In the photo: Natalia Okhlopkova, Oxana Romanova, Dimitry Filippov, Marina Kalinina, Sergey Ershov, Elena Verenikina, Alexander Gordienko, Trudy Sable, Tor Gjertsen.

This year’s Gargia Conference was held near Alta, Norway on October 23-24 and focused on Northern Innovation and Development. The conference was organized by the University of the Arctic’s Thematic Network on Local and Regional Development in the North.

Participants in the conference came from Russia, Canada, Norway and Finland and discussed topics such as innovative development of the North through the cooperation of science, local communities and business; and establishing contacts with foreign colleagues for the purpose of international cooperation within the framework of the Thematic Network.

The conference featured reports such as “Innovation in the Nordic Periphery. Innovation for survival?” presented by professor Nils Aarsæther from the University of Tromsø, “Building Capacity through regional R&D projects and programmes” by professor Knut B. Lindkvist and Lars Krogh, R&D-coordinator, Finnmark University College, as well as reports by Natalia Okhlopkova, director of institute of finance and economy, Sakha State University (Yakutia), Jouni Ponnikas, director of Lönrot Institute, Kajaani University Consortium (Finland), Trudy Sable, director of Gorsebrook Research Institute for Atlantic Canada Studies, St. Mary’s University (Canada) and Sergey Ershov, Deputy Director of the Institute of Economics, Finance and Business, Arkhangelsk State Technical University (ASTU), Russia.

During the conference, participants worked on organizing an international seminar and workshop to be held in Yakutsk in June, 2009 with the participation of colleagues form Norway, Finland, Canada, and Russia. Participants also discussed the possibility of holding a summer school in 2009 in Yakutsk, Russia for UArctic students.

The conference featured a very productive discussion about a future master’s program in Northern Innovation and Development. Participants suggested the main themes for the courses and discussed how relevant the future program might be to other master’s programs within the University of the Arctic.

A workshop at Sørvær aimed to develop the network’s activities and to make it more effective. Both the master’s program and network ideas were actively discussed. The participants also visited a local fishing factory and a knitting factory to discover how these activities influence community development locally. Finally, the issue of fundraising was discussed.

Four people from Arkhangelsk State Technical University in Russia participated in the Gargia conference and found it quite productive.

"To sum up, we consider the Gargia conference and the Sørvær workshop productive and useful both from a practical and a research point of view. The ideas from the conference can be analyzed and adopted to the Russian context, and no doubt will be the basis for further reflection within the theme, at the Russian universities and local authorities," said Marina Kalinina, Director of the Norwegian Pomor University Centre.

The UArctic Thematic Network on Local and Regional Development in the North works to strengthen Northern universities and college’s knowledge and capacity building in sustainable local and regional development in the North, by sharing resources, facilities and expertise.

The Thematic Network is hosted by Finnmark University College, Norway. Network partners include University of Northern British Colombia, University of Alaska/Fairbanks, St. Mary’s University, University of Saskatchewan, Pomor State University, Arkhangelsk State Technical University, Kajaani University Consortium among others. More partners are welcomed.

For more information contact Tor Gjertsen (, coordinator for the UArctic Thematic Networ