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Umeå University and the Arctic

The Arctic region and its challenges is a highly prioritized area of interest for Umeå University. Our wide range of subject expertise is something that sets us apart among Arctic universities.

Northern Sweden, Sápmi and the Arctic region are undergoing massive changes regarding culture, climate, health and living conditions.

The geographical position of Umeå University provides us with unique opportunities to contribute with new knowledge of global importance. 

A multidisciplinary take on Arctic Research 

At Umeå University, prominent Arctic research is conducted within all our scientific fields: medicine, the arts and humanities, social sciences, and science and technology. 

Important research questions covered include:

  • Projected effects of natural resources becoming more accessible as a consequence of melting ice mass
  • Changes in the spreading of disease
  • Altered social, economic and cultural conditions for populations and Indigenous peoples.

The Arctic Centre at Umeå University

The Arctic Centre at Umeå University was founded in 2012. The centre provides structure, coordination and strategic direction to Umeå University's wide and diverse network of researchers in the Arctic field. More than 200 researchers are associated with the Arctic Centre, as the centre offers excellent collaboration opportunities. 

Vaartoe - Centre for Sami Research

Umeå University is housing Sweden's only centre for Sami research: Vaartoe. Founded in 2000, the centre works to initiate and coordinate research in Sápmi, on Sami culture, society, history and language.

Vaartoe is working in close relationship with Sami institution and organizations to further research based knowledge on Sami issues. 

Department of Language Studies

The Department of Language Studies has a national instruction to offer education in the national minority languages ​​Sami and Meänkieli. Education is also offered in the minority language Finnish. The education in Sami covers both language and culture and is given at all levels. We also conduct research and postgraduate training with a focus on indigenous and minority issues.

Climate Impact Research Centre (CIRC)

The Climate Impact Research Centre (CIRC) is permanently based at the Abisko Scientific Research Station, 250 km inside the Arctic Circle near the northern tip of Sweden.

The research is focusing on the effects of climate and environmental changes in Arctic and alpine ecosystems. 

Arctic education

At Umeå University, there is an Arctic Graduate School for doctoral students. The school offers close collaboration between students and supervisors, as well as a wide connection network between other arctic universities and their arctic related students and research.

Umeå University has several courses at undergraduate and Master's level in Kiruna, Sweden's northernmost city, and in Abisko.

On several programmes, students can choose to deepen their Arctic perspectives through elective courses. 

Umeå University is a long-time member of the North2North student exchange programme, together with universities in Sweden, Denmark, Greenland, the Faroe Islands, Canada, the United States, Finland, Norway, Iceland and Russia.

A selection of Arctic courses

Arctic Science (4.5 Credits, Bachelor's level)

Arctic Ecosystems (15 Credits, Master's level)

Collaborative Environmental Governance in the Arctic (15 credits, Master's level)

The Imagined Arctic (7.5 Credits, Master's level, web-based)


Cooperation with other Arctic universities

As one of the largest universities globally in the Arctic region, Umeå University plays an active role in cooperative network The University of The Arctic

The Arctic Five is a partnership between five Arctic universities in Sweden, Finland and Norway. By joining forces, the five partner universities aim to lead the way in Arctic issues. A strategic objective for the Artic Five alliance is to apply for and achieve the status of European University

Arctic Highlights

How do we make sure the transformation is just and fair?

Camilla Sandström’s research on climate and environmental policy landed her a UNESCO professorship.

With focus on indigenous people’s involvement in international politics

Luke Laframboise is a doctoral student in Sami studies, focusing on indigenous politics and Arctic relations.

Sustainable for Arctic forest owners

Biodiversity has become more important for forest owners in the north, but the reason is still unknown.

An arctic adventure

Icebreaker Oden is soon on its way northward. On board are researcher ready for new discoveries.

EU Arctic Forum in the actual Arctic

The EU Arctic Forum gathered decision-makers and researchers in Umeå to discuss the future of the Arctic

Swedish food strategy questioned in new anthology on food security in the Arctic

Scientific anthology on food security in the Arctic released today

Trying to understand the climate change at the Arctic

Jan Karlsson, Professor of Natural Geography, studies impacts of climate change on the biogeochemistry and ecology of high latitude aquatic ecosystems. Film: The Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation

Latest update: 2023-03-22