Espen Villanger has been appointed as new Director at CMI. (Photo: Eivind Senneset)
1 Oct 2021

Espen Villanger new director at CMI

The board of Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) has appointed Espen Villanger as the new director of CMI from April 1st 2022.

“I am really looking forward to further developing CMI together with my highly competent and skilled colleagues”, Espen Villanger says.

“There is a great need for the knowledge that CMI provides. If we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need research on how to end poverty, ensure human rights, and reduce conflicts, corruption, and inequality. It is very motivating to lead an organisation which addresses the challenges faced by vulnerable and marginalized people”, he says.

Espen Villanger is an economist working on violence against women, job creation and private sector development and poverty reduction. He holds a Ph.D. from the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH). He is currently a Research Director and Research Professor at CMI, where he has been employed since 2002. Villanger has previously worked for the World Bank and has experience from politics in Norway. Villanger also heads the newly established Development Learning Lab, a research and learning centre which works with aid organisations to fill knowledge gaps and increase the success of development programmes.

“Research and knowledge are key to effective development aid. We need to work even more closely with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norad and the development organisations to ensure that lessons from the research are made available for the decision makers”, Villanger says.

High expectations

Chairman of the Board at CMI, Gunn Mangerud is very pleased with the appointment of Espen Villanger.

“CMI serves an important role in addressing global societal challenges by developing research-based knowledge. With Villanger, CMI will have a director who is well acquainted with the research landscape as well as CMI's research areas. The board has high confidence in Villanger's ability to develop CMI further both as an organisation and as a key actor for contributing to research-based knowledge and policy-making”, Mangerud says.

Villanger will take over from Ottar Mæstad, who will have served as director of CMI for twelve years when his term expires in 2022.


Espen Villanger, mob: 99799476

Gunn Mangerud, mob: 97557137