Norway plans to establish an Arctic maritime-research institute in Tromsø

By Kevin McGwin, The Arctic Journal - June 1, 2017

The Norwegian government is prepared to spend 5 million kroner ($590,000) to establish a research center in Tromsø to promote sustainable development of the Arctic Ocean.

The funding was proposed in the national budget earlier this month and would go to support the creation of an organisation described in March in the government’s ocean strategy. The purpose of the new outfit would be to further Oslo’s goal of “stimulating debate and shedding light on national and global trends that affect Norwegian interests and scope of action as a maritime and coastal nation.”

Placing the center in Tromsø underscores the connection between Norwegian Arctic and maritime policies, according to Børge Brende, the foreign minister.

“Sustainable management of the sea is essential for the development of the Arctic,” Brende said in a statement.

Establishing the center and pursuing other maritime-related activities, such as hosting the Our Ocean conference in 2019, would help Norway maintain its lead in Arctic maritime issues, Brende argued.

The centre will be formed through the merger of NIFES, which oversees seafood research, and Havforskningsinstituttet, a maritime research institute. The new organisation is expected to be in operation by October 15.

Tromsø is currently the home of a number of Norwegian and international Arctic-related institutions, including the Arctic Council, as well as a university and a major annual conference, Arctic Frontiers.

Establishing a maritime-research organisation focused on the Arctic, according to Brende, added to the city’s reputation as “the Arctic capital.”

“The new centre gives us an important trend-setting organisation working with Arctic maritime issues and maritime policy.”