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NIVA towards 2030

Research for a sustainable future


Sustainable development entails meeting mankind’s needs without diminishing the ability of future generations to provide for their needs. Climate and the environment, together with economic concerns and social well-being, comprise central dimensions of the UN’s sustainable development goals. NIVAs research activities contribute to key aspects of these goals: clean water, reduced pollution, healthy ecosystems, robust biodiversity, environmentally friendly urbanisation, sustainable economic development and sustainable use of the oceans and marine resources. 

NIVA’s vision is research for a sustainable future

NIVA works to find solutions for the sustainable development of society by means of a comprehensive perspective of climate and the environment. We are experts on freshwater and marine ecosystems including their interactions. NIVA has expertise in both the natural and social sciences, and we take a multidisciplinary approach to the interactions between water, the environment and society. 

At NIVA we are committed to high-quality national and international research that is relevant and accessible. NIVA offers a stimulating workplace with skilled employees in a rewarding and stimulating work environment. We are inquisitive and adaptable, open to new methods and new types of cooperation. 

NIVA’s values are integrity, relevance, quality and interaction

These values form the basis for our organisational culture and are guides to clear and sound decisions. 


We shall act ethically and honestly in our research and consulting services. We will continue to be independent and impartial, and our work will be built on scientific, research-based expertise.


NIVA’s research and consulting services shall contribute to solving environmental challenges. We shall contribute to scientific knowledge and work towards innovative solutions for the green shift, and towards actions needed to achieve sustainability goals.


High quality is a common feature of NIVA’s work. Research strives to maintain a high international standard. NIVA’s articles, reports, data outputs and consulting services shall be of the highest quality.


We shall have dependable relationships with clients, partners, colleagues and society at large to share expertise and ideas. Our work shall be interdisciplinary and contribute to increase knowledge-based solutions to society’s environmental challenges

NIVA’s knowledge is put to use

Knowledge provides the foundation for sustainable development. Our knowledge of social issues and societal needs ensures that our research and consulting services are relevant and can contribute to finding solutions to climate and environmental challenges. Our goal is for our knowledge to be put to use by society and by our clients. 

Relevance is a prerequisite for the usage of our knowledge, and it is important as a basis for green restructuring of society and industry. In close collaboration with our clients, we will ensure that we can contribute our knowledge to sustainable development. We shall conduct research, advise, consult and provide knowledge as the basis for comprehensive ecosystem-based approaches. 

Visibility is also a prerequisite for the use of our expertise. NIVA shall devote more efforts on media and communication, such that research results better reach relevant user groups. We will strive to disseminate our scientific knowledge in an understandable and user-friendly manner and on communication channels best suited to reach our users. We will strengthen the visibility of both NIVA’s scientific breadth and our unique cutting-edge expertise. In particular NIVA’s knowledge, expertise and activities should be made more visible within marine research, the significance of freshwater for human life, biodiversity, and research in Arctic environments. 

Cooperation is important to ensure that NIVA is equipped to meet the future role of the Norwegian research institute sector. NIVA shall further utilise synergy with Akvaplan-niva and our other subsidiaries, and we will seek strategic and binding collaboration with other institutes. The major social challenges facing Norway and the rest of the world demand multidisciplinary and new sustainable solutions. We shall strengthen collaboration with public and private clients, with universities and with business and industry. 

International cooperation greatly enhances high quality research and is necessary to achieve sustainability goals. We shall further enhance our position in Europe, in part through increased participation in EU research programmes. We shall also continue to be an important contributor to Norway’s environmental cooperation in low- and middle-income countries, and support work on global environmental agreements

NIVA contributes towards the green shift

The green shift requires knowledge and expertise. In Norway, water is an important resource for energy, agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, and accounts for a large share of the Norwegian economy. We shall expand our expertise and our services to strengthen interactions and collaborations with business and industry, as well as public administration and other national and international environmental bodies. 

