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“If anyone wants to study the Arctic, research the Arctic,
or work in the Arctic, UA’s three universities are the perfect place.”

Pat Pitney, President, University of Alaska

UA’s Arctic Expertise

For the past 100 years, the University of Alaska system has built a tremendous foundation in Arctic research, education, and leadership. As the nation’s premier Arctic university — with expertise and programs in multidisciplinary Arctic scholarship, research, global policy, and Indigenous and local knowledge — UA is focused on finding solutions to the challenges in the Arctic.

In addition to its unique and impactful programs, the university is recognized for leadership in the circumpolar north in policy, connections with Arctic partners, and commitment to building future Arctic leaders.

Coming North: UA Arctic Research


Alaska, and by extension the University of Alaska, occupies a critical position at the international crossroads of the Arctic region. Our faculty, students, and leaders are engaged in critical Arctic issues ranging from climate change to remote energy production, national security, and ocean health. All these issues converge with indigenous heritage, local knowledge, sustainability, and climate adaptation. Arctic emphasis permeates all of our educational offerings.

Explore all UAF programs

Alaska Native Languages

Alaska Native Studies

Arctic and Northern Studies

Atmospheric Sciences

Biological Sciences

Civil Engineering

Computer Engineering

Earth Systems Science

Environmental Chemistry

Environmental Resources

Environmental Science

Environmental Studies

Fisheries Management

Fisheries & Ocean Science

Indigenous Languages

Marine Biology

Marine Policy

Outdoor Studies


The Centers and institutes at the University of Alaska focus on Arctic-centered education, programs, and research. Students, faculty, and staff tackle real-world challenges from building Arctic infrastructure to adapting to a changing climate. These experiences are hands-on, and help develop solutions for life in a rapidly changing climate.

University of Alaska Fairbanks

The Climate Scholars Program at UAF offers the first opportunity of its kind in the nation for undergraduates to get involved and make a meaningful impact. As a Climate Scholar, students engage in a highly interdisciplinary academic experience that connects the arts, humanities, and sciences. Scholars also have the chance to work with top climate science experts engaged in cutting-edge research on climate and the Arctic.
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The Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) fosters innovative solutions to Alaska’s energy challenges. The center develops and disseminates practical, cost-effective, and innovative energy solutions, and provides leadership in sustainable energy systems for islanded, non-integrated electric grids, and heating and transportation systems.
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This center aims to boost Alaska’s blue economy by serving as a resource and support center for research, instruction, and outreach related to Alaska’s vast aquatic resources and ecosystems.
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The institute is the research arm of the College of Engineering and Mines (CEM). It has several distinct research centers and provides facilities and support to dozens of researchers working in conjunction with the College. INE is the home to many of the world’s leading researchers in cold weather and cold climate science
and engineering.
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Created by Congress in 1946, the GI has become the premier center of Arctic research and science. With 18 facilities and laboratories and seven research groups, the GI provides Arctic expertise, capabilities and research including Atmospheric Sciences; Remote Sensing; Seismology and Geodesy; Snow, Ice and Permafrost; Space Physics and Aeronomy; Tectonics and Sedimentation; and Volcanology, turning data and observations into information useful for Arctic and national priorities.
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Centers within the GI:

Alaska Center for UAS Integration (ACUASI) is one of seven FAA-designated UAS test sites and the largest UAS operator in the Arctic.

Alaska Climate Research Center (ACRC) responds to inquiries concerning the meteorology and climatology of Alaska from public, private, and government agencies, and from researchers around the world.

Alaska Satellite Facility (ASF) operates the NASA archive of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data and provides powerful imaging and observation capabilities in the Arctic.

High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) is the world’s most powerful and flexible high-frequency transmitter used for studying the ionosphere, which supports research that can lead to innovations in global communications and navigation.

Poker Flat Research Range is the world’s largest land-based rocket research range, only high-latitude rocket range in the United States and only scientific rocket launching facility owned by a university.

IARC includes more than 100 scientists, analysts, students, and professional staff that investigate all elements of the Arctic system, including ocean, ice, atmosphere, land, and society.

Centers within IARC:

Center for Arctic Policy Studies (CAPS) is an interdisciplinary, globally informed group dedicated to providing policymakers with reliable and timely information about Arctic issues ranging from natural resources to engineering to political science.

Alaska Arctic Observatory and Knowledge Hub (AAOKH) provides tools, resources, and scientific information to share local expertise and observations focusing on changes in sea ice, wildlife, and coastal waters.

Alaska Center for Climate Assessment & Policy (ACCAP) conducts innovative and collaborative research and engagement to inform climate policy, decision-making with focus areas of extreme events and Tribal resilience.

Alaska Climate Adaptation Science Center (AK CASC) provides scientific information, tools, and techniques that managers and others interested in land, water, wildlife, and cultural resources can use to adapt to climate change.

Supports faculty and post-doctoral research and graduate education in the life sciences of wildlife, physiology, genetics and evolutionary biology, ecology and ecosystems, biomedicine, and bioinformatics and computational biology.

Programs within IAB:

Toolik Field Station is the largest scientific research station in the Arctic; mission is to facilitate a greater understanding of the Arctic by fostering research and education.

Center for Alaska Native Health Research (CANHR) conducts basic and applied research to advance understanding, prevention, and reducing health disparities in Indigenous communities.

Alaska Geobotany Center conducts interdisciplinary Arctic science research and collaboration to understand Arctic geoecological relationships and dynamics at local to global scales.

