1st Virtual CET-lunch: #LoVeSeSDG

As fate had it, I became the first to have the opportunity to have a forced Virtual CET lunch seminar March 18, 2020. A type of corona-christening, if you will. I presented our on-going work in the #LoVeSeSDG project: Challenges of the Science-Policy interface of Localizing the SDGs: Our #LoVeSeSDG case “From Whales to Rockets” in Andøy Muncipality, Vesterålen, Norway. Instead of applause, I got digital clapping in the form of some nice tweets 🙂

You can view my Prezi presentation here:


Northeast Atlantic Mackerel quota & assessment debate

Kva gjev vi råd om? A Transdisciplinary analysis of the NEA mackerel advice system: Suggestions for a responsible way forward

Link to Prezi presentation:

Relevant Bio:

Dorothy J. Dankel, PhD is a permanent researcher in Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) in Marine Science at the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Bergen. Dorothy completed her PhD in 2009 (Dankert Skagen, Øyvind Ulltang and Mikko Heino as supervisors) after 3 years at IMR in the Pelagic Fish department. She also completed a post-doc in the ADMAR strategic institute program led by Olav Kjesbu. In parallel to her post-doc, she was a researcher at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities at UiB, supervised by Professor Roger Strand. Dorothy now leads a project on “Localizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals for Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja: #LoVeSeSDG” funded by NFR’s MILJØFORSK program in addition to being the RRI researcher and coordinator for Anna Wargelius’ (IMR) project VIRGIN SALMON, Anders Goksøyr’s (UiB) project “dCod1.0 Systems Toxicology of Cod” and the Horizon2020 project iFishIENCi: Intelligent Fish feeding through Integration of Enabling technologies and Circular principles. Dorothy is a board member of the Nordic Marine Think Tank and is on the Science Advisory Committee of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine. Dorothy is the former Chair (2011-2014) and current member of the ICES Working Group on Maritime Systems and is active supporting the ICES Strategic Initiative on the Human Dimension to develop strategies to support the integration of social and economic science into ICES work.


The recent and dramatic revision of the Northeast Atlantic mackerel scientific advice from 318 403 t to 770 358 t (a 2.4x increase) in the span of 8 months has exposed many of the weaknesses of the current science advice procedure. I will put forward an analysis using the video of the IMR press conference of the September 2018 advice to initiate the following 4 theses:

  1. the SAM stock assessment model applied to the NEA mackerel stock obfuscates more than it illuminates, thereby causing mistrust, book-keeping errors, and non-credible advice for the coastal state fisheries stakeholders
  2. the assessment procedures for NEA mackerel do not have legitimate participatory process with other scientists or stakeholders, and would be difficult to make participatory due to the black box nature of the SAM model
  3. a remedy for the current “mackerel advice crisis” is not more data/more of the same, but a paradigm shift towards a full-scale Management Strategy Evaluation (MSE) procedure as outlined by Smith et al. (1999), Plagányi et al. (2007) and Punt et al. (2014)
  4. A unique addition to a full-blown MSE process would be application of Quantitative Story-Telling, as outlined by Saltelli (Adjunct Professor at UiB) and Giampietro (2017), within a new MSE process

I will end with a historic twist: This is the 30th anniversary of UiB criticism towards stock models, initiated in an Ukens Orientering in 1989 by Jeppe Kolding. This debate was followed up in an Ukens Orientering invited debate among Kolding and Dankert Skagen in 1999. So I am honored to follow this tradition in 2019, but what are we learning along the way? I think we lack an integrated UiB/IMR scientific culture where we can deeply reflect about the science-policy interface and the quality and purposefulness of our models for quota advice. The credibility, legitimacy and saliency of IMR and ICES stock assessments are at stake.


Smith et al. (1999)

Plagányi et al. (2007)

Punt et al (2014)

Saltelli & Giampietro (2017)

Dankel et al. (2011) “Advice under uncertainty in the marine system”

Dankel et al. (2015) “What hat are you wearing?”

Dankel et al. (2015) “Communicating uncertainty in quota advice: a case for confidence interval harvest control rules (CI-HCRs) for fisheries”

Dankel (2016) “Defining a responsible path forward for simulation-based methods for sustainable fisheries”

The debate (so far!) in Fiskeribladet (chronologically, summer 2019):


Post-normal science

Blast from the past! More and more I find my academic scholarship influenced by Jerry Ravetz and Silvio Funtowicz’s great work on Post-normal science. So while rummaging around the internet today, I found a great “blast from the past” recording from the first “Post-normal science in Practice” symposium we organized in 2014. The occasion was to celebrate our new professor at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities at the University of Bergen, Dr. Jeroen van der Sluijs.

