Info about research in Svalbard

Research in Svalbard requires extensive planning. Fieldwork involves challenges such as strict environmental regulations, crevasses, avalanches, extreme weather, polar bears, and poor to non-existent communications coverage and infrastructure.

Research projects must be registered in the Research in Svalbard (RiS) database well in advance. Research in Svalbard (RiS) is a portal administered by Svalbard Science Forum for registration of all kinds of science projects in Svalbard, including information about participating scientists and institutions, publications and data collected (metadata). The user-friendly portal offers open access to all relevant information in one place. It is a valuable tool for coordination and cooperation for those carrying out research in Svalbard and a place to search for information about activity in the field. Search through existing projects in the database to make sure your project is original and does not duplicate research and/or existing infrastructure.

Safety issues

The various challenges relating to fieldwork are mentioned above and are to be taken very seriously. The Governor of Svalbard provides a number of regularly updated guides on its webpages that will be helpful in fieldwork planning. The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) offers safety courses which address risks and challenges of relevance to Svalbard and the Arctic.

Contact UNIS for further information: .

While some research activities in Svalbard do not require prior consent, others may be subject to the approval of several government bodies.

Most Norwegian legislation applies to the Svalbard islands and regulates a number of research-relevant activities in the archipelago. Researchers and research institutions must familiarise themselves with applicable regulations and obtain all relevant permits from the Norwegian authorities before initiating their research activities in Svalbard.

Svalbard-specific Norwegian legislation, notably the Svalbard Environmental Protection Act (2001) and regulations, is highly relevant to all field research in the archipelago. More often than not, field research will require an exemption from the environmental regulations and/or a permit from the Governor of Svalbard.

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