Joint Nordic PhD course in Ocean and Climate Science (SDG913 H2023)

ECTS Credits: 3 ECTS

Level of Study: PhD

Teaching semester: Spring 2023

Objectives and Content:

In 2015 the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 interconnected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressing the global challenges of poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, peace, and justice. Science and education are fundamental to reaching the SDGs. The SDG913 course aims to contribute to the work toward these goals.

The 2023 field course will include a series of webinars, a two-day workshop in Bergen, and a one-week field work onboard the tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl sailing from Bergen to Rouen, followed by a one-day workshop at LOCEAN in Paris.

The course aims to recruit a highly interdisciplinary student group and to facilitate an exchange of individual differences of opinions and actions, while taking into account cultural and social backgrounds and learning how to accommodate these differences. The field component will facilitate active and experimental learning.

A priority of the field course is to identify a set of tractable research questions answering to the theme of the UN sustainable goals 13 (Climate Action) and 14 (Life below water) – spanning traditional disciplinary boundaries – and to make substantial group-level progress in researching answers to these questions.


1st of March 2023: Application deadline (

15th of March 2023: Notice of acceptance

22nd – 26th of May 2023: Daily zoom webinars 15:00-17:00 including 45min lectures on core topics, followed by a discussion and time for project group work in break-out sessions.

30th of May 2023: Full day 09:00-18:00 in-person workshop at the University of Bergen campus in Bergen with lectures, student presentations and project work.

31st of May – 7th of June 2023: Field course onboard the tall ship Statsraad Lehmkhul sailing from Bergen to Rouen (details online: All course participants will be in the same shift onboard the ship working as a team sailing the ship, as well as conducting a daily measurement campaign and working on group projects.

8th of June 2023: One day workshop at LOCEAN, Paris 11:00-18:00 with presentations of group projects and a joint seminar with colleagues at IPSL Oceans:

Learning Outcomes:


Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Explain oceanographic and meteorological concepts, relating to global wind systems and ocean currents, and how they impact sailing and marine transport.
  • Explain the dynamics of the large-scale Atlantic Ocean circulation, including examples of past, present, and future changes.
  • Identify and engage with the sustainability challenges in Agenda 2030, while acknowledging the role of individual and collective actions.


Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Perform basic meteorological and oceanographic field observations.
  • Retrieve and calibrate key climate data documenting ocean climate variability.
  • Assess the impact of human activities on climate change with examples from the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Design a study using qualitative and quantitative research methods and present the results to a general audience.

General competences

Upon completion of the course, a student should be able to:

  • Analyze current scientific knowledge and identify research needs.
  • Accommodate individual differences of opinions and actions, cultural and social backgrounds and negotiate across interdisciplinary differences.
  • Collaborate with scholars across disciplinary boundaries and give insight into underlying assumptions of their scientific disciplinary backgrounds.
  • Identify differences between scientific knowledge, values, and opinions, and critically evaluate different types of arguments in societally relevant debates.
  • Provide constructive feedback and conduct peer reviews verbally and in written form.
  • Compose and use scientifically valid arguments in societally relevant debates.
  • Analyze uncertainty and its role in science and decision-making.
  • Evaluate current political processes related to climate change and the oceans, and ways to influence these at an individual, community and regional level.

Recommended Previous Knowledge: SDG213 or similar course on the climate system, climate action and sustainable development is an advantage, but not required.

Access to the Course: The course is available for all students actively pursuing a PhD degree. We can accommodate 24 students. There is a nominal registration fee of 8500NOK. This covers accommodation and full board while on the ship. Travel to and from the venue, as well as accommodation on land (Bergen, Rouen, Paris) is not covered. Students from the University of Bergen who cannot attend without financial support can apply for support after admittance to the course. The funding is limited and will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Teaching and learning methods: Two weeks intensive course with lectures, project work, and field work. Preparatory work includes reading of course material and planning of group projects. There is a final report based on the group work to be submitted following the course.

The course applies active learning methods, where the students play a key role in their learning. Students will work in groups, with individual and group assignments. Each group will be responsible for teaching their given topic to the rest of the participants during the field cruise. Ahead of the field cruise, there will be a week with daily afternoon webinars on key topics.

3ECTS corresponds to ca. 90 study hours including all study related work.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Compulsory attendance during the whole course.
Approved compulsory assignments.

Forms of Assessment

Portfolio assessment, consisting of:

  • group projects
  • preparing for and participating in discussion groups
  • presentation of group projects
  • individual project reports following the field cruise

Grading Scale: Pass/fail.

Assessment Semester: Spring.

Course Evaluation: Students will evaluate the course in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB.

Course Responsible: Professor Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu (UiB) and Professor Joe LaCasce (UiO)

Course Administrator: Kenneth Mangersnes (UiB,


  • Professor Kerim Hestnes Nisancioglu (UiB, Climate Dynamics and the UN SDGs)
  • Professor Joe Lacasce (UiO, Ocean Dynamics and intro to Meteorology)
  • Professor Camille Li (UiB, Atmospheric Dynamics and Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions)
  • Lina Boljka (UiB, Atmospheric Dynamics)
  • Kjersti Daae (UiB, Physical Oceanography)
  • Professor Johan Nilsson (SU, Ocean circulation and ocean ventilation)
  • Associate Professor Endre Tvinnereim (UiB, Climate policy)
  • Helle Kjær (TBC, UCPH, water isotopes)