Responsible Development of the Arctic: Opportunities and Challenges - Pathways to Action


The joint Nordic initiative, Responsible Development of the Arctic - Opportunities and Challenges - Pathways to Action, has been established to generate new insight into the challenges and new opportunities confronting the Arctic region. The programme is cross-disciplinary, and incorporates three thematic priority areas:

  • Drivers of Change - Interactions and Impacts
  • Arctic Resource Development in a Global Context
  • Waters, Ecologies and Life Environments

Programme Committee

The programme committee comprises representatives for the participating funding organisations:

  • Rauna Kuokkanen (Finland, Chair)
  • Tuula Aarnio (Finland)
  • Anna Kaijser (Sweden)
  • Frej Sorento Dichmann (Denmark)
  • Þorsteinn Gunnarsson (Iceland)
  • Jon L. Fuglestad (Norway)

Background and process

The Arctic is coming under great pressure due to changes in regional and global structures, and more knowledge about this fragile region is needed. NordForsk established a NORIA-net in 2012 to assess the potential for added value in a larger-scale joint Nordic research initiative. The NORIA-net Arctic drew up a memorandum that has in turn formed the basis for a joint Nordic research programme, which Norway, Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, Finland and Greenland fund through a common pot. 

NordForsk decided in December 2015 to establish four Nordic Centres of Excellence in Arctic research.

In all, 34 applications were received, and based on the assessments of an external international panel of experts and the recommendations of the programme committee of the Arctic programme, the NordForsk Board has decided to fund the four new centres.


The total programme budget is approximately 116 million NOK, funded by NordForsk, the Swedish Research Council, the Research Council of Norway, Academy of Finland, Danish Ministry for Higher Education and Science, the Icelandic Research Council, and the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Call timeline


Kyösti Lempa

Kyösti Lempa

Special Adviser