Contributing to a sustainable blue economy
When Steffen Juranek left Frankfurt for Bergen in 2013, it was to research and teach at NHH. He now contributes to a more efficient and sustainable use of ocean resources.
‘Did you know that only two percent of the food we eat comes from the sea, even though 71 percent of the earth's surface is covered by oceans?’, asks Steffen Juranek enthusiastically.
He is an associate professor and the new Academic Director of the EMBA with specialisation in Seafood Management from NHH Executive, a further education aimed at players in and around the seafood industries. The potential for knowledge-based and sustainable use of ocean resources is enormous, according to Juranek.
‘Fish is the future if we want to feed an ever-growing population, but it must be done sustainably,’ he says and highlights challenges to be resolved:
‘Some of the issues linked to the extraction of ocean resources relate to overfishing and the limitations of fish production near the coast. The salmon-lice problem is also something that needs to be resolved. Is it possible, for example, to move production away from the coast and engage in aquaculture on a large scale? Seafood management can make a real difference here.’
‘Big shoes to fill’
Before he came to Bergen, Juranek studied business administration in Frankfurt, where he also took his doctorate. After studying in his homeland, he moved to Norway to take up a postdoctoral position at NHH.
‘The plan was to stay for four years, but I’m still here.’ Over the years, I’ve contributed to several programmes at NHH Executive, but this is the first time I’ve taken on the role of academic coordinator,’ he says, and continues:
‘Professor Linda Nøstbakken left big shoes to fill. She did a fantastic job with the seafood specialisation at NHH Executive and now we are continuing the good work that has already been done.’
A Global Centre
The seafood specialisation at NHH Executive offers a general EMBA with a strong focus on the opportunities and challenges facing the seafood industry.
‘That is why innovation, sustainability and globalisation are recurring topics throughout the specialisation. The specialisation gives breadth and depth of study through coursework that is topical, relevant and tailored to address critical issues facing the seafood industry today and in future,’ says Kristin Aarefjord Stave, Programme Development Manager at NHH Executive.
Bergen and the rest of Western Norway are already a global knowledge and business hub for seafood industries.
'The specialisation has an international reach, and we aim to attract a diverse group of international students. We will thereby create links between the seafood industries in Norway and abroad,’ Juranek adds, before continuing:
‘The industry needs this specialisation for two reasons: firstly, there is the network building and resulting exchange of knowledge. Secondly, the EMBA with specialisation in Seafood Management is a programme with a sound academic basis and very high practical relevance, which NHH is known for offering to a range of different industries. The participants will be introduced to the latest research and knowledge that they can use to resolve the challenges facing the industry.’
A small city in a big world
How was it to move to Bergen from the big city of Frankfurt? On the surface, people from Frankfurt and people from Bergen are quite similar, according to Juranek.
The thing is, one might think that the cities and their mentalities are just the same. Moving from Germany to Norway is more about the small differences, the ones that are a bit difficult to catch. For example, what is acceptable and what is unacceptable to say?’
‘Is it true that Norwegians are reserved?’
‘It's probably more of a myth than a truth. I think it's more difficult to get close to Norwegians in everyday life, but once someone invites you into their home, then you feel the warmth. The key to friendship is quite literally stepping over the threshold.’
‘We don’t know’
Juranek is married and has two children, aged one and three. Both spouses are in full-time work.
'Is it difficult to combine life with young children and a career?’
‘My wife will love that question,’ says Juranek and laughs, before adding:
‘This is precisely the advantage of Bergen. It’s a small city that eases the logistics for parents of young children. It takes me five minutes to get to work and kindergarten is not far from NHH. We manage to balance family life and a professional career very well.’
‘Will you and your family move back to Germany at some point?’
‘We often get asked that and the answer is simple: we don’t know,’ he says with a smile.