Other Activities

Thule Institute cooperates and works with national and international research and higher education institutes, networks and organisations and in the Arctic Council working groups.


Thule Institute is an active partner in several Polar and Arctic networks. The most important ones are here:

  • European Polar Board - Thule Institute at the University of Oulu and the Arctic Centre at the University of Lapland are Finnish representatives of the European Polar Board (EPB, established in 1995). Its Secretariat is hosted by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. Current EPB members are research institutes, funding agencies, scientific academies, and polar operators from across Europe. It is an independent entity that focuses on major strategic priorities of research in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions and provides strategic advice on Arctic and Antarctic issues mission is to improve European coordination of Arctic and Antarctic research by optimising the use of European research infrastructure. EPB promotes multilateral collaboration between its members and provides a single contact point for the global polar research community. Research coordinator Kirsi Latola is currently acting as the chair of the EPB.  
  • International Union of Circumpolar Health IUCH is an international non-governmental organization, with members, adhering bodies and affiliates throughout the circumpolar regions. It has been active since 1967. There has been a long-standing need for the exchange of medical knowledge, as well as the results of recent research and demonstrated solutions to problems for the benefit of humankind. It arranges every third year an international congress, next 18th congress will be in St Petersburg at 2021. Arctic communities, with the general and specific medical and health problems found in this region, obviously share this need with the rest of the world. The health problems and needs of northern peoples has become the focus of the only organization of its kind dedicated to the health problems of the circumpolar regions — the International Union for Circumpolar Health. IUCH is an observer of the Arctic Council.
    In order to support its members and affiliates, and the scientific and indigenous communities at large, the IUCH has clearly established working groups that concentrate on specific health problems of importance to circumpolar populations, maintains several publications and supports international efforts in Telemedicine and Health Informatics.
  • Arctic Council and its working groups Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme AMAP and Sustainable Development Working Group SDWG  - co-chairing the Arctic Human Health Expert Group 
    The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. Finland has been chairing Arctic Council 2017-2019, and Iceland is the chair for the next two years. Members of the Arctic Council: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the United States. In addition, six organizations representing Arctic indigenous peoples have status as Permanent Participants. The category of Permanent Participant was created to provide for active participation and full consultation with the Arctic indigenous peoples within the Council. The work of the Council is primarily carried out in six Working Groups. Vice-president Research Arja Rautio is the Finnish nominated member of two health groups (AHHEG, HHAG) under Sustainable Development Working Group and Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Working Group. 

    The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) monitors the Arctic environment, ecosystems and human populations, and provides scientific advice to support governments as they tackle pollution and adverse effects of climate change. AMAP's work is directed by the Ministers of the Arctic Council and their Senior Arctic Officials, who have requested AMAP to also support international processes that work to reduce the global threats from contaminants and climate change. These include the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, UNEP's Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and Minimata Convention on mercury, and the United Nation's Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution. 

    The Sustainable Development Working Group (SDWG) works to advance sustainable development in the Arctic and to improve the conditions of Arctic communities as a whole. Terms of Reference for the SDWG were formally adopted at the Arctic Council Ministers’ Meeting in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada in September 1998. The goal of the Sustainable Development program of the Arctic Council is to propose and adopt steps to be taken by the Arctic States to advance sustainable development in the Arctic.  This includes pursuing opportunities to protect and enhance the environment and the economies, culture and health of indigenous peoples and Arctic communities. The guiding tenet running throughout the work of the SDWG is to pursue initiatives that provide practical knowledge and contribute to building the capacity of indigenous peoples and Arctic communities to respond to the challenges and benefits from the opportunities in the Arctic region.

  • International Arctic Science Committee IASC - members of University of Oulu, Social & Human Working Group - The International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) is a non-governmental, international scientific organization. The Founding Articles committed IASC to pursue a mission of encouraging and facilitating cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research, in all countries engaged in Arctic research and in all areas of the Arctic region. Overall, IASC promotes and supports leading-edge interdisciplinary research in order to foster a greater scientific understanding of the Arctic region and its role in the Earth system. There are six working groups, where every member country can nominate two representatives.  
  • The Finnish National Committee of Arctic and Antarctic Research works to advance Finnish polar research and it is the national committee for Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). All the most significant institutions conducting Arctic or Antarctic research in Finland are represented in the national committee.The activities of the Finnish National Committee of Arctic and Antarctic Research are coordinated and supported by the Council of Finnish Academies. The Council allocates national committees from various disciplines with state subsidies from the Ministry of Education and Culture.



Thule Institute takes part in national and international research strategy work, aimed at focusing research into areas that are important and topical from the point of view of society. An example of those is the LYNET Luonnonvara- ja ympäristötutkimuksen yhteenliittymä (in Finnish).

Last updated: 17.5.2019