Safety of Industrial Development and Transportation Routes in the Arctic, 2015–2018 (SITRA)

Part of A HIGH NORTH PROGRAMME 2014. Sponsored by SIU.

Project number: HNP-2014/10008
Project period: 2015–2018
Funding: 1700 kNOK

Main partner institution in Norway and host institution: The University Centre in Svalbard
Project leader: UNIS Professor Aleksey Marchenko
Project coordinator: Dr. Nataly Marchenko

Main partner institution outside Norway: Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN, St. John’s, Canada)
Project coordinator in Canada: Professor Rocky Taylor

Partner institutions:
Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT, Moscow, Russia), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU, Trondheim, Norway), University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF, Fairbanks, USA) and Dartmouth College (DC, Hanover, USA).

We work in close cooperation with the Centre for Sustainable Arctic Marine and Coastal Technology (SAMCoT) at NTNU, UNIS and SINTEF, Norway.

Map of partners in the SITRA project.

Short project summary

Growing industrial activity in coastal and offshore regions of the Arctic demands qualified specialists with deep knowledge of physical and mechanical processes which can influence safety of engineering constructions and ships and methods of risks reduction. The teaching procedure of future Arctic experts should include lectures on fundamentals of ice physics and hydromechanics, and lectures on Arctic offshore and coastal engineering, laboratory and fieldwork.

The project is focused on the following safety aspects: 1. estimates of ice actions on offshore and coastal structures, 2. description of dangerous ice phenomena for navigation in the High North regions, 3. probabilistic methods of risk estimates and practical methods of accident risks reduction.

The project will build up multi-international team of experts from five universities of Norway, Canada, US and Russia specialized in above formulated topics providing unique field based education in the Arctic at UNIS base in Svalbard. Project activities will include teaching and study on field based UNIS courses, performance of joint PhD and MSc projects at the bases of partner universities, participation in joint field works, workshops and international conferences. Teaching methodology will follow research and field based education strategy of UNIS.

Project results will be as follows: 10 PhD/MSc students highly qualified in Arctic Technology, published lecture notes, 2 workshops, participation in 3 International conferences, 10 scientific publications, 4–5 visits of Professors from partner universities per year, HSE education. The project will create good opportunities for the development of Norwegian educational system and long term multi international cooperation in Arctic technology.

Latest news

Aleksey Marchenko and Craig Martin


The new semester started at UNIS 9 January 2017 with a whole week of safety courses. Approximately 100 new students came. Among them were Craig Martin from Memorial University (Canada), supported by the SITRA project. Craig will take the AT-211 course and make numerical modelings.

Photo: Professor Aleksey Marchenko and Craig Martin during their first meeting at the Arctic Technology Department.

Renat Yulmetov's PhD defense 12 January 2017


Congratulations to Dr. Yulmetov
Renat Yulmetov defended his PhD thesis today. More info on the thesis can be found in the UNIS press release “Icebergs in broken sea ice”.
Renat was a UNIS course student in 2009–2010, supported by the SIU project SafeLOT (a SITRA ancestor) and an Arctic Technology PhD student for SAMCoT in 2012–2015. It is quite symbolic that Renat now works as Postdoc in C-CORE/Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada.

Photo: Renat with his defense committee (Akihisa Konno (Kogakuin University, Tokyo), Knut Høyland (NTNU), Renat, Pentti Kujala (Aalto University, Helsinki), Dmitry Onishchenko (VNIIGAZ, Moscow), Sveinung Løset (NTNU), Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS).

UNIS guest lecturer Rocky Taylor with students


Professor Rocky Taylor teaching at UNIS
The SITRA project leader from the Canadian side spent 2 days teaching at UNIS. He shared the rich Newfoundland experience in iceberg towing during a lecture series for students on the AT-211 course. Rocky Taylor also discussed computer modeling issues with two MSc Students from MSU who made similar modelings as Rocky’s students in MUN.

Photo: Rocky Taylor with students after the lecture.


Lab week at UNIS
Guest researchers from Russia carried out experiments in the UNIS cold lab together with students. They performed indentation and uniaxial compression tests in the lab, analysis of thin sections of ice in the lab, and computer modelling of beam test in Comsol Multiphysics.

Photo: After successful tests. From left: prof. Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS), visiting professors Petr Chistyakov and Alexander Sakharov (Moscow State University, MSU), MSc students Alexander Shelenkov and Eldar Khabibulin (MSU) and prof. Evgeny Karulin (State Marine Technical University of St.Petersburg, SMTU).

