Page 1

17 Ethics + technology = true? 18 AI for the elderly 22 Second generation success

26 Work is key to integration 32 Is the West at war with Islam? 38 Tiny, green cloud computing


Europe’s forgotten youths Youth unemployment leaves scars that have lifelong ­consequences. Do we have to accept that so many young people get a troubled start to their adult lives? PAGE 9-13

Building transnational research partnerships Rector Curt Rice is looking for ­research partners in Europe and beyond to develop research projects that are of benefit to society.

PAGE 4-6




HiOA is looking for research partners in Europe and beyond, to develop research projects that are of benefit to society. See interview with rector Curt Rice YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT LEAVES LIFE-LONG SCARS








“These technologies give us options we have never had before that can affect the world and people at the same time.” Dr. Ellen-Marie Forsberg





Oslo and Akershus ­University College of ­Applied Sciences (HiOA) is Norway's largest state university college, with a student body of 19,600 students and 1,960 ­employees. HiOA offers a unique range of professional ­programmes that qualify students for professions that will contribute to future welfare and value creation. HiOA aims to educate practitioners with high levels of professional ability and high-impact skill sets, and to facilitate lifelong learning by providing continuing and further education.

Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences — Contact: NO-0130 Oslo, Norway Phone: +47 67 23 50 00 E-mail:


“We want this research to have a real impact on the way early job insecurity is tackled across Europe.”


— Publisher: HiOA, Department for External Relations and Communications Editor: Lise Swensen Editor-in-chief: Sverre Molandsveen Editorial board: Greta Juul, Kåre Hagen, Lise Swensen, Morten Irgens, Stine Hulleberg Johansen, Vibeke Helen Moe Contributors: Benjamin Ward, Caroline Svendsen, Cicilie S. Andersen, Halvard Dyb, Heidi Lagerløv (designer), Jørgen Lie Furuholt, Lars Fiske, Linn Stalsberg, Nic Mitchell, Nina Eriksen, Ruth-Astrid L. Sæter (copy editor), Skjalg Bøhmer Vold, Toril Haugen

Professor Bjørn Hvinden

Design: REDINK



Print: Allkopi



“One of the things I find the most exciting about HiOA as a research institution is that there is such a short distance from research result to potential application.” Curt Rice, rector at HiOA

Written by: Lise Swensen

Photos: Benjamin Ward


The researchers at HiOA are investigating ­challenges that dominate the public discourse. ­Rector Curt Rice is looking for partners interested in ­carrying out research that makes a difference to society.


Rector Curt Rice has his eyes on ­Europe, where he wants to ­expand HiOA´s research partnerships.


urt Rice is the rector of HiOA, a university with a proud history in the education of professions. HiOA is the third largest institution for higher education in Norway, and its research activities have gained momentum over the last decade. Since 2014, four well-established research institutes have merged with HiOA. Rice is certain that the mergers have been a success. “We are a good fit because the problems that the institutes care about are closely tied to the problems that the faculties are working on,” Rice explains. To be of use to society. It is a stated HiOA strategic objective that its research is to be ­beneficial to society. The institution’s researchers are ­expected to engage in public debate and work to influence government policy. Almost on a daily basis, researchers at HiOA are presenting their findings in mainstream media. And the media are interested because the research touches on topics that people encounter in their everyday lives, such as physical activity in nursery schools or bullying in schools. Or topics that are at the top of the political agenda, such as ­immigration or youth unemployment. “One of the things I find the most exciting about HiOA as a research institution is that there is such a short distance from research ­result to potential application.” Rice points to Ungdata (see page 38), a ­national survey conducted amongst teenagers, as an example. “We gather enormous amounts of data, which enable us to look at the different aspects of the daily life of young people. We do the survey every couple of years so we have a dynamic picture of what is going with our youth based on age, gender, income and all sorts of things. That allows us to go right back out to cities, counties and government institutions, and give them very specific information about the lives of teenagers in specific regions of the country,” the HiOA rector explains. 5


Rector Curt Rice heads the third largest university in Norway. During the opening ceremony in August, close to 5000 new students attend.

Eyes on Europe. As is the case with many academics today, Rice’s career has brought him far from where he grew up – in his case in Rochester, Minnesota. Before ­starting his rectorship at HiOA in Oslo last year, he was a professor of linguistics at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, the world’s northernmost university. Now the rector is looking towards Europe, where Horizon 2020 and an increasing number of international research partnerships are opening up new opportunities for HiOA. Rice believes HiOA has a lot to ­offer potential European partners. “For one thing we have a wellfunctioning institution with a substantial administrative framework in place to support researchers, and we have good systems in place for project management and project participation. In particular, anyone looking to investigate public services or to study the welfare state will find a very effective and well-established partner in HiOA,” he says.

old. However, even though HiOA is a product of much older institutions, academically it can come across as the new kid on the block. “When I travel abroad I find that many don’t know very much about HiOA, and I think that is because we are the second university in Oslo. The University of Oslo is the dominant research institution in Norway so we have been in its ­shadow. However, once I start talking about the kinds of thing we do here, people understand that we really have a profile that complements the University of Oslo in terms of the areas that we cover and the kind of research that we do,” Rice says. HiOA has been evolving s­ teadily in the last six years, and the transformation will continue in the years ahead. Rice and HiOA’s leadership team are about to start drawing up a new strategy for HiOA, as HiOA has outgrown the current strategy, despite being just halfway through this strategic period.

New kid on the block. HiOA is the result of multiple mergers over the years of specialised colleges, some of which were nearly 200 years

Norway’s first midwifery ­professorship. In the future, Rice envisions research playing a more central role in the workplace, and


in society. This will shape higher education. In his opinion, social workers have just as great a need to understand the scientific foundation of sociology as sociologists. “What we are seeing is that educational programmes are increasingly becoming researchbased. That trend will only grow stronger because the development of knowledge is so rapid that it is no longer feasible for us to give our students the specific knowledge that they need to practise their profession ten years from now. What they will need then is the ability to assimilate on their own the kind of developments that have happened in their field.” HiOA’s approach is challenging long traditions in higher education in Norway. In 2015, HiOA ­appointed Norway’s first professor in midwifery, nearly 200 years after Norway’s first midwifery training course was established in Oslo at the old birthing centre Christiania Fødselsstiftelse (Christiania Childbirth Foundation). Back then, midwifery was offered as a three-week course; in the two centuries since it has developed into a Master’s ­degree programme at HiOA.


The five research groups selected to get extra administrative and financial support cover more than 50 researchers, some of whom were present when this photo were taken in August.



HiOA can boast a large portfolio of ­projects funded by the Research ­Council of ­Norway and an ­increasingly large p ­ ortfolio of projects financed by the ­Horizon 2020-programme. Our ­ambition is to increase the ­number of ­externally funded research p ­ rojects across the institution. To f­ urther boost ­international research ­partnerships and attract more e ­ xternal ­funding, HiOA has launched a booster

­ rogram to support a select five p ­research groups at HiOA. These are groups that display academic ­excellence, especially in areas that are strongly beneficial to society, and are a good fit for receiving funding from Horizon 2020 and The Research Council of Norway. The research groups will receive tailored assistance and strategic ­internal funding over a three-year period to ensure that the groups reach their potential.

The first five research groups are: Ageing,  Health and Welfare, headed by Professor Astrid Bergland Universal  Design of ICT, headed by Professor Weiqin Chen Eye  for Children - Profession proximity and professional practice (Blikk for barn - Profesjonsnærhet og profesjonsutøvelse) Information  systems based on metadata, headed by Professor Nils Pharo Center  for Work Inclusion (KAI), headed by director Anne Hodnefjeld



hioafacts 19 769

13 943 ECTS-credits produced at HiOA in 2015


SCIENTIFIC PUBLICATIONS - HIOA 2015* *internal distribution adjusted for the Norwegian publication indicator. Source: Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH)



118 73

Health sciences

Welfare and labour studies




Art and design


Journalism and media



Information Professional studies studies research



International studies

Business and administration


Renaming HiOA Are you thinking HiOA is a terrible name for a u ­ niversity? Well, we do. It is difficult to p ­ ronounce and has been ­described as a war cry. So how did our university get its name? Well, HiOA is an ­acronym derived from our Norwegian name – Høgskolen i Oslo og ­Akershus – and we use the same acronym in English and Norwegian. However, the name HiOA has its upsides. The word does not mean anything in any l­ anguage, and no one else uses the same acronym. Which ­actually makes it quite useful as a hashtag in social ­media – just check out #hioa on ­Instagram, Twitter and ­Facebook. Nevertheless, HiOA is soon to be discarded as an ­acronym as HiOA is set to change its name, probably in January 2018. The name change will come as a result of HiOA changing category in Norway’s classification system for higher education institutions.



1818 …dating back to 1818 when Christiania ­Fødselsstiftelse (Christiania Childbirth ­Foundation) started a school for midwifery. Since then, through mergers of some 23 colleges, HiOA has grown into Norway’s largest school for professional studies in higher education.