We were so fortunate to be able to create this symposium with fantastic speakers that, besides Silvio, Jerry and Jeroen, included Bruna De-Marchi, Kjellrun Hiis Hauge, Mario Giampietro, Martin O’Connor, Joyeeta Gupta, Diana Wildschut, Andrea Saltelli, Alice Benessia, Matthias Kaiser, Roger Strand and Angela Pereira 

Jerry Ravetz, Dec 10, 2014, University of Bergen
Dorothy Dankel and Silvio Funtowicz Dec 10, 2014

Check out the comprehensive live streamed video with the links below:

Live streaming day 1: December 10, 2014 (University of Bergen, Norway)

Live streaming day 2: December 11, 2014

Jerry, Dorothy and Silvio in a jovial technical preparation moment before the Opening Keynote, Dec 10, 2014, University of Bergen

UiB CO2-neutral by 2030?

It seems like eons ago, but on November 1, 2019, I was invited to participate in a debate among UiB professors and researchers on the new UiB climate strategy, and the UiB goal to be CO2 NEUTRAL by 2030.

Wow, if we only had an inkling as to how our world would be turned upside-down, for the BETTER, in regards to local and global CO2 emissions after the COVID-19 pandemic! The key now for UiB is to continue a CO2 neutral path with this new perspective on travel and consumption, keep discussing the world in which we live and WANT to live, and help each other hone our climate-healthy habits!

My first Ph.D. student! #LoVeSeSDG

Jessica Fuller is now settled in at her desk at Marineholmen to start her 4-year engagement at the Department of Biological Sciences. She will be the Ph.D. on my new project Localizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for the Barents Sea-Lofoten. Cultural heritage and environment in a changing climate (LoVeSe-SDG). 

Jessica will be working on the topic of “localizing” and addressing these specific questions:

  • What other indicators can be useful for SDG Targets 2, 13, 14 and 17?
  • Are current ecosystem assessment methods fit-for-purpose for Indicator 14.4.1?
  • How can current stock assessment methods be improved to address Indicator 14.4.1?
  • Are current data collection protocols fit-for-purpose for Indicator 14.4.1?
  • How can data methods be improved and internationally aligned to address Indicator 14.4.1 and 17.6.1?
  • How can the Integrated Mgmt Plans for the Norwegian/Barents Sea specifically integrate the SDGs?

“Localizing” is the process of taking into account subnational contexts in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, from the setting of goals and targets, to determining the means of implementation and using indicators to measure and monitor progress. (Roadmap for Localizing the SDGs, UN-Habitat, p. 6)

Jessica is co-supervised by Dr. Marloes Kraan (Wageningen Marine Research) ( Dr. Maiken Bjørkan (Nordlandsforskning) Welcome, Jessica!

Welcome, Jessica!

#regimesproj climate workshops

I ran our last round of #REGIMESproj climate workshops focussing on the generational aspects of climate dialogues June 4th and 5th. Many thanks to our participants from 3 different generations who weighed in on our ecological-economic-social-geopolitical scenarios based on our REGIMES “Melting Snowball Effect” heuristic!

Since only 1 person from the “high school” generation participated on June 4th, I kicked in my back-up plan for June 5th: I was invited to talk about #CRISPRsalmon/#CRISPRlaks at the Norwegian youth environmentalists club Natur og Ungdom the next day, and ran an impromptu workshop with 7 youth particpants that evening. Great results from very reflective young people!

The 15 minute generational climate discussions are being transcribed and analyzed in our paper on “Melting Snowball Effect” for a special issue of Frontiers in Marine Science. Stay tuned for more details!

Also, a special thanks to our ERASMUS+ intern Elske Koelma who helped me out a LOT during the workshop on June 4th! And of course Rachel Tiller and Yajie Liu for their advice and support with the ideas, brainstorming and set-up help!

Dorothy briefing the participants on June 4th

Is there a responsible future for CRISPR salmon?

Tomorrow I will give an invited talk at the Autumn Conference of the SalmonGroup, the network for small and medium-size salmon farmers in Norway, in Bergen. The topic is gene-editing using CRISPR-Cas9 in Norwegian aquaculture, a project I have been involved with the past 5 years with Anna Wargelius, Rolf Edvardsen, Lene Kleppe et al. at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen. Here are my points:

  • FAST: The timeline from the idea to apply CRISPR to make a sterile salmon to published paper was 3 years
  • BERGEN: The CRISPR sterile salmon is a Bergen-based project and innovation originating in the Wargelius lab at the Institute of Marine Research, with good collaboration with industry and science institutions outside of Bergen
  • POTENTIAL: The potential for new CRISPR innovations is large; can you imagine CRISPR’d salmon that is louse-free? CRISPR’d plants that produce sustainable Omega3 for salmon feed? It’s within reach…
  • YOUNG vs OLD: A pilot survey of 144 people by local Bergen high school students at Nordahl Grieg VGS shows that people under 30 years old are more willing to eat gene-modified salmon if it has been approved by Norwegian food authorities than people over 30.
  • RRI: Public acceptability? This remains a large open question, and the purpose of my Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) practice is to open for an informed public debate (hence this talk!)

Here is the link to my presentation (in nynorsk!):


University of Bergen = UN Hub for SDG14!

Today is United Nations Day and we here at UiB got exciting news that we have been chosen for a leadership role on SDG 14, Life below water, for United Nations Academic Impact. This work will be an integral part of SDG Bergen  (@SDGBergen). I look forward to contributing to this big, new responsibility.

Read more here:

And here: