Akureyri, Iceland

University of Akureyri

www.unak.is/
Akureyri, Iceland

The University of Akureyri was founded on September 5, 1987 in the city of Akureyri in the north-eastern part of Iceland. It has grown since then, especially in the last few years as more facilities have been established. Over 1600 students attended the university in the autumn semester of 2013, around half of them through distance education, making the university the largest provider of distance education in the country. Also, the enrolment at the University of Akureyri makes up 9% of the entire university enrolment in Iceland. Wikipedia.

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News Article | April 30, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

Iceland's glaciers are melting, so in January I made a trip there from my home in Toronto, thinking it was time to go see them. I stood at the bottom of the Mýrdalsjökull glacier in my crampons, harness, and snowsuit, marvelling at the monstrosity of this giant natural ice cube. Glaciers are melting at an alarming rate because of climate change, the guides said. No wonder tourists like me are rushing to see them. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of foreign tourists to Iceland more than doubled, partly due to cheap flights from WOW Air, the low-cost airline based in Reykjavík. Another reason was to see the glaciers: 80 percent of visitors decided on the destination because of "Icelandic nature," according to a 2014 report from the OECD. Among Icelanders, 75.7 per cent surveyed by the tourist board in 2016 said that tourist pressure on Icelandic nature is too high. In fact, Iceland has become so overrun it's been compared to Disneyland. The government recently introduced a new tax on tourists, with up to 2.3 million people expected to visit in 2017. Tourism companies market day trips by telling visitors that it might be their last chance to see the glaciers, since they could disappear in another 100 years. Travel sites and blogs encourage people to come see the Icelandic glaciers before they're gone. "Due to climate change, the perception is out there that the glaciers will be gone tomorrow," wrote Edward Huijbens, a professor at the University of Akureyri and researcher at the Icelandic Tourism Research Centre, in an email interview. "So this has generated a type of last chance to see tourism, and also a general fascination with glaciers." Björgvin Hilmarsson, the operation manager of the Icelandic Mountain Guides (IMG) expeditions department, wrote in an email to Motherboard that every year there is an increase in the number of visitors coming to Iceland. "Some tourists are probably thinking that now might be one of the last opportunities [to see the glaciers]," he wrote. He thinks many tourists are going on glacier tours because in Iceland it's very easy to access some of the outlet glaciers, and it's the thing to do. He said that when he's conducting tours, he tries to get people to think about these issues and how climate change is impacting the environment. "I'm telling them that it's actually not that long until all the glaciers in Iceland will be gone," he wrote, adding that IMG is focused on nature-friendly tourism. "It's always quite surprising, to them, to hear about how much the ice is receding." Most glacier tourism in Iceland takes place in the national parks, which are protected by the government. The south-east part of the Vatnajökull glacier in Vatnajökull National Park is the hotspot, because it's the largest in Europe, said Johannes Welling, a PhD student at the University of Iceland. This is where Welling has been conducting research for his thesis on the impact of climate change on glacier tourism in Iceland. Read More:  Iceland's Plan to Get Energy from Hot Magma Is Really Cool Tourism companies are adapting to the new realities of climate change, extending their glacier tours with new kinds of excursions like boat tours on glacial lakes. Welling told me this is to make up for the fact that there are fewer places for people to go. Other companies have seen some of their glacier outlets close due to unsafe conditions. "Glaciers are, by nature, very dynamic landscapes, but tourism needs a degree of stability," wrote Huijbens. "Climate change is making this dynamic environment even more dynamic (and) not helping in sustaining business or product development." Welling said that some sites are fortunate enough to only be closed temporarily, like the Sólheimajökull glacier, which closed for a couple of days in 2014 because a huge chunk of ice fell off and into the lake, causing a big wave. The same glacier was also shut down in mid-2016 due to seismic activity. Closures don't seem to concern tourism companies too much right now, according to Welling. "There is so much demand at the moment," Welling said. Today, at least, business is booming. Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.


Kristinsson S.,University of Akureyri
Reproductive Biomedicine and Society Online | Year: 2017

Surrogate motherhood has been prohibited by Icelandic law since 1996, but in recent years, Icelandic couples have sought transnational surrogacy in India and the United States despite uncertainties about legal parental status as they return to Iceland with infants born to surrogate mothers. This reflects global trends of increased reproductive tourism, which forces restrictive regimes not only to make decisions concerning the citizenship and parentage of children born to surrogate mothers abroad, but also to confront difficult moral issues concerning surrogacy, global justice, human rights and exploitation. In March 2015, a legislative proposal permitting altruistic surrogacy, subject to strict regulation and oversight, and prohibiting the solicitation of commercial surrogacy abroad, was presented in the Icelandic Parliament. The proposal aims to protect the interest of the child first, respect the autonomy of the surrogate second, and accommodate the intended parents' wishes third. After a brief overview of the development of the surrogacy issue in Iceland, this article describes the main features of this legislative proposal and evaluates it from an ethical and global justice perspective. It concludes that the proposed legislation is a response to problems generated by cross-border surrogacy in the context of evolving public attitudes toward the issue, and constitutes a valid attempt to reduce the moral hazards of surrogacy consistent with insights from current bioethical literature. Although the proposed legislation arguably represents an improvement over the current ban, however, difficult problems concerning evasive travel and global injustice are likely to persist until effective international coordination is achieved. © 2017 The Author(s).