1994 The latest major merger came in 1994 following the university ­college reform in Norway, when small specialised colleges were organised into larger general ­university colleges.



The latest merger came in 2011 when Oslo University College and Akershus University College joined forces.

In 2014 the Work Research ­Institute (AFI) and Norwegian ­Social Research (NOVA) joined HiOA, and the Centre for Welfare and Labour Research (SVA) was established. In 2016, the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) and Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) also joined HiOA and SVA.


1 in 10 of all graduates Nine percent of all bachelor degrees in Norway are awarded at HiOA. This makes HiOA the largest producer of bachelor degree graduates in Norway. Source: Database for Statistics on Higher Education (DBH)

49% female professors at HiOA


• Faculty of Health Sciences • Faculty of Social Sciences • Faculty of Education and International Studies • Faculty of Technology, Art and Design

60% 60 per cent of research is ­conducted by women

1965 staff (full-time ­equivalents)





• Centre for the Study of Professions • Centre for Welfare and Labour Research (AFI, NIBR, NOVA and SIFO) • National Centre for Multicultural Education



Dr. Ingun Grimstad Klepp is an expert on wool.

Researcher awarded the Scientist Communication Prize HIOA RESEARCHER Dr. Ingun Grimstad Klepp has been awarded the Research Council of Researchers Communication Prize for 2016. Dr. Ingun Grimstad Klepp is a researcher at the National Institute for Consumer Research at HiOA. The Research Council states that "Klepp has been involved in the ­political debate about the growth in consumption and its ­environmental impact. She is skilled at a ­ dapting ­messages to the channel and ­audiences. According to Norilia, a ­Norwegain wool and animal hide ­merchant, Klepp has helped increase demand for Norwegian wool for the first time in decades. " Dr. Klepp is an ethnologist and has worked extensively on topics such as outdoor activities, clothing and ­household chores. She has contributed to broad and ­comprehensive public communications on a number of different topics and channels since the late 1980s, and has been concerned with issues such as the environment, dress habits, w ­ ashing habits, recreation and consumption in the broad sense. In recent years, she has contributed in more politically ­oriented debate on consumption growth and environmental impact. "Outreach is important to me. I think that all people have the opportunity to contribute to society in various ways. My way of making the world a better place is through the production and dissemination of knowledge, "she says. 9




Written by: Nic Mitchell Lise Swensen Caroline Svendsen

Photos: Benjamin A. Ward

Illustrations: Lars Fiske

The Scandinavian Welfare Model balances a high level of universal public services with a high employment rate and a broad basis for taxation. With an aging population and a lower employment rate, the model has come under pressure.

The future of


Read more about:

A new lost generation? Early unemployment leaves scars on young people that may never heal – how can society help young adults fight the consequences of job insecurity or labour market exclusion? Pages 10 to 13

Health inequality + unemployment + economic crisis Good or bad combination? Pages 14 to 16. 11


YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT LEAVES LIFE-LONG SCARS Being young and unemployed is not all about having less money in your pocket. Young unemployed people will feel the negative consequences on income, job opportunities and wellbeing for the rest of their lives. Written by: Caroline Svendsen, Nic Mitchell and Lise Swensen


For young people trying to move from education to employment during the height of the financial crisis, the recent world ­economic recession has left scars that could take a lifetime to heal, if they ever heal ­completely. So say Dr. Dawit Shawel Abebe and Dr. Christer Hyggen, youth researchers at ­Norwegian Social Research, a research institute at HiOA. Together with researchers from the UK and Poland they have used l­ ongitudinal survey data to investigate the dynamics of scarring effects of youth unemployment. The research is part of the Horizon 2020-funded Negotiate project (see p. 13-14). “It is important to understand scarring ­because it give us insight into policy and ­programs aiming at reducing unemployment and improving young people's ability to cope with and escape unemployment”, says Hyggen. The lost generation. “The European Union and international journals are referring to the 18 to 24 year-olds who grew up at the height of the ‘Great Depression’ from 2007 to 2009 as the ‘new lost generation’ ”, Hyggen explains. Hyggen draws parallels to World War 1, when the young generation damaged by war became the lost generation as they struggled to overcome their experiences in the trenches. “Today's lost generation, now coming up to their thirties, have also been scarred and may never get a foothold in the labour market even 12

Illustration: Lars Fiske

Photos: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold

youth unemployment in europe The EU youth unemployment rate is more than double the overall unemployment rate. More than 7 million people in the 15-24 age group are neither in employment nor in edu­ cation or training. After the financial crisis hit ­Europe in 2007-2008 youth ­unemployment rates rose, and have only recently ­decreased to pre-financial crisis levels. In the spring of 2015, youth unemployment in Greece and Spain finally dropped to under 50 percent. Source: EU Commission and Eurostat


Abebe, D.,S., Bussi, M., Buttler, D., Hyggen, C., Imdorf, C., Micho, P., O’Reilly, J., Shi, L., P., (2016). Explaining consequences of ­employment insecurity: The dynamics of scarring in the United Kingdom, Poland and Norway (NEGOTIATE working paper no. 6.2).

when times improve. The marks of the recent so-called ‘Great Depression’ have damaged both their possibilities and abilities to grow up and enter the adult world”. Moderating factors. Traditionally, research on scarring has focused on future job p ­ rospects and the effect on income later in life. This study, however, takes a broader approach. “There have been studies that have examined scarring longitudinally, but unlike other studies defining the labour market status by a single measurement, our study examined the effects of scarring by repeated measurements. Our study is also unique in that it investigates how individual and family characteristics causally moderate labor market participation during the transition to adulthood”, explains Dawit. Subsequently, the study was able to c­ onclude that unemployment seems to cut deeper and leave more visible scars on some than on ­others. These findings suggest that levels of education, parental education and ­psychological well-being may moderate the effects of an early unemployment episode on long-term labour market outcomes. The study also reveals that females and persons with lower education have a greater risk of unemployment and wage ­scarring than males. Countries in Europe may also face slightly different challenges. A major outcome of the research will be to develop of a set of comparative hypotheses about the magnitude and ­persistence of scarring effects.


«Today's lost generation, now coming up to their thirties, have also been scarred.» Christer Hyggen

Are employers ­stigmatising vulnerable young job seekers? ONE OF THE REASONS scarring effects may be so harmful is that scarring is visible to potential employers. Stigmatization, or scarring, of unemployed youths seems particularly prevalent during periods of economic growth. In times of economic crisis individuals with a history of early unemployment experience less stigma. To investigate this the Negotiate project is constructing a vignette experiment. In the experiment 20,000 vignettes representing young job applicants with different education, job and unemployment experiences have been evaluated by recruiters for advertised jobs in four European countries. “This will help us understand how employers think and how they negotiate risk when hiring young people in Europe and in different national contexts. It will be instrumental in developing policies that include demand-side, not only supply-side considerations. In other words, it will help us develop policies that take into account the context of employers, not only focusing on shortcomings among the young generation,” says Hyggen.

Dr. Dawit Shawel Abebe and Dr. Christer Hyggen are youth researchers at HiOA.




Forty researchers from across Europe have joined forces with HiOA to look for the most effective ways of overcoming young people's exclusion from the labour market.


egotiate is a research project ­centered on finding solutions to youth unemployment in Europe. “The research deals with a theme that is universal, namely the transition from youth to adulthood. This research is even more relevant given the recent financial crisis in Europe, since we are seeing serious consequences for the job market, and especially for young adults who are not part of the job market and who would like to be“, says Dr Christer Hyggen. Hyggen is helping to spearhead the Negotiate project with the Director of Norwegian Social Research, Professor Bjørn Hvinden, who is ­Negotiate’s scientific coordinator. The term “negotiate” is being used to describe how young people have to navigate their way from school to work in an insecure world with increasing risk of unemployment, zero-hour contracts and temporary employment while at the same time trying to establish adult lives. Comparing generations. The Negotiate project is now at the halfway point, and has already published working papers from most of its nine subprojects, as well as two policy briefs. It is already clear that there is a large degree of ­variation in the levels of job insecurity between the Nordic countries and the UK on the one hand and the mass youth unemployment in southern, and some eastern European countries. The first phase of the three-year project has been used to develop concepts and tools to map indicators of early job insecurity across ­Europe, and subsequently substance abuse and length of education. The second phase is 14

Professor Bjørn Hvinden, Negotiate’s scientific coordinator.

“­Developing adequate tools for analysis, including conceptual ­development, is an ­integral part of Negotiate.” Professor Bjørn Hvinden

to look in more depth at the strategies adopted by the young people caught up in the middle of the "new lost generation" in various European countries, and whether policies at local, national and European levels are able to strengthen young people’s negotiating positions. New research methods. "We are trying to achieve a comprehensive understanding of early job insecurity using different kinds of data and innovative methodology to look for strategies to help the young people improve their options and opportunities, Hyggen says. In addition to applying state-of-the-art s­ tatistical methods to analyse secondary data from all European countries, the Negotiate project will generate unique comparative primary data, both qualitative and quantitative.


