Skip to content
Main menu hidden.
Published: 2010-02-08

Marine research at Umeå University receives top marks

NEWS An evaluation of marine research in Sweden has given two projects at Umeå University the best ranking in their respective areas. The report concludes that marine research in Sweden is of high quality, but that the results often fail to reach the relevant stakeholders involved. However, researchers at Umeå University have succeeded in engaging stakeholders at the local, national and international level.

There were a total of six thematic areas were examined, and a research project for every area was highlighted as “best practice.” The two projects at Umeå University that received high evaluations were in the thematic area of eutrophication led by Agneta Andersson, Professor of Pelagic Ecology at Umeå University, as well as the thematic area toxic chemicals led by Mats Tysklind, Professor of Environmental Chemistry and Karin Wiberg, Senior Lecturer in Environmental Chemistry.

The panel was unanimous in top scoring Angeta Andersson’s project and they congratulate the research team for the overall quality of the study. The researchers examined how marine food chains in the Bothnian Bay are moving from plankton-dominated systems to those dominated by the bacterial decomposition of land-derived organic material. Climate change, according to the research, will exacerbate this shift due to increased river flow and average temperatures. The consequence may be a major decrease in productivity of the system at all levels. This work has already generated excellent publications in highly ranked scientific journals. The researchers understood the societal relevance of their conclusions and made considerable effort to engage with stakeholders at the local, national and international level. The work is important for Sweden and Finland in setting objectives for the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive and has major implications for similar systems around the world.

In their study, Karin Wiberg and Mats Tysklind examined dioxins and their levels of sediment along the Swedish coast. The evaluation panel highlighted their use of state-of-the art methods and the innovative methods for dioxin source identification. The findings have high relevance and have been published in popular science articles and in Swedish reports. During the project there was a continuous dialogue with all the relevant stakeholders; the industry, Swedish EPA and the county administrative board. The Swedish EPA has launched a new call based on the results from this project. New collaboration projects with the county administrative boards have been started. In meetings with industry, advice concerning remediation and sampling has been given.

The evaluation, which has been submitted to the national government, is performed by the Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning (Formas) and Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Swedish EPA), and applies to funding for projects and programmes that had funding between 2003 and 2009. The international evaluation panel consisted of researchers and stakeholders with backgrounds in marine science, three from Sweden and eight from other nations in Europe.

The Evaluation of Marine Environmental Research in Sweden can be downloaded at: http://www.formas.se/upload/dokument/Utv%C3%A4rderingar/MarEval_Report_01.02.10.pdf
For further information about the evaluation, contact:Lisa Almesjö, Swedish Research Council FormasPhone: +46 (0)8-775 40 53Mobile: +46 (0)70-385 4053
E-mail: lisa.almesjo@formas.se

Gunilla Lagerstedt, Swedish Environmental Protection AgencyPhone: +46 (0)8-698 1309
E-mail: gunilla.lagerstedt@naturvardsverket.se

For further information about the research project, contact:Agneta Andersson, Professor of Pelagic EcologyPhone: +46 (0)90-786 79 75Mobile: +46 (0)70-509 42 60
E-mail: agneta.andersson@emg.umu.se

Mats Tysklind, Professor of Environmental ChemistryPhone: +46 (0)90-786 6668
E-mail: mats.tysklind@chem.umu.se

Editor: Karin Wikman