37 postdocs positions are to be filled within the next two years (Photo © SEAS/UiB)

“Marine sustainability is crucial”

With food security and energy sustainability becoming increasingly vital, many are turning to the ocean for solutions. To this end, the University of Bergen announced open postdoctoral positions for their new Shaping European Research Leaders for Marine Sustainability (SEAS) project.

The SEAS project will serve as a “career and mobility fellowship programme”, offering 37 postdoctoral positions in ocean-related research fields. It aims to shape these postdoctoral candidates into future research leaders within academia, the public sector, and private institutions. These postdoctoral positions are to be filled within the next two years – 18 positions in 2021, 19 positions in 2022.

Invest in Bergen sat down with Marine Director and SEAS Programme Coordinator, Amund Maage, to learn more about the project.

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Invest in Bergen: “What are the aims of the SEAS project?”

Amund Maage: “The whole world is looking more and more to the ocean to solve some of the current problems we have with food security, energy sustainability and environmental protection. Our part in this is to take the highest level in our education system, the postdoctoral (or postdoc) positions, and develop an EU-funded project. This would add on to our postdoc community and contribute to the UN’s SDG 14 (the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, where goal #14 pertains to ocean conservation and sustainability).”


Amund Maage, SEAS Programme Coordinator (Photo © UiB)

IIB: “The listed postdoctoral positions are quite diverse. Why is that?”

AM: “This is because we are taking a holistic approach to ocean sustainability. This means that the research fields are quite broad. For example, one of the postdoc positions involves studying the relationship between the ocean and human evolution. This will combine history with archaeology and involve SAPIENCE, the university’s Centre for Early Sapiens Behaviour, which studies human evolution. Another postdoc position will study fish health. Even though this sounds very specific, it ties into Greater Bergen’s aquaculture industry.
One thing to note is that the university is involved in the Ocean Capital Bergen project, aimed at strengthening the region as a global centre for marine education, research and innovation. So, we see a high presence and potential for large areas of cross-over.

IIB: “Outside of marine sustainability, could this project and its potential research outcomes impact other fields?”

AM: “Yes. Firstly, these postdocs will work on either new or ongoing academic projects. These will involve specific research areas that they will no doubt contribute to. Secondly, we will be able to develop research leaders through the advanced training of our post-doc cohort, who will go on to lead their own research in academia, government or the private sector.”

IIB: “Could the SEAS project influence other academic, public or private institutions in the region or country?”

AM: “When we drew up the application for this whole project, we knew that local support within the region would be crucial. So, we reached out to quite a few governmental and private organizations, asking if they wished to support this project. They were very supportive. So, we believe that these postdocs will have the opportunity to interact with these governmental and private institutions, both large and small. This could be during their three-year period with the university, or it could even lead to them being recruited by these organizations.”

Read more about SEAS and the open postdoctoral positions


IIB: “Aside from strengthening the region’s position as a global centre for marine research, how will this project benefit the University and region overall?”

AM: “I believe announcing calls for these positions, and the overall project will provide Bergen with an opportunity to be reaffirmed and acknowledged as a centre for ocean research. This will increase the drive to focus more on our region because we will be in a position to produce the best research and candidates in these fields.”

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