In-depth life course interviews with individuals from three cohorts in seven European countries will shed light on long and shortterm consequences of early job insecurity as well as individuals’ strategies for overcoming and negotiating these adverse consequences. A ­vignette experiment using factorial survey design and a choice experiment will investigate the mechanisms behind scarring. “Developing adequate tools for analysis, ­including conceptual development, is an integral part of Negotiate. The tools and the data will be made available to other researchers across Europe at a later stage, explains Hvinden. Real impact. The research carried out so far suggests that it is profitable for welfare states to assist individuals so that they are able to ­re-enter the labour market, even though such programmes may seem costly at least in the short term. “The results of this research could lead to more informed policy in order to deal with such issues, both at a local, national and European level, Hyggen explains. The aim is to give policy advice to the European Commission and national states across E ­ urope on the best ways to tackle the issues raised about the ‘new lost generation’. At the completion of the project in 2018, the Negotiate project will host a major conference to bring together employers, trade unions, work agencies, national governments, the European Commission and other stakeholders. "We want this research to have a real impact on the way early job insecurity is tackled across Europe," said Hyggen.

negotiate The Negotiate research project is led by Norwegian Social Research (NOVA), a research institute at HiOA. The project is a €3million initiative funded mainly by the European Union's Horizon 2020 with a €500,000 contribution from SERI, the Swiss Research Commission. A total of 40 researchers from 10 ­European countries are working on ­Negotiate, which is divided into 10 ­subprojects. Negotiate will take place over 36 months, and is set to be finalised in March 2018. Negotiate Research Partners: SOLIDAR (EU), ISSK-BAS (Bulgaria), PUE (Poland), UPSPS (Greece), UdG (Spain), UNIBAS (Switzerland), MU (Czech republic), BBS (UK), UB (Germany)

Working papers and policy briefs are available at: www.negotiate-­



Health perspectives in economic crises

SEVERE ECONOMIC CRISIS, LESS HEALTH INEQUALITY Is the relationship between health and unemployment sensitive to the overall economic condition of a country? Yes, so it may seem – but it doesn’t have to be all negative. Written by: Caroline Svendsen

Photos: John Hughes

hen research is done on relationships between welfare states and social inequalities in health, there is an underlying tension between a social investment perspective and a welfare scepticism perspective. The first perspective will emphasise that ­comprehensive welfare states benefit population health through the provision of collective resources, whereas the latter contends that too generous welfare states will hamper economic growth and hence health and wealth. “Recessions and austerity policies are likely to harm the worst-off hardest, and hence increase social inequalities in material living conditions as well as health and well-being. As a researcher it is important to document if this is the case, analyse the policy alternatives and on that basis advise what policy makers can do to prevent such developments,”explains Professor Espen Dahl at the Social Welfare Research Centre. In order to provide this documentation, ­Professor Dahl has, as part of the cross-­ European study Health inequalities, Economic crisis, and the Welfare State, analysed data from the ­EU-SILC (annual surveys c­ overing about 270.000 adults, sampled from most ­European countries). Along with doctoral ­student ­Kristian Heggebø, he analysed data all the way from the beginning of the financial crisis, a ­ ssessing country-by-country changes in socioeconomic and gender inequalities in illness and its consequences before and during the crisis.




“The composition of the population that are unemployed is thus different in a major crisis.” Espen Dahl, Professor at the Social Welfare Research Centre

Different composition. One of the findings was that the likelihood of unemployment for people with ill health is remarkably steady over time throughout Europe. Secondly, it seems as if people with ill health are among the first to lose their jobs during economic downturns. The main conclusion, however, was that the health of the unemployment population changes significantly for the better, but only in the countries that have been most severely hit by the current economic crisis. In other words health problems are less of an issue in terms of unemployment during an economic crisis, because more people without health problems are unemployed then as well. “Basically what our findings show is that during times of economic crisis, it is not just those individuals with ill health who are ­unemployed, but also those ­individuals who function well. The composition of the ­population that are unemployed is thus ­different in a major crisis”, Dahl explains. So, evidence from the 28 European countries indicates that less severe economic conditions are not likely to change the health composition of the unemployment population at all, only a severe crisis will. The welfare state as a buffer. The researchers also looked at the importance of the welfare state acting as a buffer. Certain institutional settings could, for instance, be able to improve labour market participation for individuals with ill health. Almost all of the

health inequalities, economic crisis, and the welfare state The  ­comparative ­research project ­commenced in 2013 and is due to be ­concluded at the end of 2016 There  are 28 participating countries in the study The  research is based on several ­crossEuropean ­comparative studies using data from the EU-SILC ­(annual surveys covering about 270,000 adults, ­sampled from most European countries), in c ­ ombination with ­country information on economic indicators and social policies

28 ­participating countries in the study have some form of ­welfare state arrangements, ­although N ­ orway, Sweden and Denmark have the ­perhaps b ­ est-functioning systems and are often ­classified within the context of a social ­democratic ­welfare state regime. When it comes to the specific role of the ­welfare state, several previous studies already suggest that assistance in helping the unemployed to re-enter the job market tends to lessen the negative effects of being unemployed over time. Such schemes also provide a much greater sense of fulfilment for those individuals who are not part of the labour market and may help to lessen the effects of ill health. “Increased unemployment may lead to ­higher costs for the welfare state in the short term, but it will end up costing less in the long term, compared to if nothing was done to help those who are unemployed,” Dahl explains. HiOA hosted the conference “The w ­ elfare state and health inequalities ­during an ­economic crisis” to sum up the project in May 2016, with nearly 100 researchers, p ­ olicy ­makers and public health ­coordinators ­attending. The findings presented at the ­conference will be published in a special ­edition of the Scandinavian Journal of Public Health, due in February 2017.



TEACHING MACHINES TO UNDERSTAND PEOPLE A multidisciplinary research and development project at HiOA is applying state of the art technology to aid an aging population. Written by: Lise Swensen

Photos: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold


cross the Western world, the population is aging. This causes concern for economists and politicians. How can we look after all these pensioners as they live longer and there are fewer working people to look after them? Will technology be the answer? Governments are increasingly funding ­research into the area of Assisted Living ­technologies. Recently, HiOA launched “The Assisted Living” project to develop technology that will enable elderly people with mild ­cognitive impairments (MCI) to be more ­independent in their everyday life. “What is unique about our project is that health professionals, technologists, e ­ thicists and philosophers are working together to ­investigate how technologies can help ­elderly people”, says Dr Anne Lund, Associate ­Professor at the Department of Occupational Therapy, Prosthetics and Orthotics. As well as multiple disciplines, the project involves the Norwegian Board of Technology, the municipality of Oslo and Sensio AS, an ­Assisted Living technology company. The user’s needs in focus “An important ­starting point for the project is that technology may not always be the right answer. Sometimes, what a person who starts to forget things needs could be a reminder on a post-it, or some help to update the Filofax”, Lund points out. 18

europe’s aging population Low birth rates and higher life expectancy is causing the European population to age. By 2020, twenty percent of Europeans will be over 65 years of age. The proportion of elderly people to the working population is expected to increase steadily until 2050 before stabilising at 45 percent. Source: Eurostat

Rather, the project is trying to identify situations that are important for elderly people´s wellbeing and dignity, and where technology may help them to be more active and ­independent. Initially, therefore, the project is conducting a survey among 300 elderly people, followed by group interviews to investigate the needs and preferences of the potential technology users. While Lund is familiar with working with ­elderly people as a health professional and as a researcher, it is a new experience for Dr Evi Zouganeli, Associate Professor at the ­Department of Mechanical, Electronics and Chemical Engineering at HiOA. “For us as technologists it is vital to work ­together with health professionals that can help us understand in depth the challenges and needs of the users. We want to carry out ­responsible innovation and develop technology that empowers users and improves their quality of life”, says Zouganeli. Artificial intelligens. Based on the initial study, a three year incremental user test will be launched. The project´s industry partner ­Sensio AS will fit fifteen retirement apartments with home automation systems. The initial ­system is a standard product, and the project will adjust the configuration to accommodate the residents’ needs as well as introduce a ­feature that allows individual privacy settings. In parallel, Dr Zouganeli and PhD candidate


“Rather than have the human learn to use the machine, the machine learns to understand the human.” Dr Evi Zouganeli, Associate Professor at the Department of Mechanical, Electronics and Chemical Engineering

Residents at Skøyen Omsorg+, a retirement home in Oslo, are taking part in the study. Here are two of the residents in conversation with PhD candidate Flavia Casagrande, Dr Anne Lund and Dr Evi Zouganeli.

