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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.

Arctic Research Centre (Arcum)

The Arctic Research Centre at Umeå University (Arcum) 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. So far, more than 300 researchers are affiliated with Arcum, as the center 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. 

Climate Impact Research Centre (CIRC)

Umeå University's 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

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

On several programmes, students can chose to deepen their Arctic perspectives though 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 A (4,5 Credits, Bachelor's level)

Arctic Ecosystems (15 Credits, Master's level)

Collaborative Environmental Governance in the Arctic (15 credits, Mater'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

Features about Arctic research

Mountain-crossing climate research

The Abisko research station is popular among researchers from all over the world for studying climate change.

Alpine ecosystems under the microscope

Maja Sundqvist is studying nature in a slow-changing climate by using natural variations in altitude.

Population studies in the hinterland

Researchers Doris and Dean Carson challenge the traditional view of the hinterland through their research.

With Sami health in mind

Indigenous peoples' health is generally worse, still Swedish law prohibits ethnicity comparisons.

New contaminants due to global warming

Due to climate change, known and unknown infectious diseases lie in wait, and communities must be prepared.

Umeå – a part of the Arctic

What is the Arctic? Opinions differ. But Västerbotten counts as the Swedish Arctic.

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