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Grant McDermott

Data. Economics. Environment.

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As a postscript to the previous entry, here's a quick story about a newspaper interview that I had last week. It was with one of the major broadsheets of the region and related to the launch of our new website.

The interview itself went pretty well, I thought. The journalist was mostly interested in discussing our aims, as well as how we perceive the public's general understanding of environmental issues from an economic perspective.

At one point, he asked the inevitable question of how I ended up in Scandinavia all the way from Cape Town. I told him that it was mostly down to my interests in these very issues. You'd be hard pressed to find a country that has a better track record of managing its natural resources than Norway. It didn't hurt that I was also lucky enough to receive some generous funding offers.[*]

However, I went on to tell him a joke that I had heard from another Southern Hemisphere expat upon arrival, which is that people like us usually find ourselves in Norway for one of two reasons: Oil or women. It was a throwaway line of course (and quite obviously a jape), and I didn't think much more of it...

I suppose it reflects my media naivete then that I was surprised[**] by the headline that ran above my interview the next day: "Climate, economy and ladies".
[*] E.g. For those of you thinking about doing a PhD \(-\) but can't bear the thought of scraping by on a measly tuition stipend for four/five years \(-\) consider this: Doing a PhD in Norway is treated as a job and you are paid accordingly. That is, your salary has to be somewhat comparable with what a Master's graduate could typically earn outside of academia. Accepted PhD candidates are thus awarded a "research scholarship" which currently amounts to around US$71,000 per annum...
[**] Mind you, probably not as surprised as my (non-Norwegian) girlfriend.