Successful digital matchmaking – in the time of corona

According to a study from Stanford University in 2017, 39% of all couples found their partners on the internet, and only 20% “through friends”. What works for people who search for love should also work for those looking for a research collaborator. And in an ongoing pandemic, the internet is more or less the only way of finding that partner. It was therefore natural for SNS and NKJ to make the 2020 Matchmaking Day digital.

Text and photo: Mats Hannerz, Silvinformation

 

Malin von Essen was facilitating our first matchmaking day online. It all ended really well and was promising for future online events.

Matchmaking Day is a forum where SNS (Nordic Forest Research) and NKJ (Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural and Food Research) invite researchers and stakeholders from a broad spectrum of disciplines to identify possible partners and ideas for cooperation. The forum, which has been held almost annually since 2015, was switched this year to a digital platform instead of the usual mingling in person.

Focus on reindeer husbandry

The theme of the Matchmaking Day on August 25 was Reindeer husbandry in the arctic bioeconomy. The original intention was to gather potential delegates at a meeting in Inari, Finland in May 2020. But – the corona epidemic made it impossible.

– We talked a lot about a plan B, says SNS’ secretary Mimmi Blomquist, but we soon realised that the pandemic would continue for a long time, so simply postponing the physical meeting was not an option.

Instead, the meeting was held digitally, led by the facilitator Malin von Essen. Altogether 48 people were present for the full-day event.

Digital possibilities

The meeting was conducted using the Zoom platform, one of several online meeting tools. Skype, Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other services have seen an explosion in users since the pandemic forced people to work from home and avoid travelling. In just the first week from 11-18 March, Teams attracted 12 million new users, and Zoom use increased by 169% during the first months of the year.

– There are hundreds of thousands of people who are now learning how to use video conferencing services in an effective way. The changes we have been talking about for 20 years have now been implemented at record speed, says Malin von Essen.

A new reality

In her business, she moderates and organises meetings and workshops with the aim of inspiring people and taking the results back to their organisations. The meetings are normally physical, but in 2020 she had to rethink the situation.

– We carried out several digital workshops during the spring, and we have learnt a lot about the technique and how to use the potential of the services to engage participants, she says.

The Matchmaking Day was organised as a traditional meeting with lectures, but also with several shorter workshops in smaller groups. The digital platform Zoom facilitates flexible group meetings. In “break-out rooms”, participants with a common research interest could discuss cooperation in a group size allowing more intimate discussions, and the results could be presented later to the entire audience.

– Since we have chat functions and can also assemble suggestions using the menti.com tool, everyone can make their voice heard. And afterwards, other people can look at the recorded presentations and the results of the discussions, all being posted on the SNS’ website.

Content with the outcome

Mimmi Blomquist at SNS was impressed with how well the meeting worked out.

– Of course, we need to meet in person, but this is definitely an option that our research networks could use for many of their workshops. SNS and NKJ provide financial support to research networks with partners from all the Nordic countries, and also neighbouring countries. So, partners are often located thousands of kilometres apart, and we can save lots of travel costs and reduce climate impact by using these digital services, she says.

Advices for your coming digital meetings

It is easy to start a video conference, and most researchers and business people are already used to them, but to make the meetings effective, Malin von Essen has some advice:

  • Be clear about your aim and goal – why is the meeting needed and what output do you expect? Then start to think of the content.
  • Before the meeting is live, become familiar with all the functions in the digital platform. Conduct a test meeting with some friends.
  • Ensure that the meeting will function technically. Not all participants are equally comfortable, encourage them to test the technique in advance. Tell the participants to use a headset and web camera, and to avoid distracting surroundings or strong backlight.
  • Schedule breaks in the programme. It is better to have several short breaks than one long one.

Nordic funding opportunities in reindeer research:

The Nordic Committee for Agricultural and Food Research (NKJ) and Nordic Forest Research (SNS) is calling for networks that will strengthen co-operation in reindeer husbandry research in the Nordic region. The applicant must be a researcher or communicator at a research institution. The network must include researchers from at least three Nordic countries.

