Working with sustainable protein sources

By Janne Karin Brodin

Jenny på jobb
Jenny på jobb/ Jenny at workPhoto: Privat

Jenny Dahlberg has always wanted to work with something that could securing the future with environmentally friendly food

Jenny Dahlberg
Education: Master i aquaculture
Job: Research technician at Pronofa

Now she is working as a Research technician at Pronofa. A company that she thinks is a trailblazer for new and sustainable protein sources from Ciona and Black Soldier Fly. In her work she specifically works with Ciona, which is a marine filter feeding animal.

“In that term I have started my career within aquaculture just in the right way”, she says.

Pronofa is based in Norway and Sweden, and Jenny works both places. Her main role in the company is to develop Ciona products for pet food, which involves work duties such as processing tests, palatability tests, and feed optimization. But her work is much more varied and involves working duties in other areas as well.

“For example, I am responsible for the aquaculture permissions at our locations in Sweden. I also work at our farm in Norway, where we develop new aquaculture farming and harvesting equipment specifically made for Ciona”, Jenny says.

The best part of my job is the variation it allows

She never knows what a working week will involve, and is fortunate to have a job that is based both at the office-based and duties that are hands on and practical. In the future she hopes to be allowed to develop within the company.

During high school, Jenny studied a special program in Sweden, specialising in marine biology. However, when choosing university program, she felt quite done with marine biology and was interested in learning more about land animals.

She made the decision to study agriculture specialized in animal science. But already after a few weeks she understood that cows wasn´t really the right thing for her.

“But we had a lecture in aquaculture, and then I just knew that this is what I want to work with!”

Norway with its a long coastline and a large aqua industry was the right place

Sweden is not a country specially known for aquaculture and there is almost no education offered within the field. So, she finishes a bachelor’s in animal science and then applied for the master program in aquaculture at NMBU.

“It was quite natural for me to look into master program elsewhere, and NMBU was a place that several people had recommended to me”, Jenny says.

Topics from NMBU were particularly beneficial for her at her daily work, especially courses within animal nutrition and feed. When it comes to the lectures and the teachers, she thinks NMBU offers good lectures with professors that are friendly, professional, and easy to get in touch with for questions and so on.

Jenny still keeps in touch with friends she made at NMBU

Jenny highly recommends NMBU in terms of the student community. She started studying as an international student, and the university offers great activities and help for people from abroad studying at NMBU. She emphasises the introduction week that she thinks was very good. She recommends everyone to attend, as there were several events for international students.

“Altogether, this created an environment where it was quite easy to make friends”.

She still keeps in touch with the friends she made during study, even though they live in different countries.

Advice to future students

“NMBU is a great university, so join all the lectures and try to attend some events that are social outside of school. Enjoy your time, and always prioritize school“,  is Jennys first advice.

She also recommends you work alongside the studies in field related to your specialization if you have the time. Besides studies she had several jobs within aquaculture, like working at the fish lab and feed lab at universities in both Sweden and Norway. She also worked at two different fish farms during summer break.

“This allowed me to apply for jobs with not only a master’s degree but also some practical experience within the field”, she says.

One last advice is to look for a master thesis that interests you and allows for good supervision. Jenny did her thesis with Food of Norway that offered here an office place.

“If you are lucky, your supervisors could also recommend you future working places or even offer you one at the site. In my case, my supervisor recommended me to Pronofa, and in that way I managed to get a wonderful first job after my degree”.

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