Meet AFI's Marie Curie-fellows

OsloMet campus Oslo
Jessica Dimka at OsloMet

Jessica Dimka Photo: Sonja Balci

"Be ambitious and take chances!"

Please tell us about your project!

My project combines two of my research interests: how social conditions and behaviors influence the spread of infectious diseases (with a particular emphasis on the 1918 flu pandemic), and disability. During the first phase of the project, I will collect and analyze archival records of the 1918 flu experiences at psychiatric hospitals and schools for children with disabilities, etc. Then, I will build a computer simulation model that will allow me to test different hypotheses about the spread of flu within these settings. My goal is to better understand how, when and why people with disabilities might be at increased risk during epidemics, hopefully helping to improve preparedness plans in the future. 

How is life as a researcher at OsloMet?

Great so far! Colleagues are friendly and supportive, and I’ve been able to be productive while also having the time and opportunity to get to know Oslo. 

Do you have any advice to other researchers who are planning on working in Oslo?

Be ambitious and take chances – I did not know if my project was even feasible when I first proposed it, but it was something I really wanted to do and the people here were enthusiastic about finding ways to make it work. 

Do you have any favorite spots in Oslo?

Some of my favorites are the city center/Aker Brygge area, Sognsvann and the Viking Ship museum.  

Portrait of Nico Groenendijk

Nico Groenendijk at OsloMet Photo: K. Ziesler

"Researchers can follow their own curiosity here"

Please tell us about your project!

I am researching the European patent system. Patents are granted to inventors, to protect their inventions, in which they have invested time and energy. Patents are thus important for innovation, but they also have other important ethical and societal effects. In an earlier OsloMet project, on patent ethics, in which I participated, we looked at how the European Patent Office (EPO) and the national patent offices that work together in the system take into account these other broader societal considerations in their decisions. We found that they hardly do so. The current system is a rather closed system, run by lawyers and engineers, who hardly relate to the outside world. We found that the EPO has serious accountability, legitimacy and governance problems. My project, on the governance of the European patent system, PATGOV, follows up on that, and looks at ways to improve that.

How is life as a researcher at OsloMet?

Relaxed. Even though people work hard, the balance between work and private life is much better than in many other countries. What I like about OsloMet and AFI is that researchers are given a lot of autonomy, can pursue their own research interests and follow their own curiosity.

Do you have any advice to other researchers who are planning on working in Oslo?

Go for it!

Do you have any favorite spots in Oslo?

Many: the Oslofjord, Bygdøy, Vigelandsparken, Akerselva and all the hiking possibilities north of the city.

Go Yoshizawa

Go Yoshizawa at OsloMet Photo: Nina A. Haslie

Go Yoshizawa (Japan)

Read the PEPPER project blog:

Go's profile on Research Gate

"A healthy work-life balance is valued highly"

Please tell us about your project!

My project, called PEPPER, is about figuring out ways in which a wide range of people can engage with science. Half of the public does not take interest in science, but they enjoy scientific achievements, such as smartphones, healthy foods and warm beds, in their daily life. I have been exploring under what conditions they can form positive and sustainable relations with science and innovation.

How is life as a researcher at OsloMet?

It is absolutely wonderful to be able to concentrate on my own research! Research managers, administrators and librarians are very kind and helpful, and facilitate both my professional life and my family life here in Oslo.  Compared to Japan, I feel much more relaxed and independent. It is also interesting to learn more about research and researchers in Norway and North Europe. 

Do you have any advice to other researchers who are planning on working in Oslo?

As is well known, the cost of living is extremely high in Oslo. But there are many tips and tricks to save money and still enjoy life here. In Norway, a healthy work-life balance is valued highly, and most of my colleagues start work early and go home early in the afternoon, to spend time with family and loved ones, and/or engage in different recreational activities. I believe a stay here therefore is a good opportunity to rethink and maybe change your work-life balance, as well as explore ways to work more effectively and efficiently.

Do you have any favourite spots in Oslo?

Sogn hagekoloni, the urban allotment gardens near Ullevål Stadion. I hadn’t heard about the place, but my little daughter once took me there after visiting the gardens with her kindergarten. That is the most beautiful and peaceful place I’ve ever visited in Oslo. Stovner is where you can enjoy fresh air and greenery on a walk in spring and cross-country skiing in winter. I also love to go to Tjuvholmen and Ekeberg with my kids for sunbathing and forest walks.