Arctic science for global challenges
The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) is the world’s northernmost higher education institution, located in Longyear at 78º N. UNIS offers high quality courses at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level in Arctic Biology, Arctic Geology, Arctic Geophysics and Arctic Technology.
UNIS is a share-holding company, owned by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. UNIS was established in 1993 to provide university level education in Arctic studies, to carry out high quality research, and to contribute to the development of Svalbard as an international research platform. UNIS’ geographical position gives it a unique advantage, enabling students and faculty to use nature as a laboratory, arena for observation and data collection.
About 450 students from all over the world take one or more courses every year at UNIS. The student body consist of approximately 50 % Norwegian and 50 % international students and English is the official language at UNIS. There are no tuition fees and there is affordable student accommodation in “Nybyen”.
UNIS’ faculty are made up by 50 % Norwegians and 50 % international staff, and consist currently of ca. 20 fulltime professors, 21 assistant professors and about 170 guest lecturers who specialize in arctic issues. UNIS researchers work in collaboration with Norwegian and foreign research institutions and are actively involved in a large number of joint research projects.
The UNIS Board of Directors
Five Norwegian universities; Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Tromsø and Ås, are represented on our Board of Directors. UNIS works closely with the mainland universities and the UNIS courses are intended to complement the teaching given by the mainland universities.
UNIS Board of Directors (2013)
|Berit Kjeldstad (Chair)
||Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)
|Jarle Nygard (Deputy chair)
||University of Oslo
|Geir Anton Johansen
||University of Bergen
||University of Tromsø
||Norwegian University of Life Sciences (Ås)
|Ole Jørgen Lønne
|Erlend Damm Søby
UNIS has developed an ambitious strategic plan for 2009-2012. Our vision is "Arctic science for global challenges". UNIS' goals for 2012 are, among others:
- UNIS is a leading international centre for arctic studies
- UNIS has expanded from Svalbard to the Arctic
- UNIS is allied with the best research and education institutions that are active in the Arctic
- UNIS offers courses in energy and environment
- UNIS works closely with commercial companies who are active in the High North.
The 2009-2012 strategic plan in full is available as PDF.
Svalbard Science Centre with majestetic Hiorthfjell in the background. (Photo: Steve Coulson/UNIS).
UNIS in the Svalbard Science Centre
UNIS is the core of the Svalbard Science Centre, an international arctic centre of expertise in research and education, which also incorporates other professional and scientific institutions on Svalbard, such as The Norwegian Polar Institute, EISCAT and Svalbard Science Forum.
The 12 000 square meter science centre, inaugurated in April 2006, is a modern building with optimal conditions for studying and research linked to arctic nature and the greatly expanded volume will facilitate the continuing strong development of education and research at UNIS. The Svalbard Science Centre is therefore a centre of competence for arctic research, teaching and logistics, where UNIS is the main operator.