University Centre Svalbard (UNIS)
The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) is the world’s northernmost higher education institution, located in Longyearbyen at 78º N. We provide research-based education of the next generation of Arctic experts in biology, geology, geophysics and technology. The centre was established in 1993 in Longyearbyen, a town of 2,100 inhabitants on the western coast of Spitsbergen island. Despite its name, it is not a university (a status that can only be conferred by the government under certain conditions to larger institutions), but a limited company involved in research and some university-level education. The main idea behind establishing UNIS was that the unique geographic location of the island permits the study of Arctic sciences in situ, right outside the company walls. Its official language is Norwegian, but English is used in all tuition and 68% of its 690 students originate from outside Norway (in 2015, foreign students came from 43 countries). Of the international students, the largest groups were from Nordic countries outside Norway (12%), Germany (11%), the Netherlands (9%), the United Kingdom (6%), and Russia (6%). The tuition is free of charge and is carried out by 27 full-time professors, 43 adjunct professors and 160 guest lecturers. The latter are invited from Norwegian and foreign institutions within various joint research projects. Those projects are also instrumental for the enrollment of master and PhD students – UNIS does not accept its own graduates for those courses and requires potential candidates to present a letter of support from their home institution. One important collaboration is the educational exchange program with Russia. The funding for UNIS is provided by the Norwegian government, research councils and private industry.