Jens Olsson's declaration of intent

Last changed: 06 October 2021

Jens Olsson. Researcher at the Department of Aquatic Resources

I am hereby a candidate for being a member of the faculty board at the NJ faculty for the coming three-year period.

As a researcher at the Department of Aquatic Resources since 2011, I have focused my work on environmental monitoring and assessment including management support (advice), with significant elements of research and also collaboration with the surrounding society. Over the years, I have led projects funded by the Swedish Agency for Marine Water Management with a focus on coastal fish, fish communities and ecosystems. The work has had a clear focus on the Baltic Sea, at both the local and national level as well as the international arena within HELCOM and ICES. Since 2011, I have been chairing an expert group for coastal fish within HELCOM, with the aim to harmonize monitoring methods, develop assessment methods and undertake status assessments for coastal fish within the framework of, among other things, the Baltic Sea Action Plan (BSAP) and the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

My work at SLU has had a clear connection to applied research where the majority of the data I have used origins from environmental monitoring and analyzes I have performed to provide management advice, later also have been published as scientific articles in international journals. In addition to countless reports and government advices, I have since 2011 participated and led the work of publishing over 30 scientific articles that have almost exclusively originated from work within environmental monitoring and assessment. My focus has also led me to participate and lead applications that have been granted research funding. In addition, I have supervised two master's students, one doctoral student and one postdoc, whose work all had a clear connection to environmental monitoring and assessment at SLU. In recent years, I have expanded my work by during four years being the coordinator for one of SLU's largest environmental monitoring and assessment programs (Coastal and sea areas), for three years acting as the deputy head for the Institute for Coastal Research, and since 2019 being the coordinator for SLU Water Forum.

Since the interest for fish in the Baltic Sea is high, I have devoted a fairly significant part of my time to collaboration in various forms. Partly as management support and advice, writing popular science reports, and as an invited speaker at countless national and international conferences, meetings and events. Through my assignments as a coordinator for the environmental monitoring and assessment program Coastal and sea areas and SLU Water Forum, I have also gained good insights in environmental monitoring and assessment at SLU, as well as the water-related research, environmental monitoring and assessment, and collaboration at SLU, something I feel I am passionate about.

Given my background and work during my more than ten years at SLU, it is perhaps not surprising that I aim to strengthen the role of environmental monitoring and assessment at SLU if elected to the faculty board. Environmental monitoring and assessment represent an unique assignment for SLU where we play a crucial role in the management and development of areal industries and the associated environments and ecosystems, both on land and in the water, both locally and nationally in Sweden as well on the international arena. Environmental monitoring and assessment give invaluable results and unique knowledge, something I want to encourage that SLU to an even greater extent than today will consider in research, scientific publication and education. Environmental monitoring and assessment also generate unique data and time series that can rarely or never be generated within time-limited research projects. This data provides insights for large-scale environmental changes and the human impact on ecosystems. At the same time, it is of the utmost importance that the environmental monitoring and assessment has a close connection to research and development work. Such a connection guarantees a quality assurance and a development of the management support to authorities and decision makers.

In addition to a close connection between research, education and environmental monitoring and assessment, I also like to contribute in promoting SLU's collaboration with the surrounding society. It is only when we have a good collaboration that we can reach out with our knowledge and research, and thus be able to contribute to a more sustainable development of our environment and use of natural resources. To achieve this goal, SLU must be visible in relevant arenas and participate in important contexts where managers, decision makers, the private sector and the general public are active. Only when SLU is an obvious and important collaboration partner in the areas of our expertise, we can also to a greater extent attract students, as well as junior and senior researchers. SLU is a relatively small university and I quite often experience that we are unknown to the wider public and many authorities. I therefore believe that increased visibility and collaboration can contribute to developing our operation and make us better known as an attractive partner, training place and knowledge hub with a focus on sustainable development of the environment.

I firmly believe that a strengthened internal collaboration and exchange of experience is one of the basic prerequisites for SLU to be able to develop as a university attractive to employees and external stakeholders. At SLU, we have an enormously broad knowledge base on issues concerning, among other things, forests, agricultural land, animals, water, oceans, cities and biodiversity. In this respect, I think we are unique. There is an increasing demand for ecosystem and landscape-wide approaches and research for which SLU harbors a unique competence. To further develop and strengthen this subject, however, increased internal transdisciplinary cooperation and exchange is needed. I therefore also want to contribute to an increased and strengthened internal cooperation at SLU especially so in the water area and on the connection between land, water and sea. Water issues are constantly high on the agenda with national initiatives such as Forma's national research program for seas and water as well as the upcoming call from Mistra focusing on marine ecosystems and blue economy being current examples. Only via strong internal collaboration at SLU will we be able to generate competitive applications for these calls.

To that end, I am affiliated to SLU's largest department, with a broad focus on water issues, from freshwater to marine ecosystems. Our department have a strong tradition of environmental monitoring and assessment, applied research and collaboration within our focal areas. I believe that this experience and knowledge that can contribute to the continued development of the NJ faculty.