NKJ will rework the strategy

The Nordic Council of Ministers is working on a new vision for Nordic co-operation. That means that NKJ will  update the strategy based on the new framework.


The Nordic Council of Ministers. Logotype.NKJ is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. The Nordic cooperation is the base of all of our work and strivings. So when the ministers writes a new vision, we will follow with a new strategy.

The new key words in the new vision will be green, competitive and socially sustainable. Those are all words that we can easily embrace and have already had in mind in our previous work.

A lot of time and resources at NKJ’s secretariat have been used to provide input to action plans and proposals for cross-sectoral projects during the work on the new vision. We are now awaiting the Council of Ministers to complete its work before we start reworking our strategy.

Increased cooperation in reindeer husbandry through the NKJ working group

The working group for reindeer husbandry in NKJ has a revival. It has three new members from Finland, Norway and Sweden and they have already started working for increased cooperation.

See contact informtion for our members here

Scenic view with raindeers walking on a road. Photo.

For several years, there has been a cooperation agreement between the three Nordic countries on reindeer issues. The reindeer husbandry is ancient in the area and there are long traditions linked to the utilization of natural resources  through reindeer husbandry.

Although the legal conditions and problem areas differ, there are also many related issues in reindeer husbandry throughout the three countries. That makes the working group relevant and cooperation important and fruitful.

These are the members of the Nordic Reindeer Committee:

NKJ will come back to reindeer husbandry in different ways, so keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter, or sign up for the NKJ newsletter and you wont miss out on any events or opportunities!

New networks funded by NKJ

The NKJ board had a tricky task to evaluate and rate the ten received proposals in the recent call for funding, but we are happy to present the new networks below! 

The focus areas of the call were:

  • Soil as a carbon sink
  • Alternative proteins
  • Arctic agriculture and climate
  • Extreme weather

All of these are areas have been of special focus for NKJ lately. However, networks focusing on other aspects of Nordic agriculture and food research were also encouraged to apply for funding. In total, ten proposals were received and evaluated by the NKJ board. We are happy to support the six networks in the list below, with activities in 2020 and 2021.

NKJ wants to promote Nordic collaboration among researchers from the agricultural sectors by networking activities such as conferences and seminars and also encourage Nordic researchers and institutions to apply for larger funds by joint efforts. Our funded networks are truly Nordic, since they have to gather at least three Nordic countries! They also need to be gender balanced and we encourage them to actively engage younger researchers and PhDs. 

These are the funded networks:


Resilient Northern Crops Network (NordCrop)
Carl-Otto Ottosen
Århus University


Nordic Crop Wild Relative network – conservation for a more resilient Nordic agriculture
Anna Palmé


Cultured Meat – Nordic Take
Jette Feveile
Århus University


Hrannar Smári Hilmarsson
Agricultural University of Iceland


Exploring pathways to protect soil carbon stocks in agroecosystems
Ji Chen
Århus University


Diversification of the Nordic protein sources
Anne Pihlanto
Natural Resources Institute Finland

At the moment we have an open call for networks in plant health and alternative proteins. Read more about the open call and apply before April 15th


New NKJ networks in One Health

Five networks get funding from NKJ for networking activities in One Health. The decision was made in the board meeting in Lysaker, Norway. 


The board has decided which of the applicants will get funding to develop Nordic research in One Health. Five networks will arrange workshops, meet and write joint large scale applications, all to bring Nordic researchers closer together  and make the best out of our common knowledge.

The call has been opened in two rounds.

Animal welfare

One of the funded networks, NordCAW, is into how animal welfare is interconnected to human wellbeing and environment. A few Nordic and Baltic institutions will be active in the network. Workshops and seminars will be organized and the Nordic/Baltic voice will be stronger in an international perspective. We are pleased to see that the network actively will involve young researchers!

Another of the newly founded networks, Nordic vets against antimicrobial resistance (AMR), will organize workshops and seminars in three Nordic countries to share thoughts about research activities and form a platform for future collaboration on different aspects of antimicrobial resistance. The network is also aiming to longer-term collaboration and to proceed to scientific joint research calls such as H2020.

Three additional networks was accepted for funding in this call with the focus area One Health. We hope you will gain a lot of knowledge, cooperation and good ideas through your new networks!

