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The aim of the GeoPolitics in the High North research programme is to develop new knowledge about actors and their interests in the High North. The programme is led by the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies, and consists of a core group of Norwegian and international partners, supplemented by associated institutions and associated individuals.

More information on the programme
Where is the "High North"?
What is "geopolitics"?

The programme

GeoPolitics in the High North:

  • A research programme running from 2008 to 2012
  • Aims at developing new knowledge about the interaction of actors in the High North
  • Conducted by the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies with partners and associates
  • Is financed through the Research Council of Norway

The programme includes a group of institutions and individuals led by the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies and consists of a core group of Norwegian and international partners, supplemented by associated institutions and associated individuals.


The Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS), specialises in the fields of geopolitics, as well as Norwegian and international security, including Russian, American and High North security. IFS has prioritised the northern region in its research activities, with more than ten scholars holding High North research competence. In the autumn of 2007, the institute was responsible for organising two international conferences on the High North: one pertaining to Cold War issues, the second dealing with current and future challenges in the High North.

The Department of Political Science of the University of Oslo (UiO) is the leading academic institution in Norway concerning geopolitics, international organisations and regimes, and energy and environmental issues. The prominent professors taking part in the programme include Dag Harald Claes, Arild Underdal and Øyvind Østerud.

The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an independent foundation engaging in social science research on international energy, resource and environmental policy, including international law. It is a leading institute internationally on regime effectiveness and institutional interplay, on Arctic politics related to marine resource management, climate and environment, energy development and law of the sea issues. It has also a major research agenda on Russian politics and interests in the High North.

The Departments of History and Political Science and the Faculty of Law of the University of Tromsø (UiT) represent one of the major academic research environments for international relations in the High North. Key research areas include international ocean law and governance, and the history of the Arctic. Alf Håkon Hoel, Tore Henriksen, Hallvard Tjelmeland, Torbjørn Pedersen and Per Christiansen will be the main contributors.


The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington DC is one of the world’s most prominent research institutes. It ranks among the leading institutes within the fields of geopolitics, global security, defence policy and international security, and energy security. CSIS specialists seek to anticipate changes in key countries and regions, including Europe.

Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin, is an independent research institute, and the leading German centre for international and security studies. Apart from participating in the scholarly discourse in Germany and internationally, it produces policy papers for the use of the German government and parliament. SWP’s research agenda is directed towards current issues of public and policy interests.

Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO) is one of the major Russian research institutions on international and security issues. Apart from conducting research, MGIMO offers a full spectrum of higher education in the field. MGIMO hosts the Norwegian-Russian Institute of Energy Cooperation, established in 2004 in cooperation with the Graduate School of Business and Bodø University College.

The Institute of Universal History of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IUH) is the major Russian research institute on international history. The institute specialises in Cold War studies, and is an active participant in international networks in the field. IFS has been cooperating closely with the IUH since the early 1990s.

Associated Institutions

The Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) is a leading research institution focusing on a broad range of defence related areas, with a main focus on defence technology. In this programme it supplements IFS’ research portfolio in security studies, with a particular focus on Russian security policy and regional military affairs.

Econ Pöyry is a Nordic research institute and consulting company working primarily at the crossroads between markets, policies and technology. Econ Pöyry conducts research across a wide spectrum of topics and issues, most notably energy-related questions.

Associated Individuals

Apart from the institutions listed above, a number of individual Norwegian and foreign researchers have agreed to participate in some form with the programme. Among these the following researchers are the most central:

Our approach will be inclusive, rather than exclusive. Collectively, the institutions and individuals contributing to this joint effort represent an impressive depth of knowledge and expertise in the specific fields of study covered by the programme.

More information on the programme's associated individuals

©2014-2017 Geopolitics in the High North. All rights reserved

Norwegian Institute for defence Studies CSIS Fritjof Nansen Institute Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik University of Tromsø Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University) of the MFA of Russia University of Oslo Institute of general history Norwegian Defence Research Establishment Econ Pöyry
  The GeoPolitics in the High North research programme is now terminated, and the programme website will be preserved through 2016, but not updated.
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For more information about current IFS research on the High North, please visit our website:

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