SNS is calling for networks exploring forests and forestry in relation to reindeer husbandry. The application deadline is September 21, 2020. Apply here!

NKJ prioritises networks focusing on reindeer husbandry in relation to climate change and land-use change, but networks that focus on other aspects of reindeer husbandry are also encouraged to apply. The application deadline is November 20, 2020. Apply here!


SEE THE PRESENTATIONS:

Morten Tryland, professor in veterinary medicine, infection biology at UiT, The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø

  • After a period of clinical veterinary practice, he transitioned to research and has spent most of his research career investigating infectious diseases in arctic wildlife and semi-domesticated reindeer, in close cooperation with Fennoscandian research groups and reindeer herders.
  • Morten told us about reindeer health and supplementary feeding, which is a quite complex issue.

Mortens presentation


Jouko Kumpula, senior scientist at Natural Resources Institute (LUKE), Finland. 

  • He is an animal ecologist and is interested in changes of pastures, reasons for change and how the changes effect reindeer hearding. 

Joukos Powerpoint presentation


Sirpa Rasmus, researcher at the University of Lapland, Arctic center, Finland.

  • She is  agefophysicist and is focused on climate impact studies.  
  • For the last ten years she has been involved in reindeer research, both climate impact research and more general research concerning reindeer. 
  • She works a lot with other researchers in interdicsplinary

Sirpas Powerpoint presentation


Åsa Larsson Blind, Chair of Sámiid Riikkasearvi and vice president of Saami Council.  

  • She lives in Kiruna in the Swedish part of Sápmi. 
  • She comes from a reindeer herding family in Ran reindeer herding community

She is going to speak about her vision of reindeer husbandry in the arctic bioeconomy. 

 


 

Reindeer herding in Fennoscandia – same, same but different

Reindeer owners

 

In Sweden, only a person who is member of a reindeer herding community (Sameby) has reindeer herding rights. An exception is the Concession area in western Sweden (Torne valley), where other locals can own reindeer, but Sámi people manage them.

Norway has similar rules, and only Sámi with rights to a reindeer earmark can conduct reindeer husbandry. In southern Norway, there is a Concession area with a limited number of reindeer, where both Sámi and non-Sámi are engaged in reindeer husbandry.

In Finland, anyone who is a Finnish citizen can own reindeer, but must be accepted as a member of a reindeer herding district. In the northernmost herding area (Sámi), almost all owners belong to the Sámi people. The maximum number of animals that can be owned by an individual in Finland is 300 in the southern region and 500 in the northern parts of the reindeer herding area.

More about reindeers:
Reindeer research in the Nordic countries
Research on reindeer husbandry – international cooperation
Snapshots from Nordic reindeer research

 

Number of owners

SWEDEN has 51 reindeer herding communities (Sameby) with about 4 700 reindeer owners.

NORWAY has 556 Siida units with 2 900 people as members. Of these 2 200 are in Finnmark, the northernmost county in Norway.

FINLAND has 56 reindeer herding districts with about 6 700 reindeer owners. For most of them reindeer herding is a secondary occupation , besides farming, forestry etc. Fulltime herders number about 800, of whom 600 are Sámis.

 

Number of reindeer

The numbers reflect the winter herds, after slaughter but before the calves are born.

SWEDEN has a relatively stable population around 250.000 reindeer.

NORWAY has slightly more than 200.000 reindeer. In addition, a population of wild reindeer (the last population in Fennoscandia besides a newly established in southern Finland) lives in southern Norway (about 30.000 reindeer).

FINLAND has about 200.000 reindeer and a small population of wild reindeer south of the reindeer herding area.

OPEN CALL: NKJ and Swedish Research Council together against antibiotic resistance

NKJ will fund activities 2020-2021 related to antibiotic resistance. The focus is on how low or no utilization of antibiotics can give positive effects on animals, food and environment.

