Research at UNAK
Research is one of the fundamental aspects of the University of Akureyri. Most of the research work is done by the academic members of the staff and Research Administration is in the hands of RHA - University of Akureyri Research Centre, whose purpose is to promote research activities and strengthen the University's connection to industry.
The University of Akureyri defines its purpose as creating "an environment and facilities for research and innovation that promote growth and progress in the Icelandic community". The University of Akureyri is a growing research university, as evidenced by the considerable increase in the number of publications and citations in recent years. The University focuses on research that meets international criteria, particularly research related to Icelandic society and industry, as well as the unique standing the University has pertaining to the Arctic regions.
The Master's studies are largely research based and the University promotes them both as a goal in themselves and as a precursor to Doctoral studies which will become a part of some of the Schools in the next few years on the basis of the good standing of the research environment and the human resources. The University of Akureyri aims to increase research activity in close cooperation with universities, institutions and companies, both domestic and foreign. Thus it creates an even stronger foundation for internationally respected and recognised Doctoral studies. The goal is to encourage the formation of research groups and to augment external financing through domestic and foreign competitive funds. Research services and their infrastructure will be strengthened in order to ensure the greatest possible success. Research work is done in all the Schools of the University and the majority of projects is performed in collaboration with academics and institutions, both Icelandic and otherwise, and through external financing.
One of the characteristics of the School of Health Sciences is that most research is done in interdisciplinary teams. Research projects pertaining to certain groups are commonplace, for example regarding support for cancer patients, the experience and integration of women after breast cancer, the rate of chronic pain, the rate of caesarean sections and perinatal mortality, regarding the knowledge and intake of folic acid amongst pregnant women, cardiac arrest outside of hospitals, and research projects among people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes and emphysema and children with reduced mobility. Another field of research deals with service levels, in which people's experience is often the focal point, that is, customer satisfaction as well as communication and connection between users/patients and professionals. This includes research relating to care and lack thereof, which led to the development of a theory on the matter. Research pertaining to development and localisation of assessment tools has dominated the field; the tools are either general in use or specific to certain groups. Among those are assessment tools for motion, physical skills, activities and participation of the elderly, participation and quality of life of children and teenagers, and the empowerment, self care and stress of diabetics. Some of those tools have proved their worth under Icelandic conditions and are used nationally in information registration.
In the School of Humanities and Social Sciences the research topics have been quite varied. The research in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law pertains to Icelandic history, international economic development and ideology, the media and communication of different social groups, ethics, and cognitive, physiological and clinical observations in psychology, among other things. Furthermore, the Faculty of Education is home to research in education and pedagogy, connected to school development, the philosophy of education, special education, reading, school management, history, Icelandic studies, pedagogy and educational theory, equality, psychology, and information technology in schooling. In addition, the Faculty of Social Sciences and Law houses research in international law, including human rights, both international and domestic, the rights of minorities and indigenous people, law of the sea, constitutional law, legal philosophy, legal theory, criminal sociology, property law, and comparative law.
In the School of Business and Science the research is focused mainly on the fields of biotechnology, genetics, marine biology, and utilisation of resources. Habitation studies and research connected to the effect of transport infrastructure on the community and settlements are in particular a common denominator for many research projects in all the Schools within the University. Research services and consultation to the government on settlement development and fisheries are an active and ever growing part of the work of academics at the University.
An emphasis is placed on following up the outcome of research work and on evaluating the performance of employees in accordance with the Evaluation System for Public Universities. Furthermore, an overview is maintained of performance, outcome, publications, and other items that measure quality and activity in research. The outcomes and results are shared with the community, politicians and the average citizen through the means available, such as the University website, open seminars, and the media, and with the scientific community through traditional publications. The University collects statistical data regarding its research work and related information is regularly examined and discussed in the Quality Council.