MAR-ECO’s project leader, Odd Aksel Bergstad, has been awarded the Research Council of Norway’s 2004 prize for outstanding communication of research. The jury was both impressed and inspired by the diversity and professionalism that were features of the MAR-ECO public outreach programme.
The press release from the Research Council of Norway says:
"Odd Aksel Bergstad, the Institute of Marine Research scientist who was cruise leader for the MAR-ECO Project, has been awarded the Research Council of Norway’s 2004 prize for outstanding communication of research. The prize is worth NOK 200,000.
Bergstad was awarded the prize for the leading role he has played in the wide-ranging programme of public outreach based on the MAR-ECO project, an international study of the ecosystem of the mid-Atlantic Ridge. Norwegian scientists have played central roles in the project, and they attracted a great deal of attention in connection with the cruise of the research vessel “G. O. Sars”.
The jury for the communication prize was both impressed and inspired by the diversity and professionalism that were features of the MAR-ECO public outreach programme. The range of activities included printed information, TV programmes, press services and an Internet website. However, it was the active, personal involvement on the part of the scientists themselves, in the form of lectures and Internet dialogues, that brought the project to the attention of the public and made the research programme exciting and lively, not least for schoolchildren. Norwegian schoolchildren are currently taking part in an international learning project run by the EU.
The jury points out that among the unique features of this public outreach project were that it formed part of the research project from the very start, and that the process has been integrated into the research itself. Bergstad has been the source of inspiration and driving force behind the efforts to move in this direction. Although the outcome has not been the result of the sole efforts of any one person, Bergstad, in the light of his position, his personal involvement and his behaviour, has played a decisive role in ensuring that the process of making the research cruise and its results widely known has been of consistently high quality in both form and content.
Finally, the jury made the point that the comprehensive communication of the MAR-ECO project has made a significant contribution to raising Norway’s international profile and has drawn attention to marine research, which is one of the major areas of effort in Norwegian research".
The members of the jury for the Research Council of Norway’s prize for outstanding popularisation of research were:
- Professor Tove Bull, Faculty of Humanities, University of Tromsø: chair
- Professor Liv Merete Arnesen, Department of Aesthetics, Oslo University College
- Professor Arne M. Bredesen, Department of Energy and Process Technology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim
- Trygve Aas Olsen, editor, “Journalisten” magazine, Oslo
A Norwegian TV-team was onboard the summers expedition, making an international documentary about the project
Bergstad and members of the international team of researchers gave a media conference while returning from the Mid-Atlantic Ridge August 2004
The participants on the MAR-ECO expedition 2004, who all contributed to the public otreach programme
The Public Outreach group; Morten Steffensen (Bergen Museum, University of Bergen), Jo Høyer (Information Department, Institute of Marine Research), Anette W. Petersen ( Information Department, Institute of Marine Research), Elinor Bartle (Information Department, University of Bergen). Nina Svane-Mikkelsen was also a member of this group.