The industry facilitator

Jens-Erik Dessen (30) has work experience both as a research scientist and employee in the seafood industry, a combination that is important for the job he performs at Nofima.

What begins as an ordinary day in the office at Ås can quickly take you to the edge of a net pen in Northern Norway.

– It is hard to predict how your work week will look. In principle, you may have scheduled regular business weeks, but suddenly something happens at one of the facilities where we operate a large-scale research project, so then you have to just move out and get there to take samples of the fish, the researcher explains .

The lad from Røyken has been interested in fish and fishing since childhood. He still spends his free time trying to get sea trout to nibble at his hook. Jens-Erik is really not bad, when it comes to getting fish to eat.

Doing his PhD

– My major is nutrition and production biology of Salmonidae in the ocean. I am doing my PhD at NMBU in conjunction with the projects and data material I have here at Nofima, he says.

The research he has participated in is already implemented in some commercial enterprises. Experiments showed that by adjusting the amount of fat up against protein content in salmon feed, the fish became less sickness prone. In fact, in some trials, they reduced salmon-fish mortality by one-half. In other words, Jens-Erik’s research results in major and relatively immediate value creation.

Grand-scale experiment

Right now he is involved in a large-scale trial in strategic feeding being conducted in three regions, in Northern, Central and Southern Norway, and he realises how useful it is to have networks in the various industrial environments. He worked for a brief period in Lerøy as a company biologist before he was offered a position at Nofima.

-Perhaps especially because I have the experience I gained in the industry, I think it is extra exciting to work with industry-related issues: Being able constantly to solve problems that the industry faces, or to make small improvements that can yield major effect.

Travels a lot

A normal workday at Nofima can be varied, and this is one of the things that appeals to Jens-Erik Dessen right now. He has travelled a lot in Norway, and he has seen the differences between the South and the North in how they operate fish farms. It’s all about environmental impact, water temperature, access to light and darkness, weather and wind. At the same time, really enjoys the working environment at Ås, where being able to move between offices and seek advice and expertise from colleagues is part of his daily routine.

– We give impetus to one another by discussing openly with each other. I very much appreciate this, Jens-Erik Dessen says.



2002-2005: Røyken Upper Secondary School

2005-2006: Military service, The Navy

2006-2009: Bachelor’s degree in aquacultural science at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

2009-2011: Master’s degree in aquaculture, NMBU

2010-2011: Research technician, Centre for Fish Research, NMBU

2011-2012: Company biologist, Lerøy Mid-Norway

2012 – Research scientist at Nofima, aquaculture section

2014 – Started a PhD at NMBU, Department of Animal and Aquacultural Sciences


When I got the offer to begin working at Nofima as a researcher after working one year in the industry as the company biologist. Ever since childhood, I have always been fascinated by marine life and life on the ocean.