SNAPSHOTS From chr. Michelsen institute


Christian Michelsen (Norwegian Prime Minister, 1905–1907) has a prominent place on the wall in our Director’s office. He believed in the power of people and knowledge to solve challenges and move the world forward. He gave his wealth to the establishment of the Chr. Michelsen Institute for Science and Intellectual freedom, assigning the institute with a special mission: “to foster tolerance and understanding between countries and people.” His vision continues to inspire us. Tolerance and understanding is more important now than ever.

Just Faaland (1922–2017), our first Director, turned CMI into a development research institute and paved the way for our current challenge driven research agenda.


Knowledge changes lives. To us these are not just words, but the very reason why we work at CMI. We study the dynamics that keep people in poverty to find mechanisms that can improve their lives. We investigate what it will take for governments in developing countries to give the best possible health services. We research how human rights can become a reality for all – irrespective of geography, gender, religion or sexual orientation. CMI researchers have many research interests and priorities, and all projects are anchored in global challenges.


Creativity can be chaotic. Research demands a clear head and adherence to rigorous methods, but also a warm heart. Working on how to solve real-life challenges and coming up with sustainable solutions, calls for open and curious minds. We value unconventional and innovative ideas. We do not know what works until we have tried, until we have tested our hypotheses, shared our findings and listened to the voices of fellow academics and practitioners.


We believe in the strength of closely knit teams. The best ideas emerge when we listen to each others’ perspectives, learn from each other, collaborate across disciplines and think outside the box. We value each other’s company and respect each other’s ideas. This makes for good research.


We travel a lot. Our journeys are both intellectual and physical. When the first development researchers started to work at CMI in the 1960s, they were expected to spend at least six months every year in developing countries. Today, our staff collectively spend around 1400 days a year on the road. The urge to ‘go out there’, the importance of spending time in the field, is an integral part of our DNA.


CMI has a strong tradition for forming partnerships. Our partners in the global South influence our research questions, our methods and our perspectives. We also invest in dialogue and interaction with decision makers because we want our research to inform policy. We welcome guests from all over the world to Bergen for seminars, workshops and project cooperation. Our international work environment is one of our strongest assets.


Open to new ideas, perspectives and input. Open to dialogue and interaction.

We are also open to you.



Magne Sandnes

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