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.

Science Goals


The primary scientific motivation of the NORUS programme is to address how climate-induced changes impact the living resources and ecosystems of the marine environment in the Arctic.


Under this primary goal, there are three science themes, which each take advantage of current scientific knowledge, available technology, and infrastructure of the partner institutions.


  1. Investigation of existing time-series measurements in Svalbard of key environmental variables for evaluating trends in the Arctic marine ecosystem that may be linked to a changing climate (e.g. Kongsfjorden, Rijpfjorden, and Isfjorden).
  2. Sea ice – ice biota interactions and the variations and in biodiversity between multi-year and annual sea-ice communities.
  3. The influence of North Atlantic Water (NAW) intrusion into the Arctic on water column productivity and coupling to benthic communities

These large science themes will be address by the team of NORUS researchers and students through completing a number of workshops and fieldwork programs. Specifically, the joint activities in the US and Norway will be based on courses, hands-on practical training in underwater robotics (US), sensor techniques (Cal Poly, NTNU), trial experiments (Cal Poly, NTNU) and true research-based education/expeditions to the Arctic (UNIS). Demonstrating the application of underwater robotics (e.g. buoyancy and propeller-driven autonomous underwater vehicles), equipped with in situ sensors, NORUS will improve our understanding of the dynamics of the living resources of the Arctic environment.


The combined expertise in ocean monitoring, mapping, and technology development between partners at NTNU, UNIS, Rutgers University and Cal Poly provides a solid framework to develop a strong educational exchange program between Norway and the United States.




The ice-covered fjord outside the High-Arctic research facilities in Ny Ålesund on Svalbard in spring time (photo by K. Hancke).






NORUS students and staff paying attention to Oscar Schofield giving a lecture in underwater gliders and the operations from the COOL room at Rutgers University, on a remote internet 'line', at the first NORUS workshop at UNIS, Svalbard (photo by G. Johnsen).



website edited by
Kasper Hancke, updated October 2009

For contact or comments, email 2009-2011