Flavia Casagrande will carry out lab research aiming at making the systems self-learning and self-adapting, based on experience. So-called machine learning techniques will be applied. “This allows systems to adapt to the ­individual user’s habits, preferences and needs – in ­context. Such systems may for example predict that a person is going to fall before she actually falls”, Zouganeli suggests. “The technology research will aim at creating intelligent systems that ­ultimately ­assist the user on the user’s own terms. So rather than have the human learn to use the machine, the machine learns to understand the human. This is a new paradigm that we believe may revolutionize Assisted Living technologies and prove invaluable”, she says.

Responsible research approach. The project is initiated by Dr Ellen-Marie Forsberg at the Centre for Welfare and Labour Research, and applies a responsible research and innovation approach (RRI). The approach is an ethical framework that aims to ensure that the outcome is of actual benefit to affected individuals and to society. The RRI application in itself is a research objective for the project. “As researchers we have very different standpoints, but we are all very concerned about the users. We want to ensure that the process is user-controlled or user-centred”, says Lund.

the assisted living project The Assisted ­Living ­project at HiOA is an ­interdisciplinary ­project that will develop ­technological innovations to support dignified lives at home for persons with mild cognitive impairment or dementia. The overall aim of the ­project is to advance ­responsible research and innovation (RRI) in the field of welfare technology. The project is funded with NOK 22.6 million by The Research Council of Norway. 19


Written by: Nic Mitchell

Photos: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold


Will we be saved, or will we be doomed by technological developments? It all depends on the safeguards we build into the R&D process, says Dr. Ellen-Marie Forsberg.



“These technologies give us options we have never had before that can affect the world and people at the same time.” Dr. Ellen-Marie Forsberg, Head of Research at the Work Research Institute

Dr. Ellen-Marie Forsberg´s academic career has been devoted to solving ethical dilemmas in research and development.



“It is really important that we get technological development right.” Dr. Ellen-Marie Forsberg


r. Ellen-Marie Forsberg is one of Norway’s leading experts on responsible research and ­innovation (RRI). She works as Head of Research at the Work Research Institute, and leads the HiOA group on R ­ esponsible Research and Innovation. She is currently coordinating a major new ­Horizon 2020 research project on RRI – we will get back to that. But first – the question of new technology as the world’s saviour? According to Forsberg, the problem is that scientists and innovators frequently fail to consider all the scientific and ethical uncertainties or general public concerns about new discoveries. This can lead to m ­ ajor controversies such as the European Union ­moratorium on approving genetically modified organisms, or GMO, which lasted from 1998 to 2004 and was opposed by the World Trade ­Organisation. This is a typical example of ethical d ­ ilemmas, thrown up by science and technology at the frontiers of our knowledge, which fascinate Ellen-Marie Forsberg. She became involved with research ethics in science while studying ­philosophy at the University of Oslo. She went on to do a PhD looking at the methods for the ethical assessment of genetically modified foods. She joined the public National Committees for Research Ethics in 1999 focusing on policy and ethical issues related to the natural sci22

ellen-marie forserg Head  of research at Work Research Institute at HiOA Coordinator  of the ­RRI-Practice project, funded by Horizon 2020 Leader  for HiOAs ­Research Group on ­Responsible Innovation

ences and technology. In her first project she looked at ­fishery technology for the Fishermen’s ­Association in Norway, which represents a ­cross-section of fishermen. From cod to H2020. Forsberg recalls: “The ­ ilemma the industry faced was that it was d ­getting so efficient with technology that it could fish the sea empty – as happened to the cod off the coast of Newfoundland in Canada. The cod simply disappeared and it was a tragedy for the local fishing communities. The question we faced, was: Should we develop these enormous industry ships where you can catch the whole quota within two weeks, do all the processing on board and then just deliver to the market? Or, do we want to keep the small fishing communities that we had along the coast, which are part of Norwegian culture but not so efficient?” Forsberg investigated many other areas, including radiation protection, before joining the Work Research Institute in 2007 and transferred to HiOA in 2011. Last year she was promoted to full research professor. Forsberg says she likes the research environment within HiOA, which she describes as being “characterised by a lot of solidarity and collaboration”. Now she is coordinating a major new 3.6 ­million Euro (nearly NOK 35 million) Horizon 2020 research project involving experts from China, India, the US, Brazil, Australia and six European countries.


Ellen-Marie Forsberg

Each of the partner universities will be studying what happens in practice, both inside their own institution and also at their national research funding or policy institutional level in terms of ethical behaviour and responsible research. New options, new dilemmas. Forsberg points out that RRI is a recent concept used mainly in biotechnology, nanotechnology and Information and Computer Technology, or ICT. “These technologies give us options we have never had before that can affect the world and people at the same time. But we don't know what the long-term effects will be.” A typical recent example of the kind of ­dilemma scientists may be facing, is the mosquito-­ borne Zika virus. It led to a general warning to women not to get pregnant if they planned to travel to Brazil for the Olympics because the ­virus can cause birth defects in babies. Some scientists suggested using genetic modification to tackle the Zika virus, but Forsberg wasn’t so sure. She says: “It may be possible to genetically modify mosquitoes that can breed with Zika ­carrying mosquitos so that their offspring die out. But what’s the responsible thing to do to combat these types of viruses? Should we put GM mosquitoes out into nature and keep our fingers crossed that it will be for the best? Or should these viruses and diseases be combated by fighting poverty or other structural means?

If we choose to go for the technological ­solution, like GM mosquitoes, do we really know the ­consequences for eco-systems and other insects and birds?” Addressing the controversies. According to Forsberg, RRI is about ‘keeping the discussion open’. In the RRI-practice project for the EU, she is working alongside philosophers, social scientists, psychologists and people with a background in science and technology studies (STS). Despite her concerns with the ethical dilemmas facing advances in science, she is a fan of new technology. “But I feel it is really important that we get technological development right. With the speed of technological development we are ­experiencing we have to keep abreast of the ­developments. That is what motivates me. For me, it is fascinating to understand that what we see in science fiction movies is actually not so far away.” She says that whatever the industry or technology, the ethics and governance questions are very similar. “The key elements that always come up are about scientific uncertainties, lack of knowledge or disagreement about knowledge. Also that the technology development touches upon some controversial societal values that somehow need to be addressed.”

the rri-practice project Funded  by the ­European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme Runs  from September 2016 until August 2019 Budget:  Euro 3.6 million Project  coordinator: ­Research Professor Ellen-Marie Forsberg from the Work Research Institute at HiOA Partners  in the ­project with HiOA are KIT (Germany), UOE (UK), CEA (France), ­UNIPD (Italy), ARC Fund (Bulgaria), SKU and WUR(Netherlands), CASTED (China), (RIS) India, Azregents (USA), FUNCAMP (Brazil) and UQ (Australia)



17th of May, Norway's national day, Oslo´s ­primary schools walk in procession to the Royal Palace. As children from all over Oslo gather for the festive day, it is evident that Oslo has a multi-ethnic diverse youth population.



Written by: Linn Stalsberg

Photos: Benjamin A. Ward

Like many European capitals, Oslo has a large immigrant population. But is it really something to worry about?

A closer look at


Immigration has been at the top of the political agenda for many years. In Oslo, one in three has an immigrant background. In some segregated areas, there are no children with a typical Norwegian background in primary schools. Are the immigration skeptics proven right about their predictions? In many cases not, research show. 25


The young immigrants of Oslo

DOING WELL DESPITE OBSTACLES Second generation youth are often the focus of worry for parents, teachers and the media. “However, we don’t see any strong indications that this group is particularly vulnerable”, says youth researcher Anders Bakken. Written by: Linn Stalsberg

Photos: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold

slo has a multi-ethnic diverse youth population. “Things are going much better for this group than what some warned about a decade or two ago, and ­particularly within school and education”, says senior researcher Anders Bakken. As a youth researcher at Norwegian ­Social Research, a research institute at HiOA, ­Bakken has spent 20 years researching school ­performance, particularly amongst minority youth. In 2015, Bakken and colleague P ­ atrick Lie Andersen wrote a report on the living ­conditions for young people in Oslo commissioned by Oslo municipality. The report was based on data from Ungdata (read more on p. 34) and gave a comprehensive picture of life for Oslo’s teenagers.


More homework. The study found that second generation youth do more homework than the majority population, even though they enjoy school slightly less than the majority. They do as well in school as the majority population with the same socio-economic background. ­Researchers have also found a higher percentage of second generation youth in higher education, than majority youth. “When I started doing research on this group in the 1990s, we noticed that many immigrant families had great ambitions on behalf of their kids in terms of “making it” in ­Norwegian ­society. Looking back, I must admit that we tended not to have as much faith in these 26

kids as their parents did. However, our recent ­research shows that on average, many of them actually did succeed”, says Bakken. He points out that scientists do not know the exact reason for such success. “History so far shows that the second ­generation are doing quite well in both school and higher education, despite segregated ­living in Oslo and language barriers”, Bakken ­concludes. Fading differences. Second generation i­ mmigrants have traditionally been well-­ behaved and unrebellious. “Now, says Bakken, the majority youth are catching up with them and they are getting into less trouble.” This also works the other way around, with the ­second generation once reporting a higher level of mental health issues than the majority. A new report from Bakken and colleague Mira Aaboen Sletten now observes that all youth, whether they are minority or majority, now ­report such problems at the same level. “We do not know why this is, but we assume all groups of youth today feel different sorts of conflicting pressure from both families and ­society”, says Bakken. Still, the forms of pressure might differ ­between minority and majority youth. Expectations versus abilities. However, even though many minority youth do very well in education, and live up to their parents’ ambitions for their future, not all manage to succeed.

Juweria Hassan ­ is one of Oslo´s second generation youths. she is doing aJuweria Master´s Hassan degree (22) is in a Master´s Child Welfare student at in HiOA. Child Welfare at HiOA.


“History so far shows that the second generation are doing quite well in both school and higher education.” Anders Bakken, Senior Researcher, Norwegian Social Research



“There is another gap in Oslo as well, between the poor and the rich, and this is visibly present in the very same city.” Evelyn Dyp, Researcher

In the autumn of 2013, media reported that young robbers with immigrant backgrounds were terrorising inner city Oslo. Commissioned by Oslo Police District, researcher ­Evelyn Dyb at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and ­Regional Research at HiOA, investigated who these young robbers were. “I looked into their background, and asked what were the ­reasoning and assumptions that formed their behaviour”, Dyb says. She found that some of the robbers had high expectations from parents and society to excel at school. At the same time, many of them came from weak socio-economic backgrounds. This gap felt impossible to fill for some of them, and hence they found other areas in which to fit in and belong. Other young troubled boys in this group had drug problems, whilst some of the young robbers blamed their actions on peerpressure or boredom. “There is another gap in Oslo as well, ­between the poor and the rich, and this is visibly ­present in the very same city”, Dyb explains. This may motivate minor crimes among young boys with no access to luxury items taken for granted by others. Despite the media frenzy regarding the young robbers, the statistics tell a different story, namely that robbery figures generally have gone down, and that 2013 was not even a record year. This discrepancy between media reports and actual numbers, is an issue many scientists studying immigrants and immigration point to as a problem in its own right. More parental violence. Sadly, young people with parents from a non-Western country have a higher risk of experiencing violence from their parents. “Severe violence is more common in families with a background from non-Western countries, regardless of their parents’ living conditions in general”, says Dr. Kari Stefansen at Norwegian Social Research. A report from 2016, edited by Stefansen and her colleague Svein Mossige, used sur28

Anders Bakken, Senior Researcher

Evelyn Dyb, Researcher

Dr Kari Stefansen, Senior Researcher

Svein Mossige, Senior Researcher

Dr. Dawit Shawel Abebe Senior Researcher

vey data from 18-19 year olds to investigate the prevalence of violence and abuse amongst ­Norwegian children. Based on data from 2007 and 2015, they observed a general drop in family violence against children, but children of nonWestern immigrants are still more at risk. “In 2015, 19 percent of the young people who have a mother with a non-Western background, had experienced severe violence from their mother. By comparison, 5 to 6 percent of young people with a mother raised in Norway or a Western country had experienced the same”, Mossige explains. He urges the government to provide preventive counselling to aid immigrant parents. Mind the healthcare gap. Do immigrant youth seek healthcare help at the same rate as ethnic Norwegians? Dr. Dawit Shawel Abebe has previously investigated mental health problems and substance use behaviours among majority and minority youth, and is now involved in a study that examines ethnic inequalities in the use of primary and specialist healthcare services. Abebe is already seeing a pattern in this unfinished study. “They all use their GP frequently, and second to that the School Health Service. However, the use of Youth Health Centres, a service provided by most Norwegian municipalities, shows a gap. Majority youth use this service more than the immigrant youth. Why is that? Is it because they assume this is a place for ­advice on sexual health or mental health issues? Maybe such issues are more taboo or stigmatized in certain immigrant groups, than in ethnic Norwegian families“, Adebe adds. “Similarly, most immigrant youth have less contact with the specialist mental healthcare services than majority youth.” This is cause for concern, Abebe argues: “If a young person delays seeking care, it may ­worsen his or her mental and physical ­wellbeing, and it might lead to social and educational ­impairments, for example school dropout.”


second generation youths Children of immigrant parents have come to be called second generation, and they constitute an increasing proportion of the metropolitan youth population.

Oslo's multi-ethnic youth population Source: Statistics Norway

1 in 10 children 1 in 10 children in Norway is second generation immigrant “Work hard and have faith in yourself” JUWERIA HASSAN (22) is currently doing a Master’s degree in Child Welfare at HiOA. “For me, my parents have been a major driving force. I've had parents who have been involved and have followed me. As a child, there were not many other children of immigrants in my grade school, but my dad would remind me of this; ‘You are just as much Norwegian as the other pupils. You can achieve whatever you want, nothing prevents you except yourself.’ “ Juweria grew up St. Hanshaugen, a more affluent district on the west side of Oslo. She think that she has had the same opportunities to succeed as children with Norwegian parents.

48 883 48,883 immigrants and ­second generation immigrants aged 0–19 years lived in Oslo in 2016.


“We are fortunate to have free schools. So, what should prevent you from getting an education? Because it is too difficult? I think it is about working hard and having faith in yourself”, Juweria says.


However, not everyone has had the same support. Many youths have experienced that the school counselor has dissuaded them from studying for A levels, arguing that it will be too difficult for them. Juweria says it is very important that counselors are supportive of immigrant youths who want to go into higher education. “Many youngsters are unsure of themselves at that age, or don’t have someone who supports them. The counselor at school is therefore important, and becomes someone that they listen to.”

1 in 4 children in Oslo has a non-Western background


living in N ­ orway have four foreign grandparents that have i­ mmigrated to Norway, which defines them as third generation immigrants 29


EMPLOYMENT IS THE KEY TO INTEGRATION Norway has the highest employment rate amongst immigrants in Scandinavia. Why is that? Written by: Linn Stalsberg

Photos: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold


enior researchers at the ­Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR), Kristian Tronstad and Dr. ­Susanne Søholt, have in recent years been commissioned to investigate how well immigrants are adapting to Norwegian society. In two recent reports, the two ­researchers argue that most immigrants in Norway, compared to immigrants in other countries, are doing quite well when it comes to finding a job. Actually, Norway is only surpassed by Iceland, Switzerland and Luxembourg when it comes to the employment rate amongst immigrants in Europe. Norway has generally had a low unemployment rate. This probably explains why the employment rate for immigrant men in ­Norway is around 75 per cent, which is 5 ­percentage points higher than the EU average. Even though employment and work are not their primary focus of study, these issues play an important role when investigating integration. Jobs make people participate. “Often, when we discuss integration, we end up discussing the use of hijabs or religion. But within the Nordic welfare model we recognise that the ­basis for integration is employment and housing. When people have a place to live and a job to go to, they also tend to participate more actively in their local community”, Søholt explains. 30

“Housing prices and costs of ­living push immigrants to participate in society.” Susanne Søholt, Senior ­Researcher, NIBR


Tronstad, K. R. (2016), Integration in Scandinavia (report to IMDI, 2016).

Søholt and Tronstad find that immigrants tend to adopt the Norwegian way of life. Their research stands in contrast to many media stories claiming the opposite, of which the ­researchers are very aware. “Norway provides childcare for everyone, and we see that both men and women who arrive here as immigrants, tend to adapt quickly to the Norwegian family style with two ­working parents. Housing prices and costs of living push immigrants to participate in society”, Søholt says. This probably accounts for the relatively high employment rate for female immigrants, which is 12 percent higher than in the EU and 6 to 7 percent higher than in the rest of Scandinavia. Still, immigrant families are at a higher risk of falling into poverty. An immigrant child is four times more at risk of growing up in poverty compared to the majority in Norway. One of the reasons is that immigrants run a substantially higher risk of being unemployed compared to the majority. The importance of language. A new life in a new country is nevertheless full of c­ hallenges both for refugees and migrant workers. ­Language, and a general demand for skilled workers, can be barriers to finding a job. “New research shows that refugees often master the Norwegian language better than


Kristian Tronstad and Susanne Søholt are senior researchers at the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research (NIBR) at HiOA.

European migrant workers. They also tend to have a more long term perspective on life here”, Søholt says. One of the reasons refugees surpass ­migrant workers in language skills, is the fact that ­refugees must attend an obligatory, paid, ­full-time civic integration programme for two years, whilst for migrant workers language courses are voluntary and costly. The veto of the municipality. “In Norway, the municipalities voluntarily agree to settle ­refugees and they receive financial support from the state for doing this. In other words, the municipality gets the veto and the power to decide how many refugees they want”, ­Tronstad says. This model is quite unique to Norway, and Norwegian municipalities generally show great goodwill, the researchers say. The Norwegian model is different from the rest of Scandinavia; in Sweden refugees themselves get to decide where to live, while in Denmark their location is decided at a state level. “A challenge however, with the huge ­influx of refugees last year and the strong ­bargaining power of municipalities, is that the state has few means to ensure the quality of the ­language training and the introduction ­programme”, Tronstad points out.