The aquaculture and the seafood industry are of great economic importance to Norway and have an important role in global food production with large potential for further growth. This growth is dependent on improvements in the industry’s sustainability. Circular economy, new technologies and new species are important topics for the further development of the industry. NIVA and its subsidiaries, Akvaplan-niva and NIVA Chile, have extensive knowledge and activities within these fields. This will be further developed and made more visible in the future. 

Sustainable harvesting of marine resources, including seaweed and kelp, can become an industry that contributes to sustainable blue growth. NIVA has considerable knowledge of these resources and will continue to be a leading provider of this knowledge to the private and public sectors.

Sustainable business development requires knowledge of solutions that reduce environmental impacts. We shall apply our competence and support companies in their endeavours towards improving sustainability. We aim to be a sought-after supplier of knowledge to businesses seeking sustainable and environmentally friendly development and a transition to a circular economy. 

A low-emissions society requires structural changes and effective measures to be put into practice in all sectors. NIVA has much of the expertise that society needs in this restructuring process. We will strive to exploit and apply our competence in new ways, towards new issues and in collaboration with sectors outside of our traditional partners. For example, we wish to strengthen our efforts in areas such as renewable energy and food production.

Bilde av akvakultur.

Nature-based solutions, together with the rehabilitation and restoration of ecosystems, will become increasingly important for minimising the impacts of climate change, contributing to carbon storage, strengthening biodiversity and counteracting pollution. NIVA shall apply and strengthen expertise to develop new and more nature-based solutions.

Sustainable social infrastructure with minimal impact to the environment is of critical importance for the ongoing urbanisation and increased need for transportation and communication. NIVA’s expertise in water, pollution, biology and the social sciences are essential elements in the knowledge base for comprehensive sustainable planning of urban development and transport. 

Climate adaptation is an increasingly important part of societal planning in both Norway and around the world. NIVA has substantial knowledge of the effects of climate change on biodiversity, the environment and society. This knowledge will be further developed and utilised in research and consulting services on climate adaptation.

Inclusive environmental governance is required to build a sustainable society. The challenges today are complex and involve multiple actors with multiple interests. NIVA has expertise on the interactions between people, culture and nature, and what values, perspectives and knowledge are reflected in environmental policy, regulation and management. Knowledge about these interactions is essential for holistic water and environmental governance.

NIVA contributes to solutions for local, national and global environmental challenges

For over 50 years NIVA has strived to create a scientific knowledge base for solving environmental challenges. These challenges are often complex, and the solutions equally so, as changes in climate and nature are intricately interwoven. We must continue to apply our knowledge in new ways to contribute to solving these great challenges. Collaboration within NIVA and with other research environments, as well as with public administration, businesses and industry, and other relevant users, will be crucial. Our knowledge can add to science-based development of policies and measures. 


Environmental monitoring is the most important tool we have for registering changes in nature across time and space. Large data series over large geographical areas, as well as data syntheses, enable us to discern between natural changes and human-caused changes. NIVA shall use new and innovative methods and technologies to understand how natural ecosystems function and how humans impact them. Monitoring must be comprehensive and interdisciplinary, and must integrate environmental challenges, such that solutions can be found to support ecosystem-based management.

Measures to curb pollution and contamination are still central for sustainable societal development. Around the world aquatic resources, humans and biodiversity are constantly under pressure by both well-known and new types of pollutants. NIVA shall build upon our strong traditions within pollution research and contribute to finding comprehensive technological, biological and regulatory solutions. 

Preserving biodiversity is still one of the major global challenges to the environment including human life. The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) points out that the loss of biodiversity is accelerating, and that increasing numbers of species are threatened by extinction. Areas of pristine nature are constantly diminishing. NIVA has substantial knowledge of aquatic biodiversity and ecosystems, and this comprises a crucial research area for a sustainable future.

Climate Change is one of the world’s largest challenges. According to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), global greenhouse gas emissions must be almost halved by 2030 and be net zero by 2050 to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C. Several ecosystems and societies will undergo large-scale changes already at an increase of 1.5°C. NIVA shall strengthen the knowledge base that society and industry need in order to understand the impacts of climate change and find adequate measures for climate mitigation and adaption.

