Centre of regional studies emerging at the University Centre of the Westfjords

On Thursday morning staff of Icelandic Regional Development Institute (Byggðastofnun) had a look on University Centre of the Westfjords' recently inaugurated new student dormitory. Although Byggðastofnun had not been involved in financing this development, visiting staff showed it a lot of interest, as this is indeed one way to foster regional development.

It's thesis defense season!

It's thesis defense season again at the University Centre of the Westfjords. The first defense starts on Wednesday 17th of April. During this defense season 9 students will defend their theses in the coming weeks with many interesting topics. The defenses are open to the public and people are also invited to join through zoom. The links can be found in the table below.

UW students visit mayor of Bolungarvík

Recently, students taking the “Migration and Population Development” course at UW got the chance to have a meeting with Jón Páll, the mayor of Bolungarvík. Bolungarvík is a coastal town, 15 minutes away from Ísafjörður. They were shown around the municipality building and got to peek into the office of the Natural Science Institute of the Westfjords, Blámi, and the Research Centre of the University of Iceland housed in the same building. After the tour, they had an interesting talk in the mayor's office about the town’s population development and investments, and got an informative presentation. Jón Páll introduced them to a project called “Bolungarvík 1000+” which aimed to increase the population of Bolungarvík from 950 inhabitants to over 1000. It was a response to pressure that was put on small communities with under 1000 inhabitants to merge. Jón Páll said that Bolungarvík is a very independent town, and they didn’t consider the option to merge with another municipality and decided instead to increase the population to over 1000 people. They were successful and on April 13th 2023 the population reached 1000 inhabitants. He said they did this by investing and putting effort into three big pillars.

UW alum Leah Shamlian wins thesis award

Leah Shamlian is an UW alum who recently won the Tom McKnight & Joan Clemons Paper Award for her master’s thesis. The award was presented at the annual Association for Pacific Coast Geographers Conference, and it is given to outstanding papers. The committee, which is made up of 5 to 7 faculty from a variety of universities and colleges, looks for an overall knowledge of the topic presented, the promise shown when the student presents, and their response to questions. The award was created by Tom McKnight and Joan Clomens.

National survey in Iceland on place attachment, climate change awareness, and risk perception

Emma Dexter, a UW student in the Coastal Communities and Regional Development master’s program at UW, is currently conducting a nationwide survey in Iceland as a part of her master’s project. The survey measures place attachment, climate change awareness, and risk perception for people living in Iceland. The findings will help inform sustainable development strategies on a local and national scale and suggest how individuals’ perceptions might be better integrated into these plans.

Researching green ammonia for maritime use in Ísafjörður

UW has a visitor this week from a researcher conducting field work in Ísafjörður for his master’s thesis. Matei Filip Popescu is a 26-year-old master’s student in the Environment and Natural Resources program at the University of Iceland. He has been staying at UW, where he uses the remote working office to conduct interviews with locals. His thesis adviser is Dr. David Cook, who is an instructor at UW and adjunct lecturer at the University of Iceland. It is through his connection to UW that Matei came here to us. His master’s thesis is on the social acceptance of green ammonia for maritime uses in Ísafjörður. He is conducting interviews with local institutions, businesses, and members of the community to understand and consider a broad spectrum of opinions, worries, or excitements about the idea of developing a green ammonia hub in Ísafjörður for maritime use.

Digital transformation and artificial intelligence in marine spatial planning

Talking about science

Today was the last day of the two week-master’s course “Talking Science: A Practical Guide to Creative Science Communication.” The course was taught from February 5th to February 16th by Jenny Rock, instructor at UW, and it is part of the master’s program as an elective course for both Coastal Marine Management and Coastal Communities and Regional Development. The course is about communicating scientific content within academia and more importantly, beyond academia. Students learn creative ways to communicate research in various contexts. The course is a hands-on workshop and draws from a range of fields to help students communicate about diverse science and social issues.

Upcoming lunch lectures at UW

A longstanding feature at the University Centre are regular public lectures, called ‘Vísindaport’. They are 45 minute lunch lectures on Fridays, held at the University Centre, and are usually short introductions to varied research projects, followed by an informal discussion session. Below you can see the upcoming lunch lectures in February and March:

UW receives Jules Verne grant and a visit from the French Ambassador

UW was honored to receive the Jules Verne grant, which is a fund that supports scholarly exchange between Icelandic and French institutions. The grant is led by UW research manager Dr. Catherine Chambers and Dr. Denis Laborde, ethnologist at the French National Institute of Scientific Research. The project aims to explore the value of the shared Icelandic-Basque maritime cultural heritage as a tool for sustainable community development, and is connected to the larger BASQUE project underway in Djúpavík.