The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research
The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) is Norway’s leading institution for applied ecological research, with broad-based expertise on the genetic, population, species, ecosystem and landscape level, in terrestrial, freshwater and coastal marine environments.
Cooperation and expertise for a sustainable future
The core activities encompass strategic ecological research integrated with long-term monitoring, as well as a variety of environmental assessments and development of methodologies.
Most work is aimed at improving the understanding of biodiversity, ecological processes and their main drivers to facilitate better management of ecosystem services and resources.
NINA addresses a wide variety of interdisciplinary issues involving both ecologists and social scientists, and plays an important role in European and other international research cooperation.
NINA scientists come from a range of disciplinary backgrounds that include; ecologists, botanists, zoologists, computer technicians, taxonomists, biostatisticians, geneticists, economists, sociologists, geographers and anthropologists. NINA is therefore able to deploy well integrated multi- and inter-disciplinary teams that can adopt holistic approaches to applied problems.
Relevance and excellence
NINA has the twin goals of conducting science that is both of very high quality and of an applied nature. This is facilitated by our funding which comes from a diversity of sources. These include management agencies that sponsor very applied work, and research orientated funding such as the Research Council of Norway and the European Union. We also have active cooperation with universities and make our data available for students which allows the maximum scientific potential to be extracted from data. The long term environmental monitoring datasets which NINA manage are a good example. Their collection is primarily motivated by management purposes, but they contain a wealth of data that can be used to address more fundamental ecological issues.
As an applied research institute, NINA places a large emphasis on engaging with society. As a result, NINA researchers spend a considerable amount of time in activities that communicate their results to decision makers, key stakeholders and a wider public. NINA has considerable experience in structured processes that seek to promote public participation in research activities and policy processes. These often involve the inclusion of stakeholders in research project planning and data collection, as well as through formalized reference groups.
Studying conflicts between resource users
There are many conflicts between the various users of natural resources, and NINA works with many of these, seeking to both understand the nature of conflicts and to identify potential mitigation measures. Examples include human-wildlife conflicts, environmental impact assessments, conflicts between domestic and wild species and conflicts between renewable energy production and wildlife.
Management of natural resources often brings conflicts of interest to the surface. Moving beyond simply describing conflicts, NINA’s staff tries and promote resolutions by developing routines and methodological approaches in participatory dialogue processes. The outcome is stakeholder ownership to the conflict, an improved understanding of knowledge needs, the creation of new arenas for further dialogue, and mutual sharing of solutions.
Bridging the science-policy interface
NINA’s applied research profile places us at a key junction between science and policy. Many of our results, from national and international activities, are constantly integrated into policy development and routine decision making processes. This has given us considerable experience at the real-time transfer of the latest scientific information to those who need it, and when they need it.
Capacity-building and education
Although NINA is not a formal teaching institution, our scientists are often engaged as lecturers and supervisors for students based at universities and colleges. Students are routinely integrated into our projects. In the international arena, many of our projects have a strong capacity-building component that is achieved through engaging in cooperative research activities. The result of these projects is always a two-way exchange of experience resulting in mutual benefits.
Sustainable use and harvesting
Hunting of large ungulates and freshwater fisheries are important economic activities in countries like Norway, and NINA has a long tradition of conducting the research which is needed to ensure that these natural resources are exploited in sustainable ways. Our research focuses on both the ecology and monitoring of the resources and on the behaviour, motivations and social context of the hunters / fishers. NINA has routinely helped other countries improve the sustainability of their natural resource management