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-ITN-ETN | Phase: MSCA-ITN-2015-ETN | Award Amount: 3.90M | Year: 2016

The Arctic plays a key role in the Earths climate system and is an area of growing strategic importance for European policy. In this ETN, we will train the next generation of Arctic microbiology and biogeochemistry experts who, through their unique understanding of the Arctic environment and the factors that impact ecosystem and organism response to the warming Arctic, will be able to respond to the need for leadership from public, policy and commercial interests. The training and research programme of MicroArctic is made up of seven interlinked Work Packages (WP). WP1 to WP4 are research work packages at the cutting edge of Arctic microbiology and biogeochemistry and these will be supported by three overarching WPs (WP5-7) associated with the management, training and dissemination of results. WP1 will deliver information about the role of external inputs (e.g., atmospheric) of nutrients and microorganism that drive biogeochemical processes in relation to annual variation in Arctic microbial activity and biogeochemical processes. WP2 will explore ecosystem response on time scales of 100s of years to these inputs using a chrnosequence approach in the already changing Arctic. The effect of time and season and the warming of the Arctic on ecosystem functioning and natural resources will be quantified through geochemical analyses and next generation multi-omics approaches. Complementing WP1 and WP2, WP3 will focus on organism response and adaptation using a range of biochemical, molecular, experimental and culturing approaches. WP4 will address specific applied issues such as colonisation by pathogenic organisms and biotechnological exploitation of Arctic ecosystems. MicroArctic will bring together interdisciplinary experts from both the academic and non-academic sectors across Europe into a network of 20 Institutions across 11 countries.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: H2020 | Program: MSCA-RISE | Phase: MSCA-RISE-2016 | Award Amount: 549.00K | Year: 2017

This two-year project involves an international and inter-sector research and training network that focuses on the potential of makerspaces, which are specific spaces that enable creative design and the production of both digital and non-digital artefacts, to foster the digital literacy and creative skills of young children. A key aim of the project is to inform educational policy and practice in this area, enabling formal learning institutions (early years settings and primary schools) to learn from practice in non-formal learning spaces, and vice-versa, and also to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in the makerspace sector, enabling SMEs to develop robust business models and appropriate resources for future work in this area. The project involves 16 academic and non-academic beneficiaries and 10 non-academic, non-beneficiary partners across 6 EU countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Romania, UK), an Associated Country (Colombia) and 4 Third Countries (Australia, Canada, South Africa and USA). This global network of university scholars, cultural industry partners in makerspaces, early years practitioners, museum educators and librarians will engage in a collaborative research and training programme that addresses 4 objectives, which are to: 1. Conduct a comprehensive review of the role of makerspaces in the formal and non-formal educational experiences of children and young people. 2. Undertake empirical research to determine how makerspaces can foster the digital literacy and creativity skills and knowledge of young children. 3. Develop a conceptual framework for analysing young childrens engagement in makerspaces. 4. Make recommendations for policy and practice that will foster innovation and entrepreneurship in SME makerspaces and facilitate the use of makerspaces for enhancing digital literacy in early childhood educational institutions and non-formal learning spaces.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CSA-CA | Phase: KBBE-2007-3-1-08 | Award Amount: 870.89K | Year: 2008

AquaTerrE will promote the cooperation between research centres, business and other stakeholders in Europe devoted to the research, development and application of biomass and biofuel production and valorisation. It will aim integration and unification of efforts and the exchange of knowledge and expertise between partners, to promote the creation of a network for improving biomass and waste reutilisation. Mainly, AquaTerrE aims to make an inventory of existing biomass feedstocks in Europe and quantify the potential and identify of the best ones. In addition, to study the best possibilities for implementing different biomass sources in different environments to improve their utilisation. Pursuing this target, literature and data survey and current research review will be carried out. Furthermore, the scope of AquaTerrE consists also in mapping European biomass feedstocks using different tools as Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Additionally, AquaTerrE expert members will identify economic and environmental impacts schemes to define the optimum Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). LCA is a standardized and structured method for calculating the environmental load of a product, process or activity throughout all its phases. The implementation of a new bio-product/bio-fuel in the market requires the analysis of economical, social and environmental aspects, with the objective of attaining enough information for the decision making progress. The contribution of a LCA study to this project can be framed in the identification of best sources of biomass feedstock as well as other agricultural waste for the sustainable obtaining of bio-fuels and other added value products.