New board members

The NKJ board has got two new members. Kirsti Anker-Nilssen is one of them. She represents Norway and works on a daily basis on Landbruks- og matdepartementet. The other one is Sæmundur Sveinsson from Iceland, working on MATIS. You are most welcome to join the work for Nordic agricultural research!

Boardmeeting: New call in agriculture and climate

In the autumn, NKJ will open a new call for funding. The focus will be agriculture and climate.

The NKJ board have decided to make a new announcement of financing for research networks during the autumn.

One of the focus areas of the call will be how the soil can be used as a carbon sink. During the spring, NKJ has been working on this issue see our report below. NKJ has also worked very actively with extreme weather and produced a report (see report below) on how the Nordic countries, in the best way possible, can meet the new conditions that a changing climate imply – extreme weather will be another focus area of the call. Denmark has developed a new protein strategy. NKJ hooks up by making protein a third focus area in the announcement. A fourth focus area will be Arctic agriculture and climate.

More info about the call can be found on our website, social media and in newsletters in the autumn.

NKJ loves collaboration

NKJ expands its cooperation with relevant organizations and becomes an increasingly important advisory party to the Nordic Council of Ministers. Several new, exciting collaborations with other organizations have already started.

Responsibility for Nordic reindeer research has been adressed to NKJ via a cooperation agreement between Sweden, Norway and Finland. NKJ is now taking the lead in the work within Nordic reindeer research!

Climate KIC Nordic has expressed interest in cooperating with NKJ, and visited the NKJ board meeting in Akureyri in Iceland. There is already a concrete result of the collaboration; a side event with the theme “Sustainable alternative proteins” at the World Food Summit.

Increased gender equality in NKJ

Increased gender equality in the NKJ strategy is requested. There are several thoughts on how this could be done, such as extending the board with a youth representative and organizing workshops on the subject. As the strategy of the Nordic Council of Ministers is updated, the strategy of NKJ will be rewritten so that it also includes gender equality and social inclusion.

All reporting to be done March 1st

NKJ will also change its reporting system for financed networks. Today, reporting is to be done within the last three months after the project has been completed. In the new reporting template, the deadline is March 1, the year after the project’s activities have been completed. The purpose is to get more structured information that facilitates evaluations and communication of the results of the activities.

NKJ Inside: “Change the food culture”

Meet NKJ board: Liisa Saarenmaa hopes for a more sustainable food culture in the Nordic region. In ten years, she believes that the food is produced closer to the consumer and that we eat other things than today.



Liisa is an alternate member of the NKJ board since 2000. In her view, it is the most important task for NKJ to give the Nordic perspective on agriculture and food research. As a whole, the Nordic research community gains a lot through cooperation. The national research get new approaches and there is a greater diversity and creativity.

– NKJ isn’t as visible as it should be, but still has an important role in the preparation of policy.


Liisa is working on various research issues at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in Finland, nowadays focusing more on bioeconomy than on forestry, as she did before.

Before joining the ministry, she was at the University of Helsinki in Finland, at the faculty of forest ecology.

– My research was about rejuvenation and I used AI as a methodology in my doctoral dissertation.

Sustainable food

A crucial issue in agriculture and food research is, according to Liisa, sustainability. How can our food production and food culture in the Nordic region be sustainable, and how should we relate to the current climate change? The world’s growing population is also an important issue to consider in agricultural and food research.

In order to make the food culture more sustainable, Liisa thinks we must produce our food close to the consumer – ideally, it should be partly produced in our own homes – and eat less meat.

  • In the future, insects become a common part of our food.
  • New Nordic Food is a good example of how to apply national research results in the Nordic perspective. Food, with all its dimensions, becomes more important all the time because of climate change that forces us to change eating habits. That’s the most important thing, from my point of view, right now.

Writes books for her grandchildren

In addition to being sharp in Nordic bioeconomics, Liisa has another talent: she writes children’s books for her six grandchildren. And she also sails her boat together with her daughter and her family.

