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The Bjerknes Centre is a collaboration on climate research, between the University of Bergen, Uni Research, the Institute of Marine Research, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre.

NERSC celebrates its thirtieth. Photo: Are Erik Brandvik

Meet the Directors of the six Nansen Centers. Left to right: Executive Director Dr. Atiq Rahman (Bangladesh), Co-director Md. Abu Syed (Bangladesh), Director International Cooperation and Marketing Lasse M. Petterson (Norge), Acting Director Johnny A. Johannesen (Norge), Director Dr. B. Backeberg (Sør-Afrika), Director Dr. Leonid P. Bobylev (RU), Research Director Assoc. Prof. M. Rouault (Sør-Afrika), Executive Director Dr. Ajith Joseph (India), Deputy Director Professor Jianqi Sun (Kina). Foto: Are E. Brandvik

Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre – 30 years in the service of science

This week the Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre (NERSC) celebrates its thirtieth anniversary. Since its infancy in 1986 NERSC has grown both in size and scope, becoming international in the process. 

Around thirty years ago Ola M. Johannesen initiated the founding of NERSC, and the centre has accomplished a great deal since then. A two-day jubilee seminar is held in honour of the occasion, ending this evening with festivities such as music and dance at Floien Folkerestaurant. In other words, typical Bergen. 

The origins of the centre was inspired by Fridtjof Nansen, intended to produced new scientific knowledge of the marine. Due to a fortuitous coincidence the technological advances of the seventies meant that NERSC could approach its chosen field of research with remote sensing by airplanes and satellites.

Yet another keystone was found in international cooperation. Strategic partnerships alongside comprehensive local, national and international networks have helped strengthen the centre´s knowledge. NERSC has over the years established international centres in St. Petersburg (Russia, 1992), Kochin (India, 1998), Beijing (Kina, 2003), Cape Town (South-Africa, 2010) and Dhaka (Bangladesh, 2012), according to acting director Johnny A. Johannessen.

There is little time for the thirty-year-old to rest on its laurels.

With an increasing intensification of international activity in the High North and the Arctic, and profound changes in climate and environment, Norway is expected to strengthen its role in the High North. The Norwegian Governments Strategy for the High North relies on knowledge and research, and NERSC is more than willing to contribute niche expertise.