The activities covered by the professorship will have both a thematic and methodological focus. The main thematic input will be linked to the field of “environmental governance”, with a strong emphasis on the relationship between the environment and development. In terms of methodology, the focus will be on adopting an interdisciplinary approach. The aim will be to continue to develop expertise on the interaction between social/political processes in naturally existing systems. Within this broad framework there will be a particular focus on how conditions can be created in order to change attitudes in a more environmentally friendly direction.

Activities within the four main thematic subject areas:

a)  Climate politics
Empirical and theoretical research directed towards initiatives and measures to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The point of departure for this research is directly linked to measures/
institutional conditions aimed at reducing deforestation in the southern hemisphere.

b) Institutions and behaviour
Problems associated with achieving environmental goals and sustainable development lead to changes in behaviour. Two newly established projects financed by the Research Council of Norway hope to direct focus towards what motivates people to adopt an environmentally friendly mode of behaviour and how changes in institutional conditions can create a framework for increased environmental involvement.

c) Health and development
Professor Arild Vatn is a member of UMB’s research group for health and development. The plan is to develop two types of involvement within this framework. One is to increase the focus on political and cultural aspects of health and development. The other is to engage in concrete research within water and sanitary policy with a postdoctoral candidate.

d) Environmental governance
Work on a synthesis linked to the need for institutional reform to promote sustainable development. The areas of research mentioned in points a) – c) are all interdisciplinary. It is necessary to exploit the experience gained from this type of research in order to develop models and syntheses for the implementation of interdisciplinary research.


Thor Heyerdahl professorship - Activities for Arild Vatn
August 2011 – August 2012  

Thor Heyerdahl professorship - Activities for Arild Vatn
August 2010 – August 2011  Download pdf here

Thor Heyerdahl professorship - Activities for Arild Vatn
August 2009 – August 2010  Download pdf here

Thor Heyerdahl professorship - Activities for Arild Vatn
August 2008 – August 2009  Download pdf here 

The Thor Heyerdahl Summer School in Enviromental Governance 2011
Download pdf here

Evaluation of Thor Heyerdahl International Summer School 2011
Download pdf here