This week I have the pleasure of experiencing Svalbard for the first time. I have been at 78° S and now at 78° N, and I am amazed by the similarities that I see, and the differences too, of course. I can see very clearly why various aspects of polar research need to be bi-polar and why we need Arctic and Antarctic researchers to work closely together to share information and techniques.
I am here giving a few lectures at the fabulous University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and am very impressed by not only the great facilities and logistical support, but the various research projects and the truly international flavor of Longyearben and UNIS.
The International and interdisciplinary IPY Polar Field School 2009 kicks off today. 24 undergraduate students from all over the world will gather at UNIS to have three weeks of lectures and field excursions, focusing on the research that has been performed during the IPY. When the application deadline for the field school passed, the organizers had an amazing 297 applications from students in 50 countries. To follow their adventure, visit the IPY Polar Field School website.
The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) is the world's northernmost higher education institution, located in Longyearbyen, Spitsbergen at 78°N. UNIS offers high-quality courses at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate level in Arctic Biology, Arctic Geology, Arctic Geophysics and Arctic Technology. About 350 students from all over the world take one or more courses every year at UNIS. The student body consist of 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 consist currently of 20 fulltime professors, 21 assistant professors and 120 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.
For more information, visit http://www.unis.no/