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Scandinavian Reports

Visiting the Norwegian Social Research Institute (NOVA) 

Visiting the Norwegian Social Research Institute (NOVA) 
May 24, 2023 

Interview with Jimmy De Lara Anderson 
Website: https://www.oslomet.no/en/about/nova 


 

The Norwegian Social Research Institute (NOVA) is a department at the Oslo Metropolitan University that is dedicated to doing research on growing up, quality of life, welfare services and policy as well as aging and life courses. They initially began as a private operation and then became a department within the Oslo MET in 2014. As described by Senior Consultant Jimmy De Lara Anderson, the organization researches the challenges that humankind faces from cradle to grave. The department is made up of professors, research scientists, informants, and undergraduate students. They concurrently conduct hundreds of projects on welfare and accessibility at once. 

The way their process works is that often they receive a request from the government to research a specific topic or issue. The government allocates a certain budget or compensation for the group to look into a specific issue for a certain amount of time. Oftentimes, NOVA competes with other research institutions for these grants as well. The Norwegian government requests these reports as they need evidence to justify the creation of specific policies or budgets. It allows them to have an understanding of current society as well as be aware of future expectations and take relevant precautions. Anderson describes it as informing the government on what is the best sacrifice to make.  

Anderson describes the attribution to NOVA’s success to be in part due to its funding from the University and Norwegian government, but also just the culture of the Norwegian people. He says that the Scandinavian welfare model is what he imagines other parts of the world are striving to model themselves toward; the mindset that everyone feels that they need to chip in. He says that the expectation is that the wealthiest are those that contribute the most and even those who have less to give feel a sense of duty. An example he sites is the difference in basic things like healthcare that are practically free in Norway. 

As a Senior Consultant, Anderson describes his job as ultimately to make sure that everything runs smoothly so that the researchers can focus on research. There are two main sections within NOVA: those actively researching and those working administratively. Administration includes human resources, finance, controllers, and key advisors on specific EU projects. I found Anderson’s office on the second floor of one of the buildings on the Oslo MET campus. The architecture and interior design clearly portray a research-oriented environment. The people there were friendly and very helpful in aiding me to find my destination. The building was bustling with students going up and down the stairs (an interesting anecdote is that almost no one used the elevator in this 7-floor building). NOVA occupied both the second and third floors of this building. Coming from the south side of Oslo, the campus can be reached by taking the Ruter 19 Tram Line.  

Anderson’s experience as a resident of Denmark who had moved to Norway was quite interesting. He cites that Danish people are often more open and willing to help while the Norwegians mind their own business. Maybe this is part of the reason why Anderson opened his office doors to me. Nonetheless, Andersen was able to appreciate the Scandinavian model and its evidence in both countries. It might prove fruitful to speak to someone in the research department of NOVA. 

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