Russian students at Arctic Technology autumn 2016. Photo: Nataly Marchenko/UNIS


Russian students at the Arctic Technology Department in Autumn 2016
There are three Russian students in the department in this semester. Other SITRA participant (US and Canada) are unfortunately not represented.
Stanislav Sirotkin (on the left) is a 3rd year student of the Kola branch of Petrozavodsk State University. Stanislav takes the UNIS courses AT-209 and AT-210. He got support from the North2North program of UArctic.
Eldar Khabibulin and Alexander Shelenkov are 5th year students of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics, Departments of theory of plasticity. They both have SITRA support and take the AT-332 course.



A former SITRA student, Andrii Murdza, who spent almost 2 years at UNIS, has started his PhD (Graduate) programme at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth on “The physical mechanisms underlying the fatigue of ice” in September 2016. Erland Schulson is his supervisor. Prospective duration of this programme is 3 years.



The SITRA project has been presented on the 1st Congress of the University of the Arctic
The UArctic congress in St. Petersburg (Russia) gathered 450 participants from all Arctic and “interested in the Arctic” countries. There were 205 scientific presentations. Coordinator of SITRA, Nataly Marchenko, held the presentation “Safety of Industrial Development and Transportation Routes in the Arctic – collaboration project for research and education of future High North experts” on the session 4.6 “Gaining a better understanding and awareness of the Arctic through education and outreach”.

SITRA participation on IAHR Symposium, 2016


Participants of the SITRA project gathered at the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor, US) during the IAHR Symposium on Ice and discussed the development of SITRA and plans for the future. They made 10 oral presentations on IAHR and Prof. A. Marchenko was invited as key note lecturer. The papers have been published in the Symposium Proceeding.
See the list of SITRA team presentations here (PDF).
In the photo: E. Karulin (SMTU), E. Schulson (Darthmouth C.) A. Marchenko (UNIS), K. Høyland (NTNU), I. Turnbul (MUN), N. Marchenko (UNIS), A. Murdza (MIPT-UNIS).

Memorial University of Newfoundland


SITRA Ms student Andrii Murdza (MIPT) visited the Memorial University (St. Johns, Canada), and met with Prof. Rocky Taylor (SITRA project leader from Canada).
As a continuation of his project work, Andrii made numerical simulations of thermodynamic consolidation of ice rubble in Comsole Multiphysics together with R. Taylor and E. Bailey (MUN).

Carl Renshaw (Dartmouth College) and Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS).


During his week in Longyearbyen, Carl Renshaw (professor of Dartmouth College, USA) participated in the experiment at UNIS cold lab and in short fieldwork for fresh ice sampling on the lake.
The experiments with cycling loading of ice samples represent ice floe which is subjected to the continue bending deformations. It will help to get knowledge about increasing of ice strength.

Carl Renshaw teaching at UNIS


Carl Renshaw, Professor of Dartmouth College (USA) made a series of lectures for students of the AT-211 course.
He has been teaching about fundamental and ice fracture mechanics and shared his and his colleagues’ experience in lab experiments with fresh and saline ice.

SIU seminar participants in Oslo, May 2016


SIU Seminar in Oslo.
Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education held the final seminar for the Cooperation Programme with Russia in Oslo, 11–12 May. SITRA participants (A. Marchenko, V. Zhmur, N. Marchenko, I. Kondaurova) shared the experience of the previous SMIDA project and presented the new current SITRA project, which continues the fruitful collaboration.

UNIS students on board R/V Lance, 2016. Photo: Evgenii Salganik


Students on AT-211 and researchers came after 8 days at sea on board R/V Lance.
On the photo the SITRA participants and Russian students of the AT-211 are on board Lance in Bellsund.
See more pictures from the cruise on Facebook.



Andrii Murdza – SITRA Master Student from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).
Andrii works on the “project with involvement from enterprises”, in collaboration with KVÆRNER.
Read about his Master project (to be defended in June 2016): Investigation of ice strength properties from in-situ experiments and numerical modelling (PDF)

Pavel Makin


Pavel Makin – SITRA student from State Marine Technical University of Saint-Petersburg (SMTU).
He takes two UNIS courses in the Arctic Technology Department; AT-205 “Frozen Ground Engineering for Arctic Infrastructures” & AT-211 “Ice Mechanics, Loads on Structures and Instrumentation”.
Read about Pavel’s experience here (PDF).

UNIS technology students in Svea, March 2016


During almost 3 days, students of the AT-211 course had a unique opportunity to learn ice mechanics and applied oceanology, participating in the investigations of an international scientific group (led by prof. Aleksey Marchenko, UNIS), who worked in Svea during 2 weeks.

AT-211 fieldwork Svea 2016


Full scale tests in Svea
Because of a very warm winter and absence of ice in Van Mijenfjorden, researchers carried out investigations of ice properties on Vallunden lake, which is connected to the fjord by a narrow strait. The weather conditions cooperated and were not so harsh as usual, so the work was successful.

