A new International Institute on Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry Established in Norway

November 16, 2009 • Philip BurgessReindeer Herders

Johán Máhtte Turi and Dr. Robert W. Corell The Board of the University of the Arctic (UArctic) has approved the establishment of UArctic Institute for Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry, as a result of the International Polar Year (IPY) project and the IPY EALÁT project.


Among the founders of this institute, which is situated in Kautokeino, are the Sámi University College, International Center for Reindeer Husbandry (ICR) and the Association of World Reindeer Herders.

Distinguished Scientist
The renowned scientist Dr. Robert W. Corell has accepted a professorship in this new Arctic Institute. Dr Corell brings with him an impressive CV and unique experience for the position, which is financed jointly by the Sámi University College and the International Center for Reindeer Husbandry.

Corell was the leader of the Arctic Council project ACIA (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment), is head of the CAI (Climate Action Initiative), a senior adviser to the Global Environment and Technology Foundation, and former vice president at the H. John Heinz II Center for Science, Economics and Environment .

Al Gore’s adviser
Dr. Corell has been working a lot with research on climate and global change in addition to the interaction between research and policy, particularly research that focuses on global and regional climate change and related environmental issues.

In Tromsø in April 2009 Dr. Corell led the Melting Ice Conference with Vice President Al Gore and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, and since 2000 he has worked with reindeer herders and researchers in Kautokeino.

Dr. Robert Corell had the original idea for the EALÁT project (Reindeer Herders vulnerability networks study: Reindeer pastoralism in a changing climate) which later was initiated by the Association of World Reindeer Herders. He has been a member of the research group in EALÁT since 2005 and has published several articles together with this group.

Dr. Corell is also a researcher for Arctic Governance Project, an international arctic management study.

Includes Arctic indigenous people
The professorship is awarded to Dr. Corell to honor and recognize his willingness to include the Arctic Indigenous Peoples and their knowledge and understanding in research on the effects of global change.

The reindeer herding societies in all arctic and subarctic regions now face pervasive changes. The challenges of climate change, increased development and globalization are so extensive that we must use the best available evidence in order to adapt to the future.

But which and whose knowledge is this? Of course, the science-based knowledge has been and will continue to be important. But often the best available evidence in fact is the knowledge of the reindeer herders – the traditional knowledge that is developed through careful observation of reindeer and nature, transmitted from generation to generation, and used every day by both reindeer herders in the tundra and the taiga.

Dr. Robert Corell is widely known for hes support to include the Arctic indigenous peoples in research and reviews, and with this new position he will be better able to continue to support the ongoing efforts to develop adaptation strategies for future climate change in Arctic communities.

Read the press release and view pictures here on the Reindeer Portal