The Norwegian Government last week decided to establish a new, large university in Norway, the University of Tromsø - Norway’s Arctic University. “Together we can develop higher education and research within Norway’s most important target area”, the rectors of the two institutions Jarle Aarbakke and Sveinung Eikeland says in a joint statement. “The name clearly shows the Government’s emphasis on the university as a central tool to ensure the nation’s interests in the north”, the University of Tromsø’s web site reads.
Both the establishments are the world’s northernmost in their category. The University of Tromsø was established in 1968 and is the largest research and educational institution in northern Norway. The main focus of the University’s activities is on the Auroral light research, space science, fishery science, biotechnology, linguistics, multicultural societies, Saami culture, telemedicine, epidemiology and a wide spectrum of Arctic research projects. The close vicinity of the Norwegian Polar Institute, the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and the Polar Environmental Centre gives Tromsø added weight and importance as an international center for Arctic research.
Finnmark University College was established in 1994 and has with three campuses in Alta, Hammerfest and Kirkenes.
Minister of Education and Research Kristin Halvorsen says the name of the new university underlines the responsibility the region has: “Through the merge the two institutions will unite, strengthen and develop research and higher education of high quality in the north and in Norway”, NRK writes.