“The state has few means to ensure the quality of the language training and the introduction programme.” Kristian Tronstad, Senior Researcher, NIBR

EMPLOYMENT RATE, ADULTS AGED 15-64 YEARS Source: NIBR 2016/European Union Labour Force Survey 2012-13.

90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0




EU (28)

Foreign born Native born 31


Immigration: RESEARCH NEWS FLASH To find out more about research and development at HiOA, visit

Less breastfeeding, more homemade food MANY IMMIGRANT WOMEN start too early with infant formula, a new PhD argues. They are however better than Norwegian mothers in making homemade food when the child is older. In her PhD thesis Infant feeding practices Among Norwegian-Somali and Norwegian-Iraqi infants, Navnit Kaur Grewal researched breastfeeding and diet among children between 6 and 12 months of age living in Oslo and its neighbouring counties. The results of her study suggest that information about breastfeeding provided by health centres, is not sufficiently adapted to non-Western mothers. “However, when the child gets older, the immigrant mothers tend to give varied and healthy food to their children. When the children were 12 months of age, more than 70 percent of Norwegian mothers fed them readymade food from jars, while only 14 percent of Norwegian-Somali and 12 percent of Norwegian-Iraqi mothers gave such food,” Grewal explains.

The mysterious diabetes increase UNDERSTANDING WHY so many Somali women in Norway develop diabetes may help us understand the increase in this disease among all immigrants.

Illustration photo. Photo by Benjamin Ward.

With the help of an app Increasingly, pregnant women are being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. In particular, this affects immigrant women. Now, a new mobile app, Pregnant+, is ­being tested with the aim of helping those affected by this disease. The app provides a ­ dvice on exercise and nutrition, beside informing its user whether her blood sugar is high, low or stable. Lisa Garnweidner-Holme is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing and Health Promotion, and has ­extensive research experience within culture-sensitive nutrition communication. She has ­noticed that gestational diabetes is becoming a major public health problem. “We hope that this app, which is available in Norwegian, Urdu and Somali, will help pregnant women stay more healthy. The app is currently being tested at five hospitals in Norway – and the goal is eventually to test the app abroad,” Garnweidner-Holme adds.

“Schools of democracy” NORWEGIAN AUTHORITIES facilitate and expect immigrant organisations to serve as schools of democracy. A study by Marianne Takle, ­Senior Researcher at the Centre for Welfare and L ­ abour Research at HiOA, examines how immigrant organisations’ adaptation to these ­expectations can be understood as an adaptation to an administrative culture. “The adaptation to democratic ideals is emphasised in the political 32

rhetoric, while in practice, street-level bureaucrats educate members of immigrant ­organisations in how to establish and run a formal, h ­ ierarchical, rule-based and impersonal organisation in Norway,” Takle explains. The emphasis on ­bureaucratic schooling is especially relevant in a Nordic context, where the voluntary sector functions as a parallel bureaucratic structure to the government administration.

Type 2 diabetes represents a major health problem worldwide, with immigrants strongly contributing to the increase in diabetes in many countries. “The dynamics of these transitions in relation to the duration of residence in the new environment in Norway are not clearly understood,” says Abdi Ali Gele at the Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Nursing and Health Promotion at HIOA. In a new study he tried to explore this by doing a cross-sectional quantitative study using a respondent-driven sampling method that was conducted among 302 Somali women living in the Oslo area. The results show that 41 percent of the study participants will be at risk of developing diabetes in the coming 10 years, which coincides with 85 percent of the study participants being abdominally obese. “Understanding the mechanisms through which exposure to the Norwegian environment leads to higher obesity and diabetes risk may aid in prevention efforts for the rapidly growing African immigrant population,” Gele says.


Bjørndal Cricket Bears, Bjrøndal High School’s school team, practices every Wednesday. “Bjørnholt Bears is a team based on mutual respect and companionship”, says team coach Richard Cavander-Cole.


identity building role

Doing sports can contribute to new friendships across ethnic ­differences and give a sense of belonging to a local community. ­ It may even contribute to the development of a solid identity. Written by: Linn Stalsberg

Photos: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold


his is stated by ­Kristin Walseth, Associate ­Professor at the Faculty of Education and ­International Studies at HiOA. She has been doing research on sport and the integration of immigrants for the last 15 years. Her PhD thesis Sport and integration - experiences of young Muslim women from 2006 found that sport can contribute to the integration process for those who are involved in organised sports clubs. Few Muslim girls in sports clubs. “However, research indicated then,

and it still does, that few Muslim girls are involved in sports clubs,” says Walseth. In general, ­research illustrates that youth with ­immigrant background are less ­involved in sports clubs compared to ­majority youth. This is mainly explained by socio-economic ­differences. At the same time, Walseth’s research shows that boys with immigrant background are more involved in sports than girls with immigrant background. In years, various mosques have been offering sports activities, something that should be better recognized by policymakers, ­Walseth argues.

In her latest research project she has looked into sport within Muslim communities. The study has focused on why mosques in Oslo are offering sports activities to their youth members, and on how the sports policy makers are responding to the sporting needs of the Muslim population. Sporty and proud “Norwegian Muslims”? “This new study shows that sports activities first and foremost are used by the mosques as a tool to recruit and gather Muslim youth,” Walseth says. But the study also reveals the integration aspect of the work ­conducted by the Muslim organisations. “I will argue that ­Muslim organisations’ idea of s­ upporting youth to become ‘Norwegian ­Muslim’ is built on an ‘anti-racism multiculturalism’ discourse which rejects assimilation. A key aspect of this discourse is that minorities turn a negative difference ascribed by the majority into a positive identity to be proud of. As such, the work emphasises the possibility of being both Muslim and well-integrated into Norwegian society,” Walseth concludes. 33


Population data for the


The Nordic countries possess high quality population data that can ­give researchers – and society – useful insight into people’s health and socio-economic conditions. Now a more accessible database is being established. Written by: Caroline Svendsen

Photos: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold

espite the potential access to high q ­ uality data, research on health and socioeconomic ­conditions using administrative sources, ­particularly at the Nordic level, is still rare. In response to this, social ­researchers at HiOA have r­ eceived funding from ­Nordforsk to help to increase the use, competence and accessibility of such data. The ­project ultimately aims to ­establish a register-based ­comparative data set that is to be made available to researchers.


Linking data. “I think it is a bold move of Nordforsk to initiate this process towards more data sharing within and between the ­Nordic countries. This could have a big impact on the way we carry out social science research in the future,” Associate Professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Kjetil van der Wel, says. He is the project leader of C-LIFE – Contingent Life Courses, the Nordforsk-funded project at HiOA. “Most other countries don't have access to this kind of data. But because everybody has a national 34

c-life – contingent life courses Nordforsk  has allocated NOK 10 million to the project which runs from 2016 through 2019 C-Life  has ­participants at universities in ­Denmark, Finland, ­Norway and Sweden The  project title ­reflects that people’s lives and life chances are ­structured by important features of the social context, and notably, the welfare state The  database will ­enable unique analyses of health and welfare across the life course, and how these trajectories are shaped by social policy

identification number in the Nordic countries, different administrative registers can be linked for research purposes”, van der Wel explains. Understanding marginal groups. An attractive feature of the ­proposed database is that it will enable comparative research on the living conditions and life courses of marginal social groups such as school drop-outs, immigrants, and adolescents in poor health or who live in poor or socially disadvantaged households. “Using register data also has many advantages over traditional survey data; the usual problems associated with small sample ­sizes, biased data, low response rates and attrition do not apply when the entire population is ­recorded,” he concludes. Van der Wel hopes that after the pilot project ends, ­integrating health and socio-economic data within and between the ­Nordic countries will have become ­institutionalised and routine. He ­underscores that there are still many barriers and obstacles to overcome, but believes that long term cross-institutional commitment will reap dividends.


“This could have a big impact on the way we carry out social science research in the future.” Kjetil van der Wel, Associate Professor

Kjetil van der Wel, Associate Professor

From the center opening. From left: Center director Anne Hodnefjeld, professor Espen Dahl, prorector for education Nina Waaler, senior advisor Gry Helene Stavseng, prorector for research Morten Irgens and Haakon Hertzberg (Nav).