UNIS technology students going to Svea, February 2016


The 4th “Svea expedition” has departed today from Longyearbyen to Svea to spend 2 weeks for field investigation of fast ice properties. They will extend the work started in 2013 and continued last year: testing of the new rig, in-situ identational tests, beam test, compression-strength test; CTD, ADCP profiling, tide measurements.

Among the participants this year are: 1 from University College London, 2 from Lomonosov Moscow State University, 2 from Krylov State Research Centre, St.Petersburg, and 1 from Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. With strong UNIS leading and logistic support.

Watch the time-lapse video by Dr. Evgeny Karulin from the 2nd Svea Expedition.

Russian UNIS technology students, spring 2016


Russian students at the Arctic Technology Department

There are twelve Russian students in the department at present. They mostly have support from SIU programs (SITRA project one of them). 2 students are from Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU), 2 students are from Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), 1 student from Russian State Hydrometeorological University (RSHU), 1 student from Saint-Petersburg State Marine Technical University (SMTU), 1 PhD-student from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and the largest group (5 students) from Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU). On the photo bottom row (from left to right): Aleksandr Orlov (MSU), Evgenii Salganik (NTNU), Sergey Bokovnya (SPbPU) and Ivan Marchenko (MSU); In the middle row: Artem Nesterov (SPbPU), Irina Akimova (RSHU), Svetlana Lisova (MIPT) and Valeriia Efimova (SPbPU); And on the top: Pavel Vlasov (SPbPU), Pavel Makin (SMTU), Maria Parfenova (MIPT) and Aleksandr Karelov (SPbPU).

Read more about the students here (PDF).

Andrii Murdza


Andrii Murdza is a Master student at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT) and external Master student at UNIS for the SITRA project. He took the courses AT-301, AT-327 and AT-332 in autumn 2014; AT-211 and AT-307F in spring 2015.

During spring 2015, he also worked on his master project “Investigation of ice strength properties from in-situ experiments and numerical modeling”. During that period he participated in “Svea expedition” and scientific cruise on board the vessel “Bjorkhaug”. In Autumn 2015, he worked on the problem “Analytical methods for the calculation of loads on the moving structure in ice channel with broken ice” which is related to cooperation with industry as a part of the SITRA project.

Before arriving in Longyearbyen, Andrii spent several days in Oslo for consultation with our industrial partner Kværner.

Read more about Andrii’s master project here (PDF).

SITRA Russian Students Autumn 2015

Russian students at the Arctic Technology Department in Autumn Semester 2015, supported by different collaborations/exchange programmes.

Anton Butenko (PhD student in the Space Research Institute, Moscow) Pavel Kuznetcov, Ilia Grabko, Valeriia Efimova, Artem Nesterov, Aleksandr Karelov (Peter the Great Saint-Petersburg Politechnic University, SPbPU), Irina Arkhipova (Polar Academy, St.Petersburg), Andrii Murdza (MIPT), Olesia Mikhailova (National Mineral Resources University – Minung University, St.Petersburg), Maria Parfenova (MIPT).

SITRA fieldwork November 2015

Investigation of fresh ice on the lake
In the photo: Preparation to the tests. From left:
Visiting professors Alexander Sakharov (Moscow State University, MSU), MSc Student Andrii Murdza (MIPT), Prof. Petr Chistyakov (MSU), prof. Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS) and prof. Evgeny Karulin (State Marine Technical University of St.Petersburg, SMTU).
SITRA MSc student Andrii Murdza is involved in the experiments. Students of AT-332/832 course will come soon to take part in the work as a part of the study.
Arctic Technology previous students worked in 4 groups, performing indentation test in the lab and in-situ; beam test in-situ, fracture toughness test in-situ, uniaxial compression test in the lab, analisis of thin sections of ice in the lab; computer modelling of beam test in Comsol Multiphysics.

First SITRA meeting Trondheim 2015

The first SITRA meeting, NTNU, Trondheim
All institutions of the project were presented. The participants of the meeting have discussed the plans for the SITRA project development, involvement and schedule, especially field season of spring 2016 and elaboration of courses. We met just after the successful POAC 15 conference, inspired by scientific discussion and fruitful cooperation in the frames of other projects.
In the photo, from left: PhD Students Sergey Kulyakhtin and Torodd Nord (NTNU), Prof. Aleksey Marchenko (UNIS), Prof. Rocky Taylor (MUN), Dr. Nataly Marchenko (UNIS), Prof. Erland Schulson, (Dartmouth College), Prof. Sveinung Løset and Prof. Knut Høyland (NTNU), PhD student Åse Ervik (NTNU), Prof. Vladimir Zhmur and MSc. Irina Kondaurova (MIPT), Prof. Dean Stockwell (UAF).