The four permanently manned research communities in Svalbard are Ny-Ålesund, Longyearbyen, Hornsund and Barentsburg.

Field research takes place across the entire Svalbard, from Vesle Tavleøya in the north to Bjørnøya in the south, from Prins Karls Forland in the west to Kvitøya in the east, as well as in the surrounding waters. In 2015 alone, more than 500 researchers from close to 30 different nations are listed with active projects in the Research in Svalbard (RiS) database.
A significant share of all research projects originate in stations located inside the four permanently manned research communities in Svalbard.

Ny-Ålesund Research Station is the most international research community, where landowner and manager Kings Bay AS hosts researchers from Asia, Europe and North America. Researchers from 10 different countries have permanent research infrastructure in the settlement.

Longyearbyen is the administrative center of Svalbard. The community features the Svalbard Science Center, which houses the two most prominent research institutions in Svalbard; The University Center in Svalbard (UNIS) and the Norwegian Polar Institute. The EISCAT Svalbard Radar, run by institutions from China, Finland, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom, is located on the outskirts of Longyearbyen.

Barentsburg, a settlement run by the Russian coal mining company Trust Arktikugol, is also a hub for Russian research in Svalbard. A number of institutions affiliated with the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring in Russia (Roshydromet) run research and monitoring programs in Barentsburg.


The Hornsund station has been permanently manned by researchers from the Polish Academy of Sciences since 1978. The station has a permanent staff of 11.