Gagunashvili N.D.,University of Akureyri
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2010

Weighted histograms in Monte Carlo simulations are often used for the estimation of probability density functions. They are obtained as a result of random experiments with random events that have weights. In this paper, the bin contents of a weighted histogram are considered as a sum of random variables with a random number of terms. Generalizations of the classical chi-square test for comparing weighted histograms are proposed. Numerical examples illustrate an application of the tests for the histograms with different statistics of events and different weighted functions. The proposed tests can be used for the comparison of experimental data histograms with simulated data histograms as well as for the two simulated data histograms. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Egilson S.T.,University of Akureyri
Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences | Year: 2011

Background: Children who have physical disabilities typically attend occupational and physical therapy services on a regular basis. The importance of being family centred when providing services to children with a disability has been highlighted in recent years. Thus, it was considered important to gather the opinions of parents towards the services their child receives. Aim: To explore the perspectives of parents of children with physical disabilities to occupational and physical therapy services provided to their child. Method: Open interviews were conducted with 17 parents (14 mothers and three fathers) of children aged 7-13, selected through a purposeful sample. Data analysis was based on an inductive approach. Results: Nine categories emerged and were organized under three main headings: The role of the therapist, service location and arrangements, and characteristics of good service. Although several positive remarks were made, many parents in this study were poorly informed of intervention goals and what took place during therapy sessions. Most parents wished for mutual respect, joint decision-making in planning intervention, and collaboration with the therapy services. The aspiration for active but manageable roles that did not demand a burdensome amount of the parents' time and energy was evinced. The parents became increasingly critical of the services, as their children grew older. They placed emphasis on services being offered in their local community, and that more specialized service should be centralized, especially for the children with the most complex needs. Conclusions: The results reflect the importance of the needs and wants of the parents and children being respected. Thus, parents should play an active role in defining priorities and strategies for implementation. The results also indicate that therapists need to put more thought into the conditions and environment of the child instead of focusing solely on underlying issues connected to their impairments. © 2010 The Author. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences © 2010 Nordic College of Caring Science.


Gagunashvili N.D.,University of Akureyri
Computer Physics Communications | Year: 2012

A Fortran-77 program for calculating test statistics to compare weighted histogram with an unweighted histogram and two histograms with weighted entries is presented. The code calculates test statistics for cases of histograms with normalized weights of events and unnormalized weights of events. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Sigurbjornsdottir M.A.,University of Akureyri | Orlygsson J.,University of Akureyri
Applied Energy | Year: 2012

Combined biohydrogen and bioethanol (CHE) production from monosugars, polymeric carbohydrates and hydrolysates made from various lignocellulosic biomasses was investigated by strain AK54, a saccharolytic, thermophilic ethanol and hydrogen producing bacterium isolated from a hot spring in Iceland. Optimum growth conditions for the strain were between pH 5.0-6.0 and at 65°C. As determined by full 16S rRNA analysis, strain AK54 belongs to the genus Thermoanaerobacterium, most closely affiliated with Thermoanaerobacterium aciditolerans (99.0%). Effect of increased initial glucose concentration on growth and end product formation was investigated and good correlations were observed between increased substrate loadings and end product formation of up to 50mM where clear inhibition was shown. The ability to utilize various carbon substrates was tested with positive growth on xylose, glucose, fructose, mannose, galactose, sucrose and lactose. The major end products in all cases were ethanol, acetate, lactate, hydrogen and carbon dioxide. By lowering the partial pressure of hydrogen during glucose degradation, the end product formation was directed towards hydrogen, acetate and ethanol but away from lactate. Hydrogen and ethanol production from hydrolysates from biomass (7.5gL-1 (dw)); cellulose, newspaper, grass (Phleum pratense), barley straw (Hordeum vulgare), and hemp (Cannabis sativa L), was investigated. The biomass was chemically (acid/alkali) and enzymatically pretreated. The highest ethanol production was observed from cellulose hydrolysates (24.2mM) but less was produced from lignocellulosic biomasses. Chemical pretreatment of biomass hydrolysates increased hydrogen and ethanol yields substantially from barley straw, hemp and grass but not from cellulose or newspaper. The highest hydrogen was also produced from cellulose hydrolysates or 6.7mol-H2g-1 TS pretreated with alkali (12.2mol-H2g-1 glucose equivalents) but of the lignocellulosic biomass, highest yields were from grass pretreated with base (4.9mol-H2g-1 TS). © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.


Gagunashvili N.D.,University of Akureyri
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Section A: Accelerators, Spectrometers, Detectors and Associated Equipment | Year: 2011

A goodness-of-fit test for fitting of a parametric model to data obtained from a detector with finite resolution and limited acceptance is proposed. The parameters of the model are found by minimization of a statistic that is used for comparing experimental data and simulated reconstructed data. Numerical examples are presented to illustrate and validate the fitting procedure. © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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