How can we achieve better health for humans, animals, and the environment? This is the challenge students and researchers will work on when the education project NorBra receives support for four new years.
For four years, Professor Daniela M. Pampanin at the Department of Chemistry, Bioscience and Environmental Engineering has gathered the best students from the University of Stavanger and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro to learn more about challenges for public health and the environment. Now the collaborative project NorBra has received NOK 3 million from Diku (the Directorate for Internationalization and Quality Development in Higher Education) to continue the work of equipping the new generation with tools and interdisciplinary knowledge to face challenges in human and ecosystem health. The approach in the education project is called One Health. The idea is to create and execute programs, policies, legislation, and research where several sectors communicate and work together for better public health.
It all started with a meeting in Brazil in 2016. Pampanin joined forces with a Brazilian researcher to create a collaborative project between the two countries.
«Our knowledge was based on individual projects. With a large academic environment behind us, it was easy to bridge,» says Pampanin.
The first project started in 2017 and ends this year, before they start a new period directly. Students will increase their knowledge of the environment, humans and living organisms by means of a strong academic environment. Stavanger University Hospital (SUS) and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) are among the partners. With these on the team, students get the opportunity to go deeper into public health fields such as cancer, environmental impacts, and food health.
«Exchange of knowledge is the main product from the project. Students can go in depth and get the chance to continue their studies as doctoral students. We help them reach the next level,» says Pampanin.
Summer school in Macae
Until a certain pandemic closed the world, the students gathered at a summer school in Macae, Stavanger's twin town in Brazil, every summer. An intense week with fieldwork, group assignments and guidance from professors, all with a holistic approach where an understanding of human beings in the face of nature is central.
«The students love it! The summer school is a good experience when they enter an academic career path,» says Pampanin enthusiastically. She is passionate about the project.
«Linking public health and the environment is important. We are happy to have SUS on the team, their contributions are of great value.»
Perhaps most important is the exchange of knowledge with a large country like Brazil.
«A small university like Stavanger must look out and reach out. We have created a good collaborative atmosphere in the group. Together, we help to increase environment awareness,» concludes Pampanin.
Text: Kjersti Riiber