The increased use of antimicrobial medicines in both human and animal healthcare has contributed to an increase in the number of disease-causing microbes that are resistant to antimicrobial medicines used to treat them, like antibiotics. This makes antibiotic resistance a growing threat that could lead to as many as 10 million deaths a year and over €85 million in losses to the global economy by 2050.

In the Nordic Region, we are experienced in keeping the use of antibiotics in agriculture at a low and responsible level because we know that their use can result in the development of resistant bacteria. Yet the problem of resistance is international, and this is why we would like to share our experiences so as to tackle the problem internationally.

For the use of less antibiotics

This call has a special interest in funding activities related to antibiotic resistance. The focus is on how low or no use of antibiotics can contribute to improved animal health, food security, sustainable management of biological resources, increased competitiveness, resilience and reduced climate impact from primary production and diversified rural economics.

With this call NKJ wants to increase North European regional synergy within agriculture and food research, strengthen and establish better contact between the agriculture and food research communities in the Nordic countries. We also wants to encourage Nordic researchers and institutions to apply for funding from larger funds.

Funding for two years

You can submit your application latest September 30th.

You can apply for maximum 400 000 SEK per network for two years. You need to have external funding of at minimum 50 %. We encourage young researchers and PhD’s to participate in the networks, and we strive for gender balance.

In the end of 2019 the applicants will have an answer from us.

 

Call text

Application form

More about applying here

Read NKJ strategy here

NKJ call for activities 2018-2019: Digitization

NKJ (Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural and Food Research) makes a call for researcher networks, especially those working with digitization of agriculture.

The focus of the call is on how utilization of digitization can contribute to sustainable management of biological resources, increased competitiveness and reduced climate impact from primary production, but networks can be funded without this focus.

Sweden will lead the work of the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2018. Based on the possibilities of digitization, the Swedish precidency for the agricultural sector will focus on sustainable management of biological resources, increased competitiveness, resilience and reduced climate impact from primary production and diversified rural economics. How can utilization of digitization contribute to increased degree of innovation, more efficient use of biomass and a more resource-efficient agricultural sector?

The network has to have participants from at least three Nordic countries and the main applicant need to be a researcher or communicator at a research institute or research organization. It has to self-finance the activities to an extent of 50%.

Applications must be submitted no later than 12:00 CET on February 28th 2018.

Read all about the call here

Application form

More about applying here

Read NKJ strategy here

Who is your candidate for this Swedish scholarship?

If you are working in Sweden with science, technical development or enterprise in natural resources and biodiversity, you can propose someone to get a scholarship from Carl XVI Gustafs foundation for science, technic and environment.

Konung Carl XVI Gustafs 50-årsfond för vetenskap, teknik och miljö promotes research and enterprising that contributes to sustainable use of the natural resources and conservation of the biodiversity. You can propose individuals, institutions and companies in Sweden. The scholarship is not meant for already well established researchers.

Five or six scholarships of each 85 000-100 000 SEK are granted.

Call: Kungafonden 2018 utlysning

NKJ Announces a Call for Networking Activities

The aim of the NKJ network call is to:

  • increase North European regional synergy within agriculture and food research
  • establish better contact between the agriculture and food research communities in the Nordic countries
  • strengthen North European agriculture and food research(*) and networking.

Special scope for this call

This call has a special interest in funding networks that aim to through networking among Nordic researchers and institutions, apply for funding from larger funds like e.g. Horizon 2020 or similar activities.

Call for NKJ Networks 2017 for activities in 2017-2019

Application NKJ Networks 2017-2019

 

Call for joint NKJ-SNS networks is open

 

 

 

The network call is announced jointly by the Nordic Joint Committee for Agricultural and Food Research (NKJ) and Nordic Forest Research (SNS).

The aim of the joint call is to promote Nordic cross-sectorial collaboration among researchers and stakeholders from the forest and agricultural sectors by networking activities. See link below.

http://www.nordicforestresearch.org/sns-research/networks/sns-nkj-networks/