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Women in Marine Governance: Carolijn van Noort

#WIMG is a PERMAGOV campaign designed to celebrate the role of women in marine governance. Case studies take the form of short interviews where participants share their background, interests, ideas and recommendations for improving the way in which ocean affairs are managed. Each story is unique. By spotlighting our WIMG stars, we hope that readers from all walks of life will be inspired to make their contribution in support of a sustainable ocean. Featured in this case study is Carolijn van Noort, Associate Professor at the Centre for Blue Governance, Aalborg University.

Carolijn van Noort | Women in Marine Governance | PERMAGOV

Current job

In 2023, I joined the Centre for Blue Governance at Aalborg University as Associate Professor. I am in the fortunate position to work on two Horizon Europe projects, PERMAGOV and OBAMA-NEXT. Committed to teaching and learning, I am co-supervising a PhD student who is developing an exciting thesis on the world’s first Energy Islands in Denmark. From 2024 and onwards, I will teach graduate courses using the problem-based learning model.

My typical working day involves all kinds of project management tasks, including project meetings and planning and developing project tasks. Weekly, I set aside dedicated time to read literature, and to write reports and journal articles.

Study and career path

Prior to joining Aalborg University, I held the position of Lecturer in Politics and Public Policy at the University of the West of Scotland. In 2018, I was awarded a PhD in Politics from the University of Otago in New Zealand. My research focuses on communication, policy, and international relations, particularly in the context of emerging technologies, infrastructure development, and ontological security. I have published on these topics in relation to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, BRICS, and Brazil.

My first book, Infrastructure Communication in International Relations (Routledge, 2021), examined how rising powers communicate about infrastructure internationally, and discusses the significance of these communication practices.

My second book, China’s Communication of the Belt and Road Initiative: Silk Road and Infrastructure Narratives (Routledge, 2022) contributes to key debates about Chinese discourse, media strategy and infrastructure communication.

My third book, co-authored with Dr. Thomas Colley, Strategic Narratives, Ontological Security and Global Policy: Responses to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (Palgrave, 2022) examines how states use strategic narratives to persuade others to affiliate with global initiatives, and how target states respond.

I have followed this up with book chapters in the edited book One Belt, One Road, One Story? Towards an EU-China Strategic Narrative (Palgrave) and Critical Issues in Contemporary China (Routledge), and journal articles in Review of International Studies, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, and Global Society.

Participation in PERMAGOV

I am the Work Package 4 Lead in PERMAGOV, which means that I am co-developing an innovative Multi-layered Collaborative Marine Governance (MLCMG) model to assess the performance of marine policies in the case studies. The model will give insight into:

  • The institutional context and structural conditions affecting collaborative processes;

  • The multi-level dynamics of marine decision making and implementation of marine policies;

  • Types of governance arrangements in terms of actors, coalitions, rules, resources and discourses;

  • The characteristics of the collaborative process in which governmental actors (public agencies) in deliberation with non-state actors (representatives of maritime sectors, NGOs, etc.) are engaged in decision making and the performance of marine policies;

  • The way the interplay of formal and informal practices affects the performance of marine policies;

  • The enabling and constraining conditions of e-governance solutions, especially the identified digital tools in the cases.

The model is an analytical tool to describe and explain change and performance in the cases. In the next step of the project, we will validate and refine this model for the 9 PERMAGOV cases.

We will develop two reports:

  • D4.1 Report on the Multi-layered Collaborative Marine Governance Model

  • D4.2 Report on the validation and refinement of the Multi-Layered Collaborative Marine Governance Model for each of the cases

In addition, I am the AAU Project Lead of PERMAGOV. That means that I have an active role in WP1, Project Management and Coordination.

Marine governance

Marine governance in its current form needs to evolve toward a more cross-cutting and agile arrangement. To do so effectively, we need to involve a broad range of actors, including coastal communities, governments, international organizations, and industry. In current and future research in marine governance, it is important to:

  • Pursue inter- and trans-disciplinarity knowledge co-production;

  • Examine the role and use of diverse knowledge systems;

  • Examine opportunities, trade-offs and challenges of governance approaches;

  • Develop ocean-specific theories, frameworks and analytical tools that align with the principles of sustainability, democracy, and legitimacy.


My advice to women in academia is to explore the exciting field of marine governance. I am especially recommending scholars from Social Science and Humanities to seek research opportunities in marine governance, considering the benefits of a broad spectrum of knowledge and skills to explore marine-specific issues. From History, to Anthropology, to International Relations, it is important to foster a network of scholars who can together effectively engage in research on marine governance.

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PERMAGOV has received funding from the European Union's Horizon Europe research and innovation programme HORIZON-CL6-2022-GOVERNANCE-01-03 under grant agreement No 101086297, and by UK Research and Innovation under the UK government’s Horizon Europe funding guarantee grant numbers 10045993, 10062097, 101086297.

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