Technology development for marine monitoring and ocean observation: An North America-Norway educational program (NORUS)


‘Technology development for marine monitoring and ocean observation’ is a novel research-based higher education programme with a scientific focus on how climate-induced changes impact the living resources and ecosystems in the Arctic. The programme represents an international partnership between Norway (Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the University Centre of Svalbard) and the United States (California Polytechnic State University and Rutgers University) facilitating and developing state-of-the-art technology for marine monitoring and observation in both countries.

NORUS Programme Objectives
The general objective of the programme is to strengthen collaborations between USA and Norway in higher education, and to create sustainable academic linkages between Norway and the United States through the participating institutions.
The project will address climate change issues through the development and application of novel technology, hands on educational experiences and extensive direct interaction between US and Norwegian partners. The programme will facilitate enhanced mobility of faculty and students, thus improving knowledge exchange, expanding technical skills, and conducting innovative research in the Arctic.

The program objectives are (in addition to the three main scientific goals) to:

  1. Implement an international undergraduate and graduate partnership to train the next generation of oceanographers using the combined facilities of NTNU, Cal Poly, Rutgers University, and UNIS.
  2. Strengthen innovative research and academic relations to advance the development and application of underwater sensors and platforms (e.g. autonomous underwater vehicles, AUVs) to be used for marine monitoring and research.
  3. Develop educational programme and innovative elements of an integrated ocean observatory network to address how climate-induced changes impact the living resources and ecosystems in the Arctic.


Relevance and outcome
The documented and projected impacts of a changing climate on the Arctic ecosystem and its living resources calls for an extensive activity to monitor and understand the driving forces of the Arctic ecosystem. Taking into account the complicated logistical challenges, novel and improved techniques and solutions have to be developed in order to sample and monitor the vast Arctic areas with a sufficient spatial and temporal resolution to address the climate-induced questions.
Joint NORUS fieldwork and workshops in both Norway and the US will facilitate the education of the future generation of researchers and demonstrate the collaborative interactions that are needed to address these complex challenges. Through the use of autonomous underwater vehicles, development of in situ sensors, and enhancing robotic intelligence for application in the Arctic, NORUS activities will be pioneering discovery in marine environmental monitoring and research.




The Norwegian research vessel R/V Jan Mayen at the pier in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, prior to a research cruise in the High Arctic (photo by K. Hancke).




NORUS workshop activities at UNIS, Svalbard in MArch 2009 (photo by G. Johnsen).




website edited by
Kasper Hancke, updated November 2009

For contact or comments, email 2009-2011