NKJ board meeting

Group of people outside with forest and tractors in background. Photo.
The NKJ board in June 2018.
Tree people sitting at conference table. Photo.
The board meeting was held in the most southern part of Sweden, at Alnarps castle outside of Lund. Alnarp is the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. Here Siri Anzjøn, Ann-Margaret Grøndahl and Torfi Jóhannesson are listening to and taking part in discussions.
Woman sitting at a computer. Photo.
Suvi Ryynänen.
People sitting at a set table with candel light. Photo.
Dinner and an occasion to talk through all the impressions of the day. From the left: Siri Anzjøn, Niels Gøtke, chairman Nina Solheim Flæte, Sveinn Margeirsson and Suvi Ryynänen
Man sitting outside at a coffee table. Photo.
Niels Gøtke having a nice cup of coffee outdoors, the summer evening is warm.
Landscape in sunset. Photo.
Beautiful evening after a day full of fruitful discussions, decisions and contacts.
Close up on purple flowers, white mansion in the background. Photo.
Morning at Bjärsjölagårds castle and time for excursion.
Three men standing outside at a farm. Photo.
Hans Ramel (in the middle) owns Öveds Kloster, which is the first stop for the day. We got to know a lot about the terms for a big Swedish farm and gets an inside perspective from practitioners.
Dog sitting by the door of a tractor.
One of the coworkers at Öveds Kloster.
Group of people walking on a field, large group of cows in the background. Photo.
Next stop is KC Ranch.
Group of people standing outside looking at the ground. Photo.
NKJ board found a lot of interesting things visiting KC Ranch.
A heard of cows on a pasture. Photo.
The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence… Carl Axel Dahlgren (next picture), owner of KC Ranch has a system for the grazing of the areas.
Man standing next to pasture with cows. Photo.
Carl Axel Dahlgren, owner of KC Ranch.
Man standing in front of a cow. Photo.
NKJ general secretary having a moment with a cow. Wonder if he got a nice picture?
Four people walking on a field. Photo.
Very dry spring has burnt the pastures at KC Ranch. Now leaving for Hällåkra wineyard.
Group of people standing outside. Photo.
Håkan Hansson (sunglasses in the middle) owns the wineyard together with his wife.
Crop field with black sign in front of it. Photo.
“This is where it all started”. The wine grows in rows down the hills.
Five peple standing next to crops. Photo.
NKJ board inspecting the cultures.
Close up on green plant. Photo.
A glass of nice wine. At least a promising start!
Two men standing and one man sitting at a table outside. Photo.
The Hällåkra wineyard gave lots to talk about.
Group of people sitting outside at a set table. Photo.
Lunch under the trees in the garden, tasting the wine that grew about 100 metres away.
Man standing in a doorway gesturing. Photo.
Ebbe Persson, owner of a farm close to the city Trelleborg. We have a look at the multifunctional protection zones.
Group of people standing on a field looking at small crops. Photo.
Ebbe Persson, in yellow t-shirt, shows the sunflowers at the end of the huge sugar beet field.

“NKJ is important by contributing to creating meeting places”

Nina Solheim Flæte will lead the work for strengthening Nordic cooperation in bioeconomy the four coming years. She succeeds Jan Svensson.


Nina Solheim Flæte. Portrait.The new chairman of NKJ is looking forward to contribute to increased Nordic cooperation in agriculture, food and reindeer sectors.

– NKJ has an important role by contributing to creating meeting places and being an arena for interaction between the national research councils and ministries, Nordic researchers and business actors, she says.

Nina Solheim Flæte wants NKJ to strengthen Nordic cooperation in bioeconomics.

–By uniting fellow players in the Nordic region for joint efforts, we can achieve more sustainable and resource-efficient agricultural and food production.

A major theme internationally, especially after the climate agreement in Paris, is the binding of carbon to agricultural land. Expected changes in the Nordic climate can affect carbon emissions and increase carbon emissions from soil to atmosphere.

The Nordic Council of Ministers sees the need for increased knowledge about the effects of climate change on carbon content in soil, and possible Nordic solutions to maintain or increase carbon content. Among other things, there is a desire to harmonize methodology for modeling and emission calculations that can reveal carbon capture and emissions in Nordic agricultural land that can be used for reporting to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

– NKJ will lead the work on following up the Council of Ministers’ decision. This is a great opportunity to focus on an important theme and to strengthen cooperation between the Nordic countries in this area, says the new chairman of NKJ.

Nina Solheim Flæte


Nina Solheim Flæte is educated in Norway, at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences. She has a broad background in agriculture, specialized in plant sciences and she has a PhD in baking quality in wheat.

After a period of research, she changed her career to work with management in The Norwegian Agriculture Agency. She was employed at the Research Council of Norway November 1st 2017. At the Research Council she will, among other things, work with the program BIONÆR whose main objective is to trigger research and innovation for value creation in the Norwegian bio based sectors.