Greetings from the Department – 09.09.2022

It is still summer and “brilliant” weather, but we are heading for “darker times”. What will make the coming winter extra dark is the financial situation at BIO. Most people have probably registered both frustration and dismay among colleagues, – positions are not being filled, office and lab spaces are shrinking, and there is hardly any money to carry out compulsory teaching. However, students come in a steady stream to BIO, even if a slight decrease has been registered after the Corona period.

BIO is working on finalizing a strategic plan for the coming year, but due to the department’s financial situation, the plan for the next five years must focus on cutbacks. Perhaps we have to wait for up to “seven long years” before BIO is in budget balance, and one can once again employ the researchers of the future and set aside funds for good teaching and research. In other words, this means that the priorities that can be implemented in the coming year will mainly be a consequence of retirements in the staff at BIO.

Can BIO maintain all our subject areas, or must some specializations within our study programmes be dropped? The strategic plan does not envisage the closure of any of the existing subject areas, but this will probably be forced forward as a result of the economic situation. It seems unlikely that BIO will receive additional grants in the coming years, and the consequence could be a situation where coincidences determine the academic direction at BIO.

Despite the lack of money for research, master’s theses and research fellows at BIO, there are fortunately a number of researchers who have projects funded by NFR, FHF (Norwegian Seafood Research Fund) and from other sources. However, the competition for new research projects indicates that external funds will hardly be able to rescue BIO from its current situation. When professors retire, there will also be fewer people who can apply for such funds in the coming years while we wait for a balanced budget. For my subject area, Fish Health, we are losing researchers due to rationing at the same time as competing environments in both the north and east are advertising new positions. This will increase competition for the funds that can be applied for in Fish Health. The staff at the Aquamedicine programme are concerned about whether in the coming year it will be possible to offer compulsory teaching and guidance on master’s theses. The programme leads to a license as a Fish Health Biologist with a prescription-right, and students are admitted to the entire programme (5 years) from day one. In other words, it is not possible to remove elements from the study plan without there being consequences for the fully qualified Fish Health Biologists’ right to work as practicing biologists in the aquaculture industry. This prorgramme builds on a predictability that it is becoming difficult to see that BIO has the finances to provide in the coming years.

What is certain is that we will move towards brighter times after the New Year, – spring will come, but it is naive to believe that BIO will move towards brighter times in the coming years?


Are Nylund

Head of Faggruppe fiskehelse

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