Aberdeen lies at the hub of a region that extends eastwards to the Nordic and Baltic countries and to northern Russia and Siberia, and westwards to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and Alaska.

This region, known as the 'circumpolar North', is defined by latitude and the tight intersection of climatic, environmental, historical, geopolitical and cultural conditions. These come together to give it a significance for the future of life on earth out of proportion to its relatively sparse human population.

Aberdeen offers a base for northern research that uniquely affords a truly circumpolar perspective. The University has already established a leading international research reputation in a number of fields, such as:

  • geosciences
  • environmental biology
  • archaeology
  • anthropology
  • Scandinavian studies


The North theme consists of four programmes:

These interdisciplinary programmes brought together colleagues from the College of Physical Sciences (CoPS), the College of Life Sciences and Medicine (CLSM) and the College of Arts and Social Sciences (CASS).  Programme teams were comprised of established staff, five postdoctoral research fellows and 11 doctoral students. Their findings will be available from here shortly.


Established in June 2011, The North theme was led by Professor Tim Ingold and managed by 17 Project Board members, drawn from all three Colleges of the University representing a full range of northern interests.

Doctor Ed Schofield took over from Professor Tim Ingold in 2018 to lead The North theme, with the assistance of 10 new members of The New North theme working group, to build on the University's current northern research ranging from music, language and archaeology to geology, hydrology and climate change to provide an environment in which projects can develop.


The long-term ambition is to establish an Aberdeen Institute for the North with its own building, centred on a Museum of the North. This will act as a magnet for researchers from around the world.