Eivind Engebretsen

Vice-Dean for Postgraduate Studies & Professor
Image of Eivind Engebretsen
Norwegian version of this page
Phone 22 84 53 52
Mobile phone 92 42 52 31
Visiting address Klaus Torgårds vei 3 Sogn Arena 0372 Oslo
Postal address Postboks 1078 Blindern 0316 Oslo

Academic interests

As a scholar of the medical humanities, my research aims to address the following fundamental questions: who is legitimized to speak on whose behalf about health, and what are the discursive mechanisms on which this legitimacy is based? These questions were already central to my early career research on topics such as expert statements in child welfare cases, and the role of disease prestige in informal priority processes in health care. In more recent years, my research has mainly been concerned with the foundations and politics of evidence-based health decisions and what in various situations and periods is considered (or not considered) as valid medical knowledge. Together with Prof. Mona Baker, I am working on a book entitled Rethinking Evidence in the Time of Pandemics (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press 2022), which elaborates a theoretical framework based on and extending Walter Fisher’s narrative paradigm to analyze epistemic controversies related to the Covid-19 pandemic and their underpinning rationalities.

Drawing on Callon and Latour’s broad definition of translation as an act in which someone speaks on behalf of someone else, I have also investigated ‘knowledge translation’ as a concept and practice in medicine. My work on this topic includes the project Bodies in Translation, which I led (with John Ødemark) at the Center for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2019-2020), and a forthcoming report issued by the World Health Organization on knowledge translation and the cultural contexts of health (co-written with Trish Greenhalgh, John Ødemark and Shanmugapriya (Priya) Umachandran).

I am also interested in how key concepts in global health, such as sustainability, resilience, partnership, empowerment, and well-being (often defined in English and sanctioned by multilateral organizations) are understood and deployed in different languages ​​and in relation to different population groups, how such concepts are co-opted and made to serve various political purposes and how they are challenged by activists and grassroots organizations, including those located in the Global South. These interests form the basis of my academic program as a recently appointed Academic Chair of Global Health at the University Alliance Circle U.

Courses taught


I am currently elected Vice-Dean for Postgraduate Studies at the Faculty of Medicine.

I am the co-founder and Executive Chair of Norway's first centre of excellence in medical education: Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Education.

In 2021, I was appointed Academic Chair of Global Health at the European University Alliance Circle U. 

I obtained my M.Phil in Intellectual History from the University of Oslo (UoO) in 2001 and my PhD from the same university in 2006. From 2007 to 2011 I worked as an Associate Professor of Philosophy of Science at the Oslo Metropolitan University where I led the development of a new PhD programme in Social Policy and Social Work. I have also worked as a Senior Adviser at Norad's evaluation department and as an Assistant Professor at the University of Lorraine (France).

Since 2012, I have been a Full Professor of Interdisciplinary Health Science (with emphasis on the philosophy of science) at UoO. From 2013 to 2015 I was Head of Postgraduate Studies and from 2015 to 2019 Research Director at the Faculty of Medicine.

Positions held

  • Chair of Global Health, Circle U European University Alliance (2021-)

  • Executive Chair, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Education, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo (2020-)

  • Leader of WHO expert group on the cultural contexts of health and knowledge translation (2019-)

  • Research group leader at Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters (2019-2020)

  • Expert Panel Member, Interim-evaluation of Horizon 2020, European Commission, Brussels (2016-2017)

  • Member of the steering group of the research priority area UiO:Life Science, University of Oslo (2016-2017)

  • Norwegian delegate in the Helsinki Group on Gender Balance in Science, the European Commission, Brussels (2013-2017)

  • Member of PhD Programme Board, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo (2013-)

  • Board member of the International Society of Cultural History (ISCH) (2013-2016)

  • Member of the Programme Board of the BALANSE-programme, Research Council of Norway (2013-2016)

  • Member of the Committee for Gender Balance in Research (KiF), Norwegian Ministry of Education, Norway (2010-2013)


Tags: SDGs, Knowledge Translation, Text Analysis, Theory of Knowledge, Evidence based medicine
Published Apr. 13, 2011 2:44 PM - Last modified Oct. 4, 2021 8:24 PM