NIVA’s research and consulting services maintain a high international standard

Quality shall be a common denominator for everything we do. Our research must be innovative 
and maintain a high international standard. We shall publish our research in internationally recognised journals and have a presence at relevant conferences. 

Publications in international peer-reviewed journals is a cornerstone for leading international research institutes. We shall strive to increase the number of overall publications and increase the quantity of publications in the best, most influential journals. To the greatest possible extent, research results will be published in open-access journals or on open platforms.

Skilled researchers with good working conditions have been the key to NIVA’s success. NIVA shall facilitate working conditions such that our researchers can conduct high-quality work that produces excellent publications and successful research grant applications. Outstanding research as a career path will continue to be further developed. 

Independent research-based consulting services shall be a characteristic of NIVA. Clients that choose NIVA for investigations and professional advice should be confident that the work produces unbiased high-quality reports and other products as contracted. 

NIVA is an attractive partner in the EU’s framework programmes within our core areas of expertise. We shall be visible in the European research arena, and an active partner in projects financed by the Norwegian and European research systems. 

NIVA is a competitive and flexible organisation

NIVA shall actively adapt its organisation to changes in structural conditions, market opportunities, technologies and knowledge. Our organisation, administration and support systems shall facilitate efficient core activity of high quality in all processes. 

Organisational development will strengthen internal and external interactions. We shall better exploit the professional scientific capacity by working more holistically and across traditional disciplinary barriers. The total shall equal more than the sum of its parts. Our working culture must be open to evaluation and changes, such that we develop and adapt our organisation and working methods to accommodate new societal needs. Recruitment will be based on sound processes and strategic decisions.

Operations and support functions shall provide the basis for quality, efficiency and sound decisions throughout the organisation. The services provided and the capacity of the support services shall be developed strategically in close cooperation with institute partners and external suppliers. 

Well-functioning project processes must ensure effective collaboration and good quality in scientific work organised and conducted on a project basis. The internal competence related to project management and project work will be strengthened.

Personer i jobb på havet.

Digitalisation and “data science” shall be tools of change in NIVA’s research, in the development of new services, and for the streamlining of administrative support. Good systems for data handling, storage and sharing of environmental data are essential for NIVA’s work. 

The research infrastructure shall be adapted and developed in line with NIVA’s current and future needs linked to fieldwork, experimental facilities, laboratories and data acquisition from new sensor platforms. “State-of-the-art” research infrastructure is necessary to carry out high-quality research and maintain relevance, and NIVA shall therefore prioritise infrastructure for biological, chemical and physical research in marine and freshwaters. 

Premises and location must be well suited to the organisation’s scientific, technical and spatial needs and secure a good work environment for all employees. 

The environmental impacts of business operations shall be made evident and negative impacts shall be minimised in travel activities, operation of buildings, waste disposal and purchasing processes. 

NIVA has a positive and inspiring working environment

Employees should be proud to work at NIVA because we contribute toward a sustainable society and generate outstanding achievements. In order to succeed we must attract, develop and retain skilled employees with unique expertise.

NIVA is an attractive workplace as our contribution and social responsibility is both meaningful and motivating. This is a fundamental criterion for our employees to thrive and stay with us. 

We shall work well together and contribute to mutual well-being. We shall maintain and encourage arenas for the exchange of ideas and the sharing of knowledge, as well as for social gatherings and recreation, and continue to promote work-life balance. 

NIVA’s leaders shall be good role models, supportive, clear and inclusive. We emphasize their responsibility and importance in providing a stimulating and nurturing work environment. 

Achieving common goals at NIVA entails a large degree of freedom, independence, cooperation and responsibility. We shall use, develop and share our competence and experience, together with our flexibility to adapt to changes and needs in society.

NIVA’s work environment is distinguished by respect and equality. We treat each other equally and do not discriminate on the basis of gender, age, functional ability, religion, ethnic and cultural background or any other defining aspect of an individual.

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