The University of Iceland's Institute of Research Centres was founded in 2003. The Institute is a venue for the University's collaboration with local authorities, institutions, businesses, and individuals in rural areas. Its objectives are to meet the demand for research and education all over Iceland, to provide facilities for research projects dealing with local environmental and societal conditions, to provide facilities for students' field work, to increase access to research based education in rural areas, and to strengthen the University's ties to local enterprises and daily life in rural areas.
Seven Research Centres are currently run by the Institute (some websites in Icelandic only):
- The University of Iceland's Research Centre at Snæfellsnes
- The University of Iceland's Research Centre in the West Fjords
- The University of Iceland's Research Centre in North West Iceland
- The University of Iceland's Research Centre in Húsavík
- The University of Iceland's Research Centre in Hornafjörður
- The University of Iceland's Research Centre in South Iceland
- The University of Iceland's Research Centre in Suðurnes
The Centres have had a positive impact on local societies by encouraging and enabling young researchers to make a career in research outside the capital area, by channelling research activities and research funding to rural areas, and by increasing the University's cooperation with local research initiatives.
In 2013, the Centres employed 30 people, permanent staff, part-time staff, and students. The majority of the Centres' income is self-generated through research funds and by other means.
The Institute's director is Sæunn Stefánsdóttir.
Other University of Iceland projects in rural areas
The University of Iceland offers distance learning in various subjects, including student counselling, public administration, English, Icelandic, and history. In addition, academics work on various projects in collaboration with other research institutions, companies, and associations in rural areas. Examples of other university projects in rural areas are: