Research for Development and Justice

About CMI

CMI is an independent development research institute in Bergen, Norway. We generate and communicate research-based knowledge relevant for fighting poverty, advancing human rights, reducing conflict and promoting sustainable social development. CMI’s research focuses on local and global challenges and opportunities facing low- and middle-income countries and their citizens. Our geographic orientation is towards Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Research for Development and Justice

CMI Strategy 2011-2015

CMI's core purpose is to work towards a world of mutual tolerance and respect, where global justice prevails and where poverty is the exception. We believe that research-based knowledge can help drive the changes to realize this vision.

CMI’s work features:

  • High standards of academic scholarship in a multidisciplinary environment.
  • Solid contextual knowledge developed in close cooperation with local partners.
  • Extensive research communication with scholars, policy makers, practitioners, and the public.

Our most valuable asset is our staff. We are committed to working together to learn more, benefit from one another’s strengths, and bring out the best in all of us. Our work is guided by our core values:

Core values

  • Quality – to maintain our credibility
  • Integrity – to reflect high ethical standards
  • Respect – to promote fertile cooperation both externally and internally
  • Engagement – to foster solidarity with the poor and vulnerable and help bridge the gap between knowledge and action.

Research: Quality and Relevance

CMI aims to be internationally recognized for the quality and relevance of our work.

  • Address important questions for development and justice
  • Strengthen contextual knowledge
  • Engage with leading international researchers

Cooperation: A Valued Partner

CMI grows stronger through partnerships with other researchers and research institutions, locally and internationally.

  • Be an attractive partner for research institutions in the global South

  • Be a driver of development research in Bergen

Communication: Exchange of Knowledge

We are dedicated to communication and dialogue to bridge the gap between knowledge and action, and to ensure the quality and relevance of our work. We will target those who can change policy, practice, and public opinion.

  • Promote academic publishing.
  • Engage in dialogue with policy makers, practitioners, and the public.
  • Communicate in the Global South.

Organizational Development: Bring out the best in each other

An efficient, professional, and financially robust organization that brings out the best in all staff is essential if we are to deliver on our objectives

  • Build strong teams.
  • Create a vibrant learning environment.
  • Recruit more broadly.
  • Increase CMI’s financial robustness.

Contact CMI

We welcome your interest in our activities. Do not hesitate to contact us for further information or comments:

Chr. Michelsen Institute
P.O. Box 6033, N-5892 Bergen, Norway
Street address: Jekteviksbakken 31
Phone: +47 47 93 80 00
Fax: +47 55 31 03 13

Where to find us:

Who we are

We research the challenges and opportunities that people in low- and middle-income countries face every day. We aim to inspire and inform, providing knowledge that can be turned into practical tools for reducing poverty and inequality.

CMI is an independent research institute dedicated to understanding and addressing the real life challenges of the poor and vulnerable. Located in Bergen, Norway, we are 70 hard-working staff members with specialist expertise within selected topics. Our driving force is a wish to contribute to development by ending poverty and reducing inequality with research that holds a high standard. We strive to have a research agenda that addresses the relevant issues.  The possibility to ensure healthy lives for all are unprecedented. Getting there requires political commitment and tough priorities. We deliver knowledge on how this can be done in practice. We work to bridge the gap between knowledge and action.

We target and engage in dialogue with those who can change policy, practice, and public opinion. We take pride in our research and work hard to communicate our findings and policy advice using a variety of platforms. Operating in a global community, we aim our attention at easily accessible information that is tailored to diverse audiences with different needs and different access to technology.

We strive to reflect high ethical standards, and to promote close cooperation and strong teams within CMI and with partners in the South. We argue that we grow stronger through partnerships with other researchers and research institutions, locally and internationally. Every research institute needs to keep up to date on what is happening on the ground. Regular reality checks ensures that we ask the questions important to promote development. We get our reality checks through long hours in the field and through close cooperation with partners in the South. This gives solid knowledge about the themes and countries we work on and in. Our partners inspire our methods, topics and point of view.

The Board


CMI is a private non-profit institute.

In 2010, the total turnover was NOK 67, 74 million.

CMI receives core funding through the Research Council of Norway (NFR) from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research.

Main sources:

  • The Research Council of Norway
  • Bilateral aid system
  • Multilateral aid system

Main clients include:

An Institute for Science and Intellectual Freedom

The Chr. Michelsen Institute for Science and Intellectual Freedom is named after Christian Michelsen (1857-1925), one of the great Norwegians of the 20th century. He was prime minister and led Norway's peaceful dissolution from the union with Sweden and the establishment of an independent Norwegian state in 1905.

(Peter) Christian (Hersleb Kjerschow) Michelsen was born in Bergen, 15 March 1857. A lawyer by profession, Michelsen was a major shiping magnate and politician. He was Mayor of Bergen, longtime member of Stortinget (Parliament), Finance Minister and Prime Minister.

He died in 1925 and bequeathed his wealth to the establishment of a foundation for science and intellectual freedom. The Chr. Michelsen Institute was established on the founder's birthday, 15 March 1930. In his will Michelsen specified four areas of priority: humanities, natural sciences, technology and medicine and "cultural and scientific work to foster tolerance between nations and races - religious, social, economic and political." It was the latter that justified a focus on development issues.

