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Talent Track

Meet Mikkel Nøjgaard

Mikkel Nøjgaard studies market valorization and why we value things as we do. His current research interest is in the context of sustainable food and the question of how we can build food production systems that value food not only for its effects on human well-being but also for its impact on the environment. Learn more about Mikkel’s research and visions in this interview.

What are your research interests?

I am interested in market valorization processes. I study why we value the things we do and how the value of things is accounted for.

In my previous research, I looked at product reviewing as a process of valorization. Products are reviewed differently based on the reviewers´ values. It is quite common to see examples of this kind.

For instance, very often we see the very same product receiving different ratings from different product review organizations. This difference is not necessarily due to the review methods but related to a divergent understanding of what is valuable. In my research, I map out these divergences and trace their effects on how markets develop.

How did you become interested in your field of research?

I have been fascinated to valorization processes because I think how we account for the value of things is often treated as a purely technical process.

For instance, in consumer research, the attention is always on which type of product reviews is ‘technically superior’ at revealing the ‘true’ quality of products. Nevertheless, this attention miss the fact that different reviewers and their readers may differ in their ideas of what product quality is and what is a valid testing.

I find interest at moving the literature discussion forward and going beyond the merely technical discussion already in place. Thus, instead of discussing the validity of methods, I believe it is fruitful to try to understand the reasons behind product valorization. Why someone would valorize something in a certain way (and not in another way)? Who benefits from a certain type of valorization?

What research question would you above all like to find the answer to? And why is that?

In my upcoming research, I will be focus on valorization processes in the context of sustainable food production. Concretely, I will be studying the grassroots movement of permaculture. Permaculture is an approach to designing sustainable agricultural systems which aims at re-valorizing food, the environment, and non-human organisms.

It is very important to study agro-food movements and their efforts since the business-as-usual is not a viable option when it comes to agriculture. In fact, the conventional practices of industrialized agriculture contribute to accelerating the climate change and are a serious threat to biodiversity.

The alternative practices, such as permaculture, will provide the foundational building blocks needed for addressing the central research question currently occupying my thoughts: How do we build food production systems in which the value of food is valued not only for its effects on human well-being but also for its impact on the environment?

What impact do you expect the Talent Track will have on your career and your research field?

The admission to the Talent Track will give me the support and resources needed to strengthen my publication record and establish myself as an expert on the role of agro-food movements in agricultural transitions.

The ultimate goal, beyond generating important knowledge about how to build more sustainable agricultural systems, is to put myself into a position where I would have a heightened chance of attracting major research grants.

Which impact do you expect your research to have on the surrounding society?

With my research project on permaculture, I aim to contribute to the transition into a more sustainable system of food production. The ambition behind studying permaculture is to develop insights into how to instigate a fundamental rethink of which values our food production systems should serve.

By looking at what permaculture practitioners do and how they conceive of the world around them, I hope to locate a set of ideas and practices that can captivate society and lead the way towards a more sustainable way of engaging with the planet and its inhabitants.

Mikkel Nøjgaard

Mikkel Nøjgaard is a Postdoc at the Department of Business & Management at SDU.


Talent Track

Talent Track supports young researchers with extraordinary potential. Individual career-boosting activities are organised for each participant. The initiative is also a forum for networking and knowledge sharing among the faculty’s emerging research talents.

Read more about the Talent Track here.

Editing was completed: 10.10.2023