R/V Sikuliaq, pronounced [see-KOO-lee-auk], is a 261-foot oceanographic research ship capable of bringing scientists to the ice-choked waters of Alaska and the polar regions. Sikuliaq, one of the most advanced university research vessels in the world, is able to break ice up to 2.5 feet thick. The vessel is owned by the National Science Foundation and operated by the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as part of the U.S. academic research fleet.
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Founded by a legislative mandate in 1960, the Institute of Marine Science (IMS) functions as the central research organization within the College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences (CFOS). Research conducted by CFOS faculty in its three departments (Oceanography, Marine Biology, and Fisheries) is administered through IMS, and the institute also serves as the home unit for all CFOS research faculty. Research conducted in IMS spans the range of disciplines in fisheries and ocean sciences, including marine, estuarine and freshwater ecosystems and their related human dimensions.

University of Alaska Anchorage

Alaska’s oldest public policy research organization, founded soon after Alaska became a state. ISER’s research offers a broad look at all the issues that have been important in Alaska from the 1960s through the present. ISER enhances the well-being of Alaskans and others, through non-partisan research that helps people understand social and economic systems and supports informed public and private decision-making.

ISER Focuses attention on critical economic and social issues in Alaska, the Arctic, and similar regions. The institute engage in basic and applied research leading to better understanding of those issues and disseminates knowledge through publications and other media, community involvement, public service, and teaching.

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A center for research, education, and scholarship at the University of Alaska Anchorage that is committed to providing the public, industry, and agency partners with information to facilitate effective biological conservation and management of the state’s natural resources.

Our faculty and staff conduct basic and applied research, serve a wide range of data to the public, offer professional services, and provide educational opportunities. Data and expertise provided by ACCS are also used by state and federal agencies and NGOs for environmental and conservation planning.

Research at ACCS focuses on aquatic ecology, botany and vegetation ecology, wildlife ecology, landscape ecology, and invasive species. ACCS also includes state representatives of nationwide programs: Alaska Natural Heritage Program (AKNHP) and Kachemak Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (KBNERR). Finally, ACCS provides educational opportunities for K-12, undergraduate, and graduate students.
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The Arctic Domain Awareness Center (ADAC) is a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Center of Excellence hosted by the University of Alaska, with research conducted at UA campuses in Anchorage and Fairbanks and across a growing network of academic and industry partners in the United States and Canada.

ADAC’s mission is to develop and transition technologies, innovate products, and foster education programs that will improve situational awareness and crisis response capabilities related to maritime challenges posed by the dynamic Arctic environment.

The center’s principal customer is the U.S. Coast Guard, whose Arctic search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, disaster response, and security missions must constantly evolve to meet the needs of a changing Arctic. ADAC provides networked, mission-focused support to U.S. Coast Guard operators in the High North. It also works with an array of international, federal, state, local, tribal, industry, and academic partners to advance domain awareness of the Arctic region.

As the only center of its kind providing Arctic research and development for DHS, ADAC’s vision is to become a national center of Arctic maritime research.

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UAA’s Business Enterprise Institute (BEI) links economic development programs across the University of Alaska System, supporting businesses and entrepreneurial capacities across Alaska. BEI provides a platform for high-level consultancy between industries and UAA. Providing economic development-related research and technical assistance, high-level professional education, small business development services, and entrepreneurial ecosystem enhancement for Alaska, BEI serves as a bridge to expertise and talents throughout UAA.
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The Environment and Natural Resources Institute (ENRI) is an interdisciplinary group of core UAA
staff and faculty affiliates with the shared goal of improving understanding of environmental and natural resource issues in cold regions. ENRI relies heavily upon external funding through competitive grants and cooperative agreements. Important funding agencies include the National Science Foundation, the USDA Forest Service and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
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Alaska’s rural and multi-cultural environment calls for multidisciplinary approaches to defining health problems and identifying appropriate solutions. The Institute for Circumpolar Health Studies (ICHS) was established by the Alaska Legislature in 1988 to improve the health of peoples of Alaska and other circumpolar areas through instruction, information services, and basic and applied research in health and medicine.
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University of Alaska Southeast

The Alaska Coastal Rainforest Center (ACRC) builds partnerships and catalyzes collaborative ecological, economic, and social research in the north Pacific coastal temperate rainforest to support vibrant and resilient communities and ecosystems. ACRC is a research center focusing on the north Pacific coastal temperate rainforest housed in the Pacific Northwest Research Station’s Juneau Forestry Sciences Lab adjacent to the UAS Juneau campus. ACRC was established in 2009 to strengthen collaborations between the University of Alaska Southeast, the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, and the US Forest Service Alaska Region.
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JIRP is a collaborative endeavor run primarily through the University of Maine School of Earth and Climate Sciences and the University of Maine Climate Change Institute, with significant support from the University of Alaska Southeast Dept. of Environmental Science. The field-based curriculum and stunning mountain environment has inspired students for over sixty years, leading many to careers in science but also as teachers, doctors, artists, and explorers. Students learn from leading scientists in a wide range of disciplines, including glaciology, geology, climatology, and biology. The science curriculum is augmented by presentations by professional photographers, film makers, and doctors specializing in wilderness medicine.
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What happens in the circumpolar north is consequential, and Alaska’s three universities are central to helping Alaska and the world understand its vulnerabilities and strategic importance. As researchers and graduates of the UA System, opportunities abound to partner with or work for governmental, tribal, and non-profit organizations critical to understanding the Arctic.

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