The University Centre of the Westfjords is a relatively small institution at university level. Founded in 2005, the Centre became operational in January 2006 and presently employs 10 permanent staff as well as part-time teachers. Within the University Centre building over 50 members of staff work in research and teaching positions in various institutions and companies. Per annum the University Centre operates a distance-learning service for 100 students; it runs a degree course on the master's programme in Coastal and Marine Management and the master's programme in Marine Innovation for about 50 students, as well as offering diverse summer courses.
The Master's Program in Coastal and Marine Management was established in September 2008 by the Minister of Education. Students graduate from the University of Akureyri with a Master of Resource Management (MRM) degree. The programme is international, cross-disciplinary and taught in modules. Each module is open to participants from Icelandic and foreign universities and also for those from a working background. There are presently around 40 people in the Master's program.
Furthermore, the University Centre offers several summer courses in the Westfjords, including tailor-made courses for national and international field schools.
The University Centre of the Westfjords was not founded as a research institution. The Centre is none the less involved in research projects, and it is contributing to research by it's master's students' theses. However, its strengths have up to now mainly been in acting as a coordinator in research projects rather than in conducting research of its own.
The University Centre of the Westfjords is in partnership with various international cooperative ventures, including the University of the Arctic, and has participated in projects with the Nordic Council and the European Union.
The University Centre of the Westfjords emphasis high standards and follows the Bologna Process for European university requirements, in collaboration with national and foreign universities. However, the University Centre is still in its early years and boasts a flexible outlook. The faculty and staff endeavour to provide an exceptional service to both students and researchers in and outside the Westfjords.
Research and Cooperation
The University Centre of the Westfjords works closely with research centres in and outside the Westfjords. Although there are no researchers at the Centre, students from the Master's program in Coastal and Marine Management contribute further knowledge with the completion of their theses. Many of the instructors on the Master's program are distinguished university teachers from various parts of the world, who furthermore create a bond between the University Centre and their own research centres.
Branches of the Marine Research Institute and the Icelandic Food and Biotech R&D, the Research Centre of the University of Iceland, and the Nature Centre of the Westfjords, including many other organisations in the Westfjords, all work on diverse research relating to the fisheries industry, its projects and the environment of the sea and the coastline. The research topics include fishing technology, sustainable aquaculture (fish farming), eco-systems and environmental impact assessment. All these research topics are linked to the main subjects of the Masters program in Coastal and Marine Management at the University Centre. The University Centre, The Association of Municipalities in the Westfjords (on behalf of the municipalities in the Westfjords) and Eik Planning Agency collaborate on a research project on marine spatial planning. Amongst other research centres in the Westfjords is The Avalanche Research Centre of The Icelandic Meteorological Office that conducts research and risk assessment for avalanches in Iceland.
Most of these establishments are based in the University Centre building and this creates a favourable environment where guest lecturers and students can meet and discuss their different research projects.
The University Centre is also associated with the international institutions such as AquaTNet for aquaculture education, UArctic Thematic Network on coastal and marine issues as well as UArctic TN on Local Governance.
The centre has a website www.uwestfjords.is
Name: Peter Weiss
Job title: Director
Telephone: +354 450 3045 // +354 869 3045