the establishment of aquaculture research in a Norwegian context, during the formative period from the beginnings of the present-day salmon farming industry to the formation of the Research Council of Norway (RCN) in 1993. The establishment of this single funding body ended a period in which state-sponsored Norwegian had been divided along sectoral and disciplinary lines, divisions which aquaculture had straddled and challenged in a number of ways.

Norwegian aquaculture provides an interesting object of research in a history of science perspective for a number of reasons. Fish farming, by contrast to conventional fisheries, requires in-depth knowledge of a variety of physiological and biological traits of the fish, as well as traditionally agricultural topics, such as feeding and veterinary care. These diverse requirements forced cooperation between previously unrelated institutions, disciplines and groups of researchers in the Norwegian research landscape.

Further, while the present industry is technologically and scientifically intensive, the industry also drew and indeed continues to draw heavily on practical experience. The hands-on experience of the “pioneers,” a key part of the founding myth of Norwegian aquaculture, has repeatedly been at odds with expert knowledge and expert judgment, in a variety of contexts.

Finally, early regulations restricted the size of individual companies in a bid to establish fish farming as an owner-operated industry with strong local ties. While the economic and regulatory repercussions of these ambitions have received at least some scholarly recognition, they also played an important role in increasing the relative importance of state-funded research.

Research interests

History of science and technology, environmental history, history of knowledge, history of ideas, aquaculture, the Blue Revolution, expertise, research and innovation