The BRIDGE project

Peter Fischer, Northern Studies Research Group member at Campus Alta, has been awarded major external funding to lead an R&D programme called "BRIDGE - Barents Region Initiative for Development Growth and Employability"

Bridge is based at the Department of Tourism and Northern Studies at Campus Alta of UiT the Arctic University of Norway. It is executed in close partnerships with Murmansk Arctic State University, Petrozavodsk State University and ITMO University St. Petersburg in Russia, and with Lapland University of Applied Sciences, Finland. The programme has been in the making since 2014. Its main period of operation is in 2019-2021. The funding that includes covering Fischer’s work as leader, comes from the EU programme CBC Kolarctic, Kolarctic Norway, Finnmark County Government and the Norwegian Barents Secretariat.

The Bridge key objective is to connect university student task-groups with small enterprises all over the Euroarctic region, gearing the student’s BA or MA research projects, and the writing of theses/reports, towards problem-solving on different business concerns of the participating companies. A core aspiration of the project is to facilitate students’ transition from higher education to consultancy work or employment in northern regional businesses.

In December 2020 the Bridge R&D programme was bestowed the "Arctic Award 2020" in the category "Arctical Entrepreneurial Spirit" by the Northern Periphery and Arctic 2014-2020 Programme (which include nine funding partners from Scandinavia and the UK) for its eminent: "focus on enhancing young people's entrepreneurial skills and employability, as well as creating networks between potential employers", "ability to tackle relevant day-to-day demands of both universities and SMEs" and for demonstrating: "concrete potential to produce a permanent impact on the practices of the participating higher education institutions and the SMEs, such as improvement in employment rates and quality of the workforce." More on this is here.

In the spring of 2020 the Bridge R&D programme recieved the "Project of the Month" award from its main funder. Read more on this here

The Bridge website is here

Tug boats on the Severnaya Dvina
Bridge across the Severnaya Dvina at Arkhangelsk, Russia. Photo: Urban Wråkberg

Synergies between BRIDGE, the Northern Studies Research Group and the course programme Bachelor of Northern Studies

After the major successes of creating and then funding the Bridge-programme from the Kolarctic Nordic-Russian promotors of cross-border collaboration, and given Bridge’s explicit ancillary goal to create innovative spin-offs throughout its implementation, it was suggested in the spring of 2019 to engage the NSRG and on-going course development of the BNS in some of Bridge up-coming fieldwork.

The first step in this is to open a selection of Bridge’s R&D sub-project study cases also to BNS students for them to address as part of course assignments in the regular on-line or on-site studies at Campus Alta. The second step is for NSRG fellows to pursue research alongside or as part of the Bridge groups (in total 80 students and some 20 enterprises in the Barents Euroarctic Region). First full Bridge field campaigns will take place in October 2019 in the Arctic town of Vardø on the eastern coast of the Varanger Peninsula, the north-easternmost part of Norway’s land territory. Similar joint NSRG-Bridge R&D is planned in March 2020 in Russia’s nearby harbour city of Murmansk.

Contact person: Peter Fischer, UiT AUN Campus Alta

Digital panorama of Murmansk, one of the R&D areas of the Bridge programme. Photo Urban Wråkberg
Steilneset witch trial memorial
Tor Arne Gjertsen and Peter Fischer inside the Vardø holocaust memorial over indigenous and other local settlers accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death at the site during the 17th century. Photo: Urban Wråkberg

Arctic Awards 2020