Research
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Research

There is a thriving and growing re­search culture in the Faroe Islands with several institutes, laboratories, muse­ums and private companies working on original research projects. There are also several Faroese researchers living abroad, as well as foreign researchers, who are engaged in research issues re­lated to the Faroe Islands. A number of these are young Ph.D. students enrolled in foreign universities.

International collaboration is essential to the quality of Faroese research and innovation. Faroese researchers partic­ipate in many international networks, and the Faroese research and innova­tion landscape is to a large extent an­chored in international partnerships. The Faroe Islands became formally as­sociated to the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) in 2010, and Faroese researchers and institutes have led or taken part in a range of European projects in areas such as environment, climate change, ecosystems and fish­eries management. In 2014 the Faroe Islands became an associated country under the EU Horizon 2020 research programme.

EURAXESS Faroe Islands
EURAXESS is a pan-European initiative, supported by 40 participating countries across Europe. It provides a single access point to information across all countries including a network of walk-in centres offering personalized assistance to researchers moving to another country.
EURAXESS Faroe Islands is part of the EURAXESS network. EURAXESS Faroe Islands was established in 2013. The objective of EURAXESS Faroe Islands is to give on-line information and practical assistance for researchers moving to and from the Faroe Islands.

EURAXESS Faroe Islands has Service Centres and Local Contact Points in all public research institutions and in the industry. The National Service Centre is located in Research Council Faroe Islands which is also the Bridgehead Organisation of EURAXESS Faroe Islands. The Bridgehead Organisation coordinates the EURAXESS network of the Faroe Islands and is in charge of the EURAXESS Faroe Islands portal which provides information on practicalities to mobile researchers. A Local Service Centre is located at the University of the Faroe Islands.

Read more about EURAXESS Faroe Islands

Research Council Faroe Islands 
Research Council Faroe Islands administers the government-funded Research Foundation, which funds research, development and innovation connected to the Faroese context. The Research Foundation was established in 2002 and receives a yearly funding from the Faroese government of approximately 7.5 million DKK. The Research Council awards research grants to Faroese researchers and research students, as well as to research projects at or connected to Faroese research institutes and commercial enterprises. In addition to awarding grants, the Research Council also advises the Government and industry on matters relating to research policy.

University of Faroe Islands
The University of the Faroe Islands is a state-run university located in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroe Islands. The student body is about 1200 students in total, and the official language of the University is Faroese, making it the only university in the world to conduct its classes in that language. The University works closely with higher educational institutions in neighbouring countries on research and teaching, and it is involved in a growing number of collaborative projects and exchange programs with international all over the world. The University is made up of five Departments: Department of Faroese Language and Literature, Department of Education, Department of Science and Technology, Department of Nursing and Department of History and Social Sciences. 

iNova
Research Park iNOVA is a new facility that opened in 2013 and located in Tórshavn, where private enterprise and public institutions can access state-of-the-art laboratories, instruments, offices and an event location. iNOVA was created as a part of a coordinated effort by the state and an array of the largest private enterprises on the islands to improve the scientific infrastructure of the Faroe Islands.

iNOVA is an unique scientific environment, where research departments of private companies shares a roof with the university and public research institutions, granting improved access to high-end instruments and allowing coordinated cooperation and shared skills and competences between users.

Medicine, Public Health and Genetics
The Department for Occupational Medicine and Public Health has considerable experience in Faroese and international medical research. The National Hospital of the Faroe Islands has in recent years been involved in a growing number of research projects, many in collaboration with the Genetic Biobank.

The Genetic Biobank is a governmen­tal institution under the Ministry of Health, with a mandate to organize, de­velop and administer a tissue registry, a diagnosis registry and a genealogy registry, and to process applications for permission to access and study the in­formation contained in these registries. In June 2006 The Genetic Biobank started developing the infrastructure to establish and main­tain an active biobank. Such a resource can be used in conjunction with med­ical and genealogical data to support research projects aimed at discovering the relationship between genetic back­ground, environmental influences and disease onset and progression.

Some hereditary conditions are more common in the Faroe Islands than elsewhere. This is due to the country’s remote location and the fact that most Faroese people are the descendants of relatively few original settlers. Gene testing has confirmed that the Faroese population can be considered a genetically isolated population, which is very interesting in the context of genetics research.

All Faroese people are registered in the so-called Genealogy Registry, which is a family tree of the Faroese people dating all the way back to the 17th century. The Faroese health care sector also have a special system that records health information, a joint digital health record, (THS as abbreviated in Faroese), and this means that Faroe Islands have cohesive public health services. These robust records are useful tools for genetics research of the Faroese population.  All these factors make the Faroe Islands uniquely well suited to genetics research.

In 2011 the FarGen project was launched by the Genetic Biobank. FarGen has the potential to enable high-level research opportunities in the Faroe Islands, which would be of great interest both locally and internationally. The aim of the FarGen project is to read the whole DNA (genome) of all the Faroese people who want to participate. The purpose is to develop a platform for genetic research of the Faroese population. Coupled with knowledge from the public health services and the Registry of Genealogy, mapping Faroese genes can enable improvements in the prevention and treatment of medical conditions. Further, the aim is to develop local competencies in preparing DNA for genome sequencing, as well as securely handling and storing digital data from sequencing.

In the first phase, the genomes of 1,500 Faroese people will be sequenced and digitalised for recording in a database held by the Genetic Biobank. This data will be used to put together a Faroese reference genome.

Museums
The Museum of Natural History conducts research, documents findings and disseminates knowledge about biology to the public. The specific focus areas of the museum’s research are Faroese ecosystems and biodiversity, whales and seals, climate change, nature in the north and bird ringing. The Historical Museum collects, catalogues and exhibits archaeological as well as more recent specimens that shed light on the way of living, working conditions and culture of the Faroe Islands.

Earth and Environmental Sciences
The Faroese Earth and Energy Directorate is a governmental directorate under the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It administers research into hydrocarbon activity, natural resources, petroleum exploration and other geological subjects.

The Environment Agency is a governmental agency under the Ministry of the Interior. Its research areas include examinations of pollution in animals, humans, nature and urban areas. It also maintains an environmental specimen bank with various biological items suitable for further research.

Marine Biology
Faroe Marine Research Institute is a governmental research institute which conducts marine research and provides the government with scientific advice on marine resources, environment and sustainability. The aim of the research is to provide a basis for responsible fishing in Faroese oceans.

The Aquaculture Research Station of the Faroes is a public company that conducts research into aquaculture and related areas. The aim is to use scientific knowledge to increase the quality of aquacultural products from the Faroe Islands.