Our history

Marit Reigstad
Nansen Legacy PI
UiT The Arctic University of Norway

The Nansen Legacy consortium was established to meet scientific knowledge gaps in a vastly changing Arctic ecosystem, as well as to unite and strengthen the Norwegian Arctic research community and optimize use of existing and emerging infrastructure.
The idea for a large Norwegian Arctic research initiative was first launched by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters in 2011. The initiative was motivated by a need to overcome fragmentations within the Norwegian marine research communities, as highlighted in biosciences- and geoscience evaluations. It was also a motivation to optimize use of existing and emerging infrastructure like the planned research ice breaker Kronprins Haakon. Finally, there was a considerable knowledge gap in the rapidly changing Arctic sector of the Barents Sea, and a critical need for knowledge to enable a knowledge- and ecosystem based sustainable management to meet ambitions of increased activities outlined in Northern Region strategies.
This initiative was concretized in the consortium’s first Nansen Legacy science plan in 2014. This plan was further developed into a proposal evaluated by an international evaluation panel appointed by National Academy of Sciences (USA), in early 2016. Excellent reviews and recommendations motivated the commitment from all involved institutions to provide a 50% in-kind contribution to support the plan. A pre-project to prepare the realization of the project – including the development of this extended proposal – was funded by the Ministry of Education and Research in 2017. The extended proposal was evaluated and funded by the Research Council of Norway, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Research and the participating institutions from 2018-2023. The project development was a joint and collaborating effort between scientists and institutional leaders in the ten research institutions.