HiOA invests in work inclusion HiOA recently opened the Center for Work Inclusion, aiming to tighten the feedback loop between the fields of practice, research and education. For most people, work is the key to a l­ iving wage and good physical and mental health. HiOA educates professionals who meet people who struggle to get a foothold in the job market. This expertise, combined with extensive research into all sides of work inclusion and exclusion, forms the basis for the newly founded Centre for Work Inclusion at HiOA, a joint venture with the Norwegian Labour and Welfare Administration (NAV). In essence, the center will work to strengthen the link between education, research and the field of practice on work inclusion, in order to increase the level of employment amongst vulnerable groups. “Through this center we will develop research that will actively contribute to work-oriented services and tools, and to evidence-based labor market policies”, said the prorector for education and chairman of the steering committee, Nina Waaler at the opening. One of the tasks will be to develop HiOA’s portfolio of continuing education courses for professionals working at NAV. “We will craft innovative training oppor­ tunities and new forms of c ­ ollaboration around our research. And we will integrate work inclusion as a subject throughout HiOA, and have a national and international outreach”, Waaler said.

active inclusion Active inclusion means enabling every ­citizen, particularly the most ­disadvantaged, to fully participate in ­society, including having a job. Source: European Commission 35


Many young Norwegians believe:


Nearly sixty percent of Oslo’s youth population believe the West is at war with Islam. Is it just a sign of the times? Written by: Halvard Naterstad Dyb


Photos: Illustration picture /Scanpix

n a recent study, the youth ­researchers dr. Viggo Vestel and Anders Bakken from ­Norwegian Social Research at HiOA have studied attitudes towards ­extremism among young persons in Oslo. They have also looked into what characterises those whose support an extremist worldview. One of the main findings is that nearly sixty percent of the youth population in the study agree totally or partly that the West is at war with Islam. This is stated in a new report from the project Young People and Political Extremism in Contemporary Norway. Researchers Viggo Vestel and Anders Bakken have asked 8 500 youths aged 16–19 years about their views on extremist Islam and extremist right-wing Islam-critical positions. The notion that such a war is going on probably reflects the most recent developments in world history. Young people know about the war in ­Afghanistan and Iraq, the USA’s treatment of the prisoners at Guantánamo, the fate of the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, the chaos in Syria and the conflicts in the Middle East. Some have family or friends being killed in these conflicts. For the extreme right wing – and also for mainstream citizens, including moderate Muslims – Muslim extremist terror and fundamentalism are understandably scary. This leads to general suspicion and fear of all Muslims. Social media are a main source of information for young people, and conspiracy theories fuel such polarised views. 36

about the study The  research presented here is part of the project Young People and Political Extremism in Contemporary Norway The  study is based on data from Ungdata Survey Young in Oslo 2015, and was funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training 8500  young people between the ages of 16 and 19 participated in the survey

Mainly against violent extremist views. “Our main finding is positive. Very few young people advocate the use of violence to achieve political change in today’s Norway, even if they support attitudes often found in extremist Islam or in right-wing extremist groups. This is important, since the most serious cases of extremism most likely occur when the whole package of extreme standpoints are expressed,” state Vestel and Bakken. Nevertheless, the study shows that a considerable number of respondents do go a long way toward supporting some of the statements associated with an extremist worldview: Three out of ten believe that the West is threatening Islamic culture and values, and almost as many believe that Islam is threatening Western culture and values. About six percent express their support for the young people who decide to engage in violence in Syria. Three percent advocate the use of violence to achieve political change in Norway or ­Europe today.


Vestel, Viggo & Bakken, Anders: Holdninger til ekstremisme. Resultater fra Ung i Oslo 2015. (NOVA Rapport 4/2016). nova

According to Vestel the findings should not be interpreted as a direct confirmation that many young people support extremism or identify themselves as either far-right critics of Islam or radical Islamists. But the findings do say something about the factors underlying ­attitudes and views that extremist groups may play on to attract young people.


“We see no evidence of the development of marginalised parallel communities in our study.” Anders Bakken, Senior Researcher, Norwegian Social Research

10% totally agree that Islam is threatening Norwegian culture and values


totally agree that the West is threatening Islamic culture and values Who is at risk? Those with the most extreme attitudes often lack friends and have been subjected to bullying and violence. Some have been involved in criminal acts, perform poorly at school and have a more negative view of their future. Young males of immigrant background – particularly those who have experienced religious and ethnic discrimination – are overrepresented. Youth with more unfavourable socio-­ economic backgrounds and those living in poor neighbourhoods are more likely to support some of the extreme views. However, this may be explained by other factors that co-vary with socio-economic conditions, like religion and immigrant background. “We see no evidence of the development of marginalised parallel communities in our study,” says Bakken. A battle in two arenas. The battle against extremism and increasing polarisation should,

according to Vestel, be fought in two arenas. The first is to take systematic steps to ­remove these young people from a ­problematic life ­situation, help them find an identity and ­acceptance in alternative social groups, ­improve their self-image, and to combat racism and discrimination. The second arena is ideological. The fight against increasing polarisation means daring to discuss the contemporary world situation in broader terms, including Norway’s military involvement abroad and its business interests in war-torn areas or in undemocratic regimes. There is also a need to discuss the questionable sides of the fundamentalist religions, which represent views remote from common democratic values. “The best way to address this is through open and inclusive dialogue – be it in the classroom, parliament or in the media,” Vestel concludes.

3% believe that the use of violence is ­justified in order to achieve political changes in Norway or Europe



Ungdata – the national youth survey:


Thanks to the national youth survey Ungdata we now know a lot about Norwegian teenager's life and situation. Written by: Nina Eriksen and Lise Swensen

Illustration: Ungdata

hat do young people have to say about their own lives? That is what Ungdata, a nationwide ­survey conducted amongst pupils in upper secondary schools, is investigating. Since 2010, 330.000 teenagers from 375 of Norway’s overall 428 ­municipalities have participated in the survey. Conducted annually, the survey offers unique insight into the situation of Norwegian youth, and the comprehensive data also enable the researchers to investigate the relationship ­between socio-economic factors and teenager’s prospects for the future.


Six years of annual data. “Although six years is not a particularly long period of time, we are seeing some interesting trends,” says Anders Bakken, head of the Ungdata Centre, at HiOA. “With the new data, we can confirm the ­developments we have seen since the start of the millennium: young people are becoming more well-adjusted and well-behaved.” The figures show that there is a drop in smoking, sniffing, alcohol use, violence and crime among secondary school pupils. ­Moreover, they are spending more time on homework, and a higher number are aiming for higher education than just a few years ago. 38

ungdata Ungdata  covers various aspects of young people's lives, e.g. relationships with parents and friends, leisure activities, substance abuse, health issues, local environment, well-being, and school issues. In  addition, Norwegian municipalities and government agencies can commission reports in order to identify and analyse potential problem areas, and to evaluate ongoing efforts targeted at young people. Ungdata  is financed by the Norwegian ­Directorate of Health. Results,  reports and articles are available on

Relations with parents have also improved. More young people than ever before are stating that their parents know their friends, and their parents are more aware of what young people are doing in their spare time. “From a prevention perspective, this is ­important,” says Bakken, “because we know that involved parents are important when young people are facing challenges in the ­transition to adulthood.” Poverty and psychological ­distress. In a recent Ungdata analysis, researcher Mira Aaboen Sletten and Anders Bakken found that two-thirds of youths from poor families experience significant psychological distress. Amongst youths from families with medium to high socio-economic status, only 17 percent ­experience the same level of psychological distress. The analysis also supports findings from ­previous research showing an increase in ­psychological problems for young people over the last 30 years, especially for girls. D ­ uring the same period, there has been a ­reduction in the traditional risk factors associated with ­psychological problems. This suggests that there has been a shift in the groups of young people that are at risk of experiencing ­psychological distress.



From victim to taking control SCHOOL BULLYING can seriously damage a pupil’s well-being and life prospects. In a qualitative study, researchers at the Faculty of Health Sciences at HiOA investigated whether support groups of pupils can help victims of bullying to overcome their victim status. The study found that support groups contribute to the cessation of bullying and improvements remain 3 months later. Members of support groups feel important and helpful.

Since 2010, 330,000 teenagers from 375 of Norway’s overall 428 municipalities have participated in the survey.


percent of youths in Bjugn municipality enjoy school.


percent of youths in Oslo have at least one close friend.

NORWAY HAS THE COOLEST TEACHERS OR, SO DO Norwegian 8-year olds think. The Children’s World Study asked 17,000 children from 16 countries about their lives and a variety of topics such as school, family, friends, well-being. Mostly, children are satisfied with their lives, but the study reveals large differences between countries on some of the issues. For instance, Norwegian 8-year olds are the most satisfied with their teachers of all the countries. Better training of

teachers has been high on the political agenda in Norway in recent years. Therefore, it is interesting to see that Norwegian pupils seem to disagree with the politicians on the excellence of their teachers.

References: Kvarme, L., G., Aabø, L., S., Sæteren, B. (2016) ‘From Victim to Taking Control. Support Group for Bullied Schoolchildren’, The Journal of School Nursing, vol. 32 (2)

The teacher as mental health coach IN A QUALITATIVE STUDY, researchers found that teachers actively try to promote mental health by facilitating relationships, well-being and learning in the classroom. The teachers in the study expressed responsibility for ‘seeing’ students and ‘recognizing’ those who are struggling with mental health problems. School nurses and counselors provide important support and are someone with whom teachers share their concerns. However, the teacher expressed concern for students with mental health issues that required assistance beyond the resources available at the school. References: Larsen, M., H., Christiansen, B. (2015) ‘Hvordan bidrar lærere til å fremme elevenes psykiske helse?’, Tidsskriftet FoU i praksis, Vol. 9.

References: Rees, G., Andresen, S. & Bradshaw, J. (eds) (2016) Children’s views on their lives and well-being in 16 countries: A report on the Children’s Worlds survey of children aged eight years old, 2013-15. Children’s Worlds Project. 39


First longitudinal study of Norwegian day care:

DAY CARE UNDER SCRUTINY Whether a day care centre is private or public doesn’t seem to matter to its quality. Between flexible and traditional day care, however, there is a noticeable difference. Written by: Toril Haugen

Photos: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold


etter Provision for Norway´s Children is a study that looks at the quality of early-year education and care (ECEC). Together with their sister project S ­ earching for Qualities, this is the first major study in Norway to do so. The study follows 1200 children in 93 day care centres in five different regions over a period of four years, from the age of two until the children begin school at the age of six. "This is an ongoing study that began in 2012, and is expected to be completed in 2018", says Elisabeth Bjørnestad, who is the project leader for the study. Bjørnestad is an Associate Professor and postdoctoral researcher with the Faculty of Education and International Studies at HiOA. "The study is unique in the sense that this is the first longitudinal study that looks into the quality of the day care centre and how this influences the children’s wellbeing, progress and development", says Bjørnestad. Disappointing results. As day care for all children came onto the political agenda in the early 2000s, the percentage of children who attended day care rose quickly from 62 percent in 2002, to 89 percent in 2010. This is seen as an important tool for enabling women to work outside of the home. In order to fulfil this requirement, many new day care centres have been built in recent years. "It is interesting to see if this has affected the quality of the day care centres", says Bjørnestad. In the study, the children’s language (vocabu40

lary and cognitive reasoning) was tested, and the researchers conducted interviews with the parents as well. They have also been analysing the quality of the interaction between adults and children in the day care centres using global tools. "The results so far are a bit disappointing", says Bjørnestad. The study showed that Norwegian day care centres have a slightly lower score than expected, and the score is at a minimal level compared to other countries. Identifying quality factors. The researchers were also able to identify some important factors. The study indicates no difference in quality between private and public day care centres. However, there does seem to be a difference between traditional day care centres and more flexible and open centres (basebarnehager). In the first, the children are placed in separate areas according to age. In an open daycare centre, however, there are no separate areas. Instead the children are organised into different groups. "The flexible day care centres (basebarnehage) had a lower score than the more traditional day care centres", says Bjørnestad. "The study showed that children in open daycare centres have less access to different play tools and material, and this is probably why they had a lower score", she says. According to Bjørnestad, the number of teachers also makes a difference. "Three ­children per teacher seems to be ideal. If there are four children per teacher, we see a negative effect. This has been common knowledge for several years – the study simply proves it".

77.6% of all women between 20 and 66 years work outside the home.

90.2% of all children in Norway between 1 and 5 years of age are in day care centres. Source: Statistics Norway


Illustration photo

Comparative research. This study is also a cooperation between several educational ­institutions in other countries, such as the UK, the Netherlands and the US. Among them are Birbeck University in London, Oxford ­University, the University of North-Carolina, University of Amsterdam (NCKO) and Utrecht University in the Netherlands. They have conducted the same research, using the same tools, and the results are going to be compared between the different countries. "This is quite interesting because day care ­centres in different countries emphasize ­different aspects. Thus they are obviously ­different in terms of their approach to learning, playing and socialising. It is therefore interesting to compare the data and results", says Elisabeth Bjørnestad.

better provision for norway´s children The study covers: 1200  children, from the age of 2 until 6 93  day care centres 5  different regions 4  year period The  study is a cooperation between several different educational institutions in ­Norway: Oslo and Akershus ­University Colleges of Applied Sciences (HiOA), University of ­Stavanger (UiS), University ­College of Southeast ­Norway (HSN) and Nord ­University.

Elisabeth Bjørnestad



Green computing:

A TINY GREEN CONTENDER A tiny operating system has taken on the fight against energy waste among the world’s cloud services. It started out as HiOA research on resource-efficient cloud computing. Written by: Jørgen Lie Furuholt

Photos: Jørgen Lie Furuholt

fundamental ­premise for cloud ­computing is ­sharing hardware between services from ­completely ­different or even competing organi­sations. As a necessary ­consequence, these services must be isolated from one ­another and also from the ­underlying ­hardware,” explains Alfred ­Bratterud, ­Assistant Professor at HiOA. Virtual machines have been the classical mechanism for service isolation in the cloud, but they have also been large and unwieldy. For this reason there has been a trend towards containers as a more flexible alternative.


A cloud’s disadvantage. “The disadvantage of containers is that they share a large amount of code – in fact the whole operating system is shared between tenants. An infection in one of the services can thus potentially spread to the host and all services running on it.” Alfred Bratterud put his PhD on hold and took time off from his position as Assistant ­Professor at HiOA. His research on resourceefficient cloud computing, in particular the development of small, resource-efficient virtual machines, gave him a chance to pursue a career as a full-time ­entrepreneur. 42

Alfred Bratterud, Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Technology, Art and Design


“Unikernels will become more and more relevant for new cloud services.” Alfred Bratterud, Assistant Professor

Less than a year ago the young r­ esearcher presented an article at a conference in ­Vancouver, Canada, formally introducing the operating system which he named ‘IncludeOS’. The system was ­initially developed by Alfred with substantial help from ­Master's student Alf-Andre Walla and the Network and ­System Administration research group at HiOA. At the same time, he released the source code on Github so that it is free and accessible to ­everyone. In business in no time. “The ­immediate response was overwhelming,” recalls Alfred ­Bratterud, now CEO. HiOA asked Kjeller Innovation for help with the task of commercialisation and, with financial support from the Research Council of Norway, IncludeOS was established as a company in less than four months. An investment company provided further funding for the ­company, which now has five full-time ­employees. IncludeOS is also an operating system (OS) for virtual machines hosting resource-hungry online services, often with stringent requirements for performance, resilience and security. It is a ­unikernel: an operating ­system consisting of a code library, where the programmer compiles whatever he/she needs from the

­ perating system in the applicao tion he/she is writing instead of installing the application on the operating system. This means that applications can be started directly on a virtual machine without an intermediate layer. This makes IncludeOS more resource-efficient and ensures very reliable performance. “With unikernels, virtual ­machines have proven that they don't have to be large and slow; they can in fact be significantly smaller and faster than a simple Java program running directly on a host,” Alfred Bratterud explains. A sector-defining company. ­International investors are ­describing IncludeOS as “a chance to build a sector-defining company", giving the young CEO great faith in the company’s future. “Large IT enterprises such as EMC as well as Silicon Valley ­unicorns like Docker are investing in unikernels. Since micro-service architectures, championed for ­example by Netflix, are ­increasing in popularity, unikernels will ­become more and more relevant for new cloud services.” Green computing i­ ncreasingly important. According to ­Greenpeace, cloud computing worldwide consumes more power than the nation of India. To make

a unikernel: An operating system consisting of a code library, where the programmer ­compiles whatever he/she needs from the o ­ perating system in the application he/she is writing instead of installing the ­application on the operating system.

development in this field more sustainable, it is important to promote more energy-efficient systems. Cutting electricity costs by even a few percent will have a huge impact on the bottom line and give the cloud a greener ­profile. Green computing is one of the main interests of the Network and System Administration research group at HiOA. In computer ­science, the most sustainable and resource-efficient solutions tend to be the fastest and most i­ mpressive, i.e. fast and light programs ­consume less power. IncludeOS and Alfred Bratterud’s research are a clear illustration of this. “Currently, two Google search queries produce the same CO2 emissions as boiling a cup of tea,” says the Head of Group and ­Associate Professor, Anis Yazidi. “Green computing is a ­promising research area that is becoming increasingly important. There are multiple paths to progress,” ­Professor Yazidi emphasises. 43

Return address: Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences P.O. Box 4 St. Olavs plass, N-0130 OSLO, Norway

HiOA In June 2016, five hundred nurses graduated from HiOA in two solemn ceremonies in Oslo City Hall, while being accompanied by family, friends and teachers. Roughly, one in seven new nurses in Norway graduates from one of HiOA's three nursing programs.

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Explore HiOA 2016  

Get to know Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) - Who we are and what we do!

Explore HiOA 2016  

Get to know Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences (HiOA) - Who we are and what we do!