UNIS and AWI sign cooperative agreement

UNIS and AWI sign cooperative agreement

Top image: AWI director Dr. Jörn Thiede and UNIS director Gunnar Sand sign the Memorandum of Understanding in Ny-Ålesund on 28 August 2007. The German foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier (left) and his Norwegian colleague, Jonas Gahr Støre, watch the proceedings. Photo: Olav Garvik, BT.

In connection with the visit of the Norwegian and German foreign ministers to Svalbard last week, UNIS and the German research organization Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in Polar sciences.

3 September 2007
Text: Eva Therese Jenssen

The agreement was signed by UNIS director Gunnar Sand and Dr. Jörn Thiede, director of AWI, on August 28 in Ny-Ålesund, where AWI has a research station. Mr. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the German foreign minister, and Mr. Jonas Gahr Støre, the Norwegian foreign minister, were present at the signing ceremony.

Covers several areas
The agreement covers areas such as joint research projects; mutual utilization of facilities and equipment; workshops and symposia on topics of mutual interest; exchange of personnel, information and data, and development of joint strategies perspectives.

Among specifics, the UNIS master and PhD students now get access to the AWI ice breaker “Polarstern” and the Arctic marine geology staff and students will get usage of the AWI ship “Heincke”. The two research institutions will also cooperate on two International Polar Year projects; APEX and BIPOMAC.

Strengthens UNIS teaching staff
In addition, the agreement establishes a formal teaching cooperation, as Dr. Jörn Thiede is now officially an adjunct professor at UNIS, and other AWI staff will be guest lecturers at UNIS.

– It is part of the UNIS strategy to build strength through strategic alliances and the AWI is perhaps the most exciting research institution operating in the Arctic today, says UNIS director Gunnar Sand.

– This memorandum of understanding came about because we are already exchanging a lot of ideas and we currently cooperate on concrete research projects, so UNIS expects a lot of positive results from this agreement, says Sand.