A sustainable social development - reflected in the UN’s 17 sustainability goals - depends on our ability to constantly find new solutions to the challenges society faces. This requires high-quality research through collaboration between academia and the rest of society.
Knowledge to meet the major challenges related to climate, energy, green value creation, social inequality, democracies and human rights, and the sustainability of the welfare state often lies at the intersection of different social sectors, but also at the intersection of different scientific disciplines.
As an academic institution, USNs can and should take an active role in contributing to sustainable social development.
Based on this, USN has established five institutional strategic research areas, which are built on a so-called mission thinking (called “samfunnsoppdrag” in Norwegian).
Missions refer to ambitious, measurable, and time-bound goals to solve major societal challenges that affect most people. Missions involve the development of new and groundbreaking knowledge through interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral initiatives that facilitate rapid and knowledge-based transformation of society and working life within the framework of the sustainability goals.
According to the EU, major societal challenges must be addressed in new and innovative ways, and be based on a bottom-up approach anchored in research and innovation across disciplines, scientific fields, and sectors, as well as participation from businesses and local communities, i.e. users of the knowledge to be generated.
All of our five focus areas are based on this thinking and on the UN’s sustainability goals, and they have a good overlap between the major societal challenges, regional development opportunities, and USN’s academic strengths.