Kate Crosman is a social scientist from the U.S., with expertise in complex governance of oceans and coasts. For the next three years, she´ll be living in Norway, working on the overall theme of “trustworthiness and trust in big data for oceans,” through an André Hoffmann Fellowship in Big Ocean Data. She recently moved to Trondheim.
I arrive in Trondheim in a torrential downpour, toting three suitcases and a crate containing a very disgruntled cat. I’m exhausted after an international move and ten days of quarantine in Oslo, and the taxi driver has a hard time finding the building. I’m told that my apartment has a glorious view out over the fjord, but all I can see from the windows is rain. And rain I am used to, having lived in Seattle, Washington for the last nine years.
I’ve moved from Seattle to Trondheim after receiving a PhD in Public Policy and, followed by two years spent working as a research scientist, all at the University of Washington. I’m here in Norway as a new André Hoffmann Fellow in Big Ocean Data. The André Hoffmann Fellowship for the Fourth Industrial Revolution offers early-career academics the opportunity to work at the intersection of society, science and technology through a joint appointment between the World Economic Forum and leading academic institutions.
The three-year fellowship is sponsored by the World Economic Forum’s Andre Hoffmann Fellowships for the Fourth Industrial Revolution , the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) Department of Marine Technology, SFI Harvest and C4IR Ocean.
All of us share an interest in understanding trustworthiness and trust in big ocean data, as the data move from collection to information and knowledge generation through decision-making and actions. ‘Big data’ is currently a huge topic across scientific disciplines, with much potential for governance, as well as many potential pitfalls. When I saw the position posting, I knew this was an exciting opportunity to do impactful research on a salient and important topic, while applying and extending my expertise. Also: Norway. I knew I had to apply.
After arrival, my work began with much onboarding and getting up to speed. With a lot of support from my supervisors and other Hoffman Fellows, over the first few weeks I also scheduled meetings with all partner organizations. Luckily, all the partners were excited to discuss the very large topic of trust in big ocean data, and enthusiastic about the research possibilities. I also took the opportunity to begin to learn about each organization’s specific interests so that I can identify areas of focus that will be useful to everyone – and of course, interesting for me. I’m trained in the social sciences, with experience in interview, survey, and experimental research into stakeholder knowledge, perceptions, attitudes and decision-making in complex governance of oceans and climate. It’s an excellent foundation to build on, but there’s a lot to learn about the technology, ecology, and social, economic and decision-making systems of the new environments I’ll be studying and working in. I’m again fortunate that there is deep expertise on all of this available among the research partners. It’s an amazing opportunity and I’m excited to get started – at this point, the only issue is there are far too many possibilities. It will take careful fine-tuning of my research agenda to identify and bound specific studies, but that’s just part of the process in a project like this. How do I like Trondheim so far? It transpires that the city is incredibly charming, even in the rain, and when the sun comes out it’s even better. Even the cat eventually ventures out from under the bed and enjoys what turns out to indeed be a spectacular view, complete with both rainbows and auroras.