About us

Academia Borealis, The North-Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters

Academia Borealis has as its foremost purpose the furthering of all types of research activity in the Arctic region, as well as promoting the understanding of the importance of science and scholarship in our society. Our main activity is organizing meetings and lectures, including two memorial lectures a year. Lectures are open to the public and are advertised in local media.

Since 2018 , the Board has consisted of  (left to right)  Professor Jens-Ivar Nergård, Professor Steinar Thorvaldsen, Professor Torsten slaksen, Professor Emerita Synnøve des Bouvrie (President), and Professor Åshild Fredriksen (Secretary General).

The Academy was founded on 25 January 2001. There are at present about 220 members, including scholars from academic institutions in Tromsø as well as members from universities and research institutions elsewhere in Norway and abroad.

Academia Borealis is a continuation of “The Committee for the scientific institutions in Tromsø” that was founded in 1928, a cooperation between Troms Museum (establ. 1872), The Meteorologial Institute of Northern Norway (establ. 1920) and the Northern Lights Observatory, which was transferred from Haldde in Alta and established in Tromsø in 1928. The “Committee” was unofficially named “The Comet” and administered several funds, with the explicit aim to work for a university in Northern Norway. These funds were substantially expanded in 2000 and in 2003 collected in “The North-Norwegian Scientific Fund, «The Comet»”.

The Academy is a proud co-founder of the Mohn Prize, first time awarded in January 2018. The prize amounts to 2 million NOK (approximately 195 000 €) and is awarded biennially.


1) Academia Borealis manages the fund, “The Comet – North-Norway’s Research Fund”, whose purpose it is to support research, primarily in and about North-Norway. The research fund was established in 2003 by merging two older funds as well as a gift from the local researcher’s union.

Master and doctoral students may apply for scholarships from the Fund (these are advertised annually), including also grants for fieldwork, travel, and necessary equipment.