Over the years, a dynamic research culture has been steadily growing in the Faroe Islands – with several institutes, laboratories, muse­ums and private companies engaged in working on original research projects.

(Source: Faroe Islands Official Website)

Introducing the Research Council Faroe Islands – Granskingarráðið

One of the actors of this development is Annika Sølvará, Director of Granskingarráðið, Research Council Faroe Islands, (in the head picture) known as “Gransking.” She emphasizes the paramount importance of research within Faroese society. Sølvará advocates for transparency and accessibility of research to the public, emphasizing the need for seamless collaboration across academia, government, industry, and society.

Gone are the days when researchers toil away in isolated ivory towers. Instead, they now strive to ensure their work aligns with broader goals and purposes. To bridge knowledge gaps and investigate subjects vital for societal and economic development, the Research Council encourages, and funds essential research projects.

The Research Council Faroe Islands has three main working areas:

  • It administers funds for research, provided mainly by the Government, but also funded by other sources.
  • Hosts the Faroese National Contact Point service for Horizon Europe and is Bridgehead Organisation of the Faroese EURAXESS services.
  • Shares information on research and research results.

As part of its information and dissemination efforts, the Research Council engages and collaborates with all the Faroese research institutions to organize the “Researchers’ Night” each September. This event is a local facet of the larger European Researchers’ Night, celebrated across Europe. The Researchers’ Night serves as a platform for cross-sector collaboration, fostering a deeper understanding of, and solutions to complex challenges. It effectively transforms research into a public celebration, raising interest in scientific work across society.

The Faroese Researchers´ Night 2023 – Vísindavøka – will be held on Friday September 22nd in Sjóvinnuhúsið – University of the Faroe Islands.”

(Source: https://www.gransking.fo/en/resources/researchers-night)

The event is all about subjects important for the Faroe Islands but is also open for international researchers to participate and join. However, most presentations are held in Faroese language. Last year’s (2022) event motto was “time series”, showcasing research outcomes spanning over time periods.  For 2023 it was decided to not allocate a specific subject for the event allowing a diverse mix of topics to take center stage.

The core of the annual Researchers’ Festival is a series of 15-minutes presentations which start early in the morning and last until late afternoon and take place in the University auditorium “Silo” at the harbor. The venue offers a perfect stage for not only the 20 presentations given, but also for a range of activation points to involve schoolchildren and students for deeper understanding and interaction with the topics of the event. Microscopes to explore and watch, a tent of the Marine Research Institute to learn about the economical and ecological value of different fish and environmental learning are just a few of the possibilities to explore there.

The Festival covers many topics spanning all science fields.

The list of presentations is available here (In Faroese language only)

Horizon Europe

The Research Council Faroe Islands is responsible for promoting Faroese participation in Horizon Europe, which includes specific focus on the ocean via Mission Ocean. This alignment reflects the Faroe Islands’ research priorities, which center on ocean, marine resources, aquaculture, and environmental impact studies, crucial for their economy.

Digital Ocean Twin

One fascinating facet of the Mission Ocean project is the development of a digital sustainable ocean twin. This digital twin relies on data from various research projects to create a virtual replica of the ocean, enabling the observation and modeling of changes in ocean parameters, such as pollution, plastic, and traffic. (More information: European Digital Twin Ocean)

Ocean and Blue Economy

The focus of research in the Faroe Islands is on the ocean, as the small nation’s main income is derived from fishing and aquaculture, as well as from blue economy in general. Topics like Marine, Aquaculture and Geology are prevalent in research – but not only. As the quality of on-shore fresh water governance is directly affecting the seawater, there are also projects looking into lakes, freshwater fish, wetlands, quality of freshwater, and groundwater.

Focus on Domestic Research

The Research Council Faroe Islands addresses topics of scientific excellence and local significance. In contrast, other funding institutes, such as NORA, fund collaborative projects spanning Nordic countries. Recent MoUs of Granskingarráðið with Rannis in Iceland and Greenland Research Council will enhance research cooperation into the similarities of these small and vulnerable societies – the number of visitors/tourists and their impact on the nature and effects on society being one of the many subjects to look into jointly.

A call for proposals for Marine Research in the North Atlantic Ocean 2024 has just been published.

All the research projects supported by the Research Council are registered and shared on Pure.fo (https://pure.fo/) – a  portal for connecting research and sharing of knowledge with the world

For more information on Research Council Faroe Islands, please visit: https://www.gransking.fo/en

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content idea and interview: Johanna Fischer / ecomice – FrauBlau for Visit Faroe Islands Meetings, 19.09.2023