SESAM is a part of the University of South-Eastern Norway, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Department of Health, Social and Welfare Studies. However, the centre's activity is on an interdisciplinary basis, co-operating with the other faculties at USN, as well as other actors within our field of expertise, both nationally and abroad.

We make the promise to our collaborative partners and clients that we will focus on the following:   

  • To actively stimulate new and useful knowledge within an emerging field. 
  • To stimulate curiosity and critical reflection, and to share knowledge together with our clients and collaborative partners.
  • To contribute to creating a sustainable, vitalized welfare society that will create value and make all citizens feel they have a place in it.
  • To make use of recognized scientific research methods and to hold high ethical standards in our work. 

SESAM is a member of EMES, an international network of scientific researchers within the field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation.


SESAM is not an organization in itself, but benefits from its internal and external network when the centre in its projects and activities can bring in different professional resources (here represented by SESAM's advisory board).

Vision and strategy

SESAM shares its vision with the rest of USN; to be a regionally based, but internationally competitive entrepreneurial university.

Our mission is to unite research and praxis. - We live and learn together! 

In order to achieve this, our work is focused on the following strategic elements:

  1. Partnership and Networking
    SESAM works both in permanent and ad-hoc-based partnerships, with public departments, ministries, directorates, voluntary organizations, financial institutions and social entrepreneurs within our field. We also work with international partners, and often look for untraditional collaborative partners.
  2. Research
    SESAM aims to always be involved in concrete, praxis-oriented research projects that focus on increasing the understanding of entrepreneurship and innovation within the future changes of the Nordic welfare state. We supervise MSc and PhD students, and continuously work actively to attain more knowledge.
  3. Regional, national and international development projects
    SESAM aims to be an active part, both as an initiator and a participant in projects based on research, development and innovation. In such projects, we seek to fill the role of a knowledge-based collaborative partner. 
  4. Dissemination, education and information work.
    SESAM aims to contribute to social innovation within municipalities by offering continuing education for relevant employees, disseminating relevant research news and participating with features at confernces etc. 

The university's regular bachelor's and master’s programmes are managed outside of SESAM. 

SESAM's Advisory Board

SESAM is a research centre organized within USN's regular structure for faculties and departments. Therefore, it does not have a traditional board of its own, but still has the need of receiving strategic observations from the outside, especially focusing on how SESAM positions itself. This need has been attended to by establishing an advisory board. 


Viser alle 8 medlemmer av SESAMs advisory board

SESAM's advisory board consists of: 

Top, left to right:

  • Professor Lars Hulgård (RUC) as leader
  • Katinka Greve Leiner, director of Ferd Sosiale Entreprenører (Ferd Social Entrepreneurs)
  • Lars Bjerke, counsellor at Asker kommune (municipality)
  • Bård Stranheim, "chief of entrepreneuring" at Innovasjon Norge (Innovation Norway).

Bottom, left to right:

  • Ole Loe Andersen, responsible for FRI at Kirkens Bymisjon (The Church City Mission)
  • Sandrina Sandell, founder and CEO of Løvetannakademiet ("Dandelion academy"), former student of child welfare at USN (HiT) and student-business participant
  • Professor Halvard Vike, USN – academic leader at SESAM
  • Lars U. Kobro, CEO of SESAM


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About SESAM - the people

SESAM is not an organization, and therefore doesn't have its own staff. Resource personell comes and goes in and out of the centre's projects, and make up a changing team of researchers as new projects are started and others are ended. The university's administrative apparatus manages SESAM's different regular tasks according to USN routines. 

However, the centre has a CEO, an academic leader and a contract researcher, who takes care of SESAM's ongoing commitments both internally and externally, ensuring quality is maintained.


  • Lars Ueland Kobro, CEO/senior researcher: Political scientist who has broad experience from innovation and entrepreneurial work, within the private, voluntary and public sector. 
  • Halvard Vike, professor, academic leader: Social anthropologist who specializes in the development and transformation of the welfare state. 
  • Anne Merete Bjørnerud is responsible for projects and processes the centre is involved in together with collaborative municipalities. She is a physiotherapist with a master's degree in public health from Nordiska Högskolan in Göteborg (Nordic University College of Gothenburg). Anne Merete has many years of experience as a leader of several co-creative processes and an inter-municipal service, which has involved a high level of user participation. She also has experience as a project developer in social entrepreneurship, with processes of change within NAV, with voluntary work, and from Selvhjelp Norge (Anne Merete har erfaring som prosjektutvikler i sosialt entreprenørskap, med endringsprosesser i NAV, frivillig arbeid og fra Selvhjelp Norge (Self-help Norway, a foundation).