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SCAR - National Research Systems - Iceland
Overview of science policy and strategy

Science and technology policy in Iceland is governed by the Science and Technology Policy Council (SPTC). The role of the SPTC is to promote scientific research and research training in the sciences and encourage technological progress in Iceland, for the purpose of strengthening the foundations of the country’s culture and boosting the competitive capacity of its economy.

SPTC is headed by the Prime Minister and including the Minister of Education, Science and Culture, the Minister for Trade and Industry, the Minister for Finance and two other government ministers as occasional members. Three other ministers have a permanent seat on the Council: The Minister of Education and Science, the Minister of Industry and Commerce and the Minister of Finance. At the discretion of the Prime Minister, two other ministers with research in their portfolio may join the Council. Currently these are the Minister of Fisheries and the Minister of Agriculture.

The Council also includes 14 appointees representing the science, economic and business communities within Iceland.

From the 14 non-ministerial members of the Council for Science and Technology Policy the Minister of Education, Science and Culture appoints a sub-committee on science and the Minister of Industry and Trade appoints a sub-committee on technology. The two ministers also appoint boards of directors that oversee the Research Fund and the Technology Development Fund respectively (PDF File pdf 12.7 kb). There are overlaps of individuals across these bodies with the intention of promoting closer policy coordination.

The Council meets twice a year to review science and technology policy and evaluate progress of actions agreed upon previously.

Rannís – The Icelandic Centre for Research Rannís reports to the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture with the purpose of providing professional assistance in the preparation and implementation of science and technology policy in Iceland.

Its main functions are:
  • Operation of the financial support system for research and technological development.
  • Provision of services and information to the Council for Science and Technology Policy and its sub-committees.
  • Coordinating and promoting Icelandic participation in collaborative international projects in science and technology.
  • Monitoring resources and performance in R&D, evaluating the results of scientific research, technological development and innovation.
  • Promoting public awareness of research and innovation in Iceland.
Rannís serves the Icelandic science community across all areas of science and the humanities.

See and

Responsibility for implementing science and technology policy rests with the relevant ministries. Ministry of Agriculture carries the main responsibility for research in the field of agriculture. Among institutions and educational facilities that are in the domain of the Ministry of Agriculture are the following:

- The Agricultural University of Iceland is a scientific learning and research institute. It offers applied programmes in agriculture and fields connected with horticulture, as well as continuing education. The university is comprised of three faculties: the Faculty of Natural Resources, Faculty of Environmental Sciences and Faculty of Applied and Continuing Education.

- The Soil Conservation Service of Iceland (SCS) was founded in 1907. The main tasks of the SCS include combating desertification, sand encroachment and other soil erosion, promotion of sustainable land use and reclamation and restoration of degraded land. The work is