Dr Camilla Stoltenberg became a national celebrity almost overnight, after she suddenly had to appear regularly on national TV during the Corona crisis as head of Norway’s public health institute FHI. Now she’s left FHI to become chief of the Norce Norwegian Research Center.
Stoltenberg said it was “sad” to leave FHI, where she was part of senior leadership since 2001 and director for the past 11 years. She was nearing the end of her second six-year term, though, and planned to start with something new in 2024.
She told newspaper Dagsavisen that she’d planned to delay any job search until August, but when a headhunter contacted her about the Norce job last spring, she jumped at the chance to work within research and leadership. Norce, based in Bergen, was established in 2018 after a merger of research centers Agderforskning, Christian Michelsen Research, IRIS, Teknova and Uni Research. Norce has around 800 employees working within health, energy, climate, the environment, society and technology.
Stoltenberg will be working from Norce’s Oslo office. “I hope to contribute by creating more cooperation between commercial players and the public sector,” she told Dagsavisen. She also wants to boost Norce’s profile internationally with research of high quality.
She has some good connections, as a daughter of former Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorvald Stoltenberg and sister of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has just formally agreed to extend his term by another year. And even though Camilla Stoltenberg is educated as a medical doctor with a doctorate degree in epidemiologi, she said she won’t shift more priorities to health care research.
“No, I want to be a leader for the entire spectrum of research,” she said. “Health is important, but there are also other research fields at Norce.”
She insisted that her heavy workload at FHI during the Corona crisis isn’t the reason she decided to change fields herself. “I’ve been very enthusiastic about my job, and I had no desire to leave FHI, but my term was running out,” she said.
Gun Peggy Knudsen, an assistant director under Stoltenberg, was named acting director of FHI from July 1, when Stoltenberg left. “We’re in a special time at FHI, with both big and exciting assignments at the institute,” Knudsen said. FHI has seen its budgets cut since the Corona crisis eased but Knudsen indicated it was adapting after a major restructuring.