The First Private Research Institute in Norway

Christian Michelsen wanted to give particularly promising researchers excellent working conditions: they were to have no teaching or administrative duties and they were to be well paid. At the outset, a group of gifted, young men were given the title "members of the institute" conducting independent research in natural sciences and social sciences.

With the arrival of the economist Just Faaland in 1952 and the political scientist Stein Rokkan in 1958, everything changed. They initiated and developed broader research programmes and employed more people. They fianced the expansion through participation in international research programmes and by mobilising other financial resources. In 1961 they had defined research programmes in international economics and comparative politics.


In 1965, the Development Action and Research Programme (DERAP), a development economics project on growth problems in developing countries. was formally established. The DERAP model combined research work at the Institute in Bergen with applied and practical work in developing countries, a model to which CMI still adheres. DERAP gradually recruited other social scientists in addition to the economists.

The Chr. Michelsen Institute - CMI

In the early 1980s, Just Faaland established a Human Rights Programme which soon grew to become the other main focus in social science research.

In 1992, the Department for Natural Science and Technology split and established the Chr. Michelsen Research AS, jointly owned by CMI and the University of Bergen. The Department of Social Science and Development became the Chr. Michelsen Institute. DERAP and the Human Rights Programmed merged, and research became the main objective. Practical work in developing countries is still important, but longterm assignments are replaced by shorter missions and research-co-operation in the South.

Research Partners

CMI has an extensive network of international contacts and research partners. With some key institutions, there are formal collaboration agreements. The agreements facilitate joint research and include institutional development, competence building and the development of projects of mutual interest.

Other forms of co-operation include research, consultancies, staff exchange, student teaching and tutoring, advanced training, information technology, library support and publication exchanges.

Active and Formal Institutional Co-operation with Research Institutes and Universities





  • Instituto Torcato Di Talla
















South Africa

Sri Lanka





United Kingdom



Regional Networks

Annual Report 2014

Nationalgaven til Chr. Michelsen

Chr. Michelsens pris for fremragende utviklingsforskning

Chr. Michelsens pris for fremragende utviklingsforskning (kr 50 000) skal synliggjøre og inspirere til utviklingsrelatert forskning av høy kvalitet og relevans.

Prisen tildeles annethvert år av Fondet «Nationalgaven til Chr. Michelsen», som er det norske folks gave til Chr. Michelsen ved hans avgang som statsminister i 1907. Prisen tildeles første gang i 2014.

Prisen tildeles forskere under 40 år for fremragende vitenskapelig artikkel innen utviklingsrelaterte studier. Arbeidet bedømmes etter vitenskapelig kvalitet og relevans. Prisen skal fortrinnsvis benyttes til vitenskapelige formål.

Prisen tildeles på Chr. Michelsens fødselsdag 15. mars. Styret kan velge et annet fast tidspunkt for tildelingen.

Kandidater til prisen kan nomineres av enkeltpersoner eller institusjoner innen 15. januar 2014. Kandidater må ha bopel i Norge og/eller være norsk statsborger.  Arbeider som nomineres til prisen må være publisert i løpet av de to foregående år. Arbeider som ble publisert i 2012 eller 2013 kan nomineres til prisen i 2014. Nominering skjer til styret.


Nærmere retningslinjer

Forfatter av arbeidet må være under 40 år når prisen tildeles. Ved medforfatterskap skal arbeidet i hovedsak være utført av forfatter(e) under 40 år.


Arbeider fra alle fagdisipliner, inkludert tverrfaglige arbeider, kan nomineres. Alle har adgang til å nominere, men ledelsen ved forskningsinstitusjoner oppfordres spesielt til å nominere aktuelle kandidater. Det er anledning til egennominering, og det er anledning til å nominere flere kandidater.


Ved vurdering av arbeidene legges det vekt på vitenskapelig kvalitet og relevans. Kvalitet bedømmes etter standard vitenskapelige kriterier. Relevans bedømmes i forhold til arbeidets bidrag til å forstå og eller løse de særskilte sosiale, økonomiske og miljømessige utfordringer lav- og mellominntektsland står overfor. Det er anledning til å gjøre nærmere rede for arbeidets relevans ved nomineringen.



Prisens jury har tre medlemmer oppnevnt av styret i Fondet for Nationalgaven til Chr. Michelsen. Minst to av medlemmene skal ha vitenskapelig kompetanse og minst ett medlem skal ha erfaring fra utviklingsarbeid.

For Students

CMI provides opportunities for Master's students and has 8 working spaces for Master's students. We welcome social science students who wants to write their thesis on one of our core topics. Most of our studnets are political scientists, anthropologists or economists, but we also have students from the arts and humanities,and law students. 

We are not an educational institution and unfortunately we do not have any scholarships.

CMI (Chr. Michelsen Institute)
Phone: +47 47 93 80 00 - From abroad: +47 55 70 55 65
Fax: +47 47 93 80 01
E-mail: - Web:
P.O.Box 6033 Bedriftssenteret, N-5892 Bergen, Norway
Visiting address: Jekteviksbakken 31, Bergen