Tromsø is known worldwide as an arctic city with glorious views of the Northern Lights – what's perhaps less widely known outside parts of the research community is that it is a hotspot of activity for (cold) marine biotechnology.
The most northern city in North Norway, Tromsø is 350 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, and its location near the deep, dark and cold waters of the Barents Sea and Arctic Ocean gives it access to plant, animal, bacterial and fungal species that have adapted to living in these extreme conditions. Through understanding the biology of these organisms, scientists are discovering biomolecules found nowhere else in the world and learning about their potential in industrial, medical and environmental biotechnology.
Marine and biotech research in Tromsø
The world's most northern university, UiT: The Arctic University of Norway, is based in Tromsø. The university includes the Institute of Arctic and Marine Biology, which has an aim to become the world's leading arctic ecology research group. This includes a focus on marine food webs in Northern Norwegian and ice-covered arctic waters.
Nofima, one of Europe's largest institutes for applied research in fisheries, aquaculture and food research, is headquartered in Tromsø, and carries out research in Alta, Bergen, Stavanger, Sunndalsøra, Tromsø and Ås. It has been involved in 591 research projects from sea urchin feed to combating salmon lice. Nofima's involvement in the Peptech strategic research initiative will support the region's marine bioeconomy.
Tromsø is home to innovation cluster Biotech North, which focuses on research and commercialization of marine bioactive compounds from the Arctic. It includes Barents Biocentre Lab, which is located at Siva Innovation Centre (formerly Tromsø Science Park).
Examples of biotech companies in Tromsø:
Tromsø is the host for BIOPROSP_17, which in March this year will bring science and business together in its focus on opportunities to unlock the commercial potential of biomolecules from marine environments.
Want to know more? Browse through the full programme, see what's happening at the workshops, and read some of the pieces written about previous conferences: