Personal profile

Research profile

Bettina Dahl Søndergaard holds dual positions as Associate Professor of problem-based learning (PBL) at the Aalborg UNESCO PBL Centre in Engineering Science and Sustainability at Aalborg University and as Professor of mathematics education at the Department of Mathematics at the University of Bergen in Norway. Her main expertise is within mathematics education, problem-based learning, vocational education, gifted education, assessment, and out-of-school time learning in the STEM fields. Her Ph.D. is in mathematics education (Roskilde, 2003), and one M.Sc. is in Educational Research Methodology (Oxford, 2000) and another M.Sc. is in mathematics (Aalborg, 1997; cand.scient.) with social science as the "sidefag".

She has worked at universities around the world (Virginia Tech, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, University of Bergen, University of Oxford, Aarhus University), including done consultancies for the World Bank and is currently an Expert for the European Commission. She has also been appointed to several committees, e.g., relating to K10 mathematics education and the new mathematics teacher training under the Danish ministry of education and was an invited participant of the Sorø Meeting in 2023. Since 2010, she has been the vice chair of the corps of examiners (censorkorps) for mathematics at the universities, appointed by the ministry of research. Internationally, she was the first (and so far only) Danish member of the International Committee (and treasurer) of the International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education (IGPME) and she has been chair of the Out-of-School Time Special Interest Group in AERA (American Educational Research Association).

She has 200 publications spread on both high-ranking journals, pieces written for teachers as well as op-eds for the newspapers. She is also a frequent referee at informal learning/out-of-school time competitions in K12 STEM such as FIRST LEGO League, Edison, and Unge Forskere. 

She is the PI or co-PI on several projects in the area of mathematics education and PBL for both university and vocational students. For instance, she is the chairman of the Expert Group in Vocational Education at NCUM, the Danish national centre for the development of mathematics education and she leads a Novo Nordisk funded project about vocational students and competence development of teachers (KLUMP). In addition, she is the co-supervisor of four African Ph.D. students in lower secondary mathematics education, and part of the steering group, for the capacity building project, MATH4SDG, funded by Norad, situated at the University of Bergen, in collaboration with Makerere University in Uganda and University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

External positions

Expert (various occasions), European Commission

25 Apr 2018 → …

Professor, University of Bergen

1 Dec 2016 → …

Visiting Scholar, Stanford University

1 Sept 201130 Nov 2011

Short Term Consultant (part-time), World Bank

13 Aug 200830 Jun 2009

Assistant & Associate Professor, Aarhus University

1 Jan 200731 Oct 2012

Assistant Professor, Aalborg Seminarium

1 Aug 200631 Dec 2006

Assistant Professor, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

1 Aug 200430 Jun 2006

Adviser, Norwegian University of Science and Technology

1 Oct 200231 Jul 2004

Research Officer (part-time), University of Oxford

1 Apr 200031 Jul 2002

Research Assistant (part-time), Danmarks Pædagogiske Institut (now part of Aarhus University)

1 Aug 199830 Sept 1999

High School Teacher, Aalborg Katedralskole

1 Aug 199731 Jul 1998


  • Problem Based Learning
  • Mathematics Education
  • University calculus
  • Teacher training
  • Classroom dialogues
  • Gifted students
  • Psychology of learning mathematics
  • STEM education
  • Informal learning
  • SOLO Taxonomy
  • Assessment
  • PBL and mathematics
  • PBL models
  • Philosophy of science
  • Nature of mathematics
  • Ethnomathematics
  • PBL progression
  • Engineering mathematics
  • Grading scales
  • School competitions
  • Auditoria lecturing
  • Out-of-school time
  • Group formation in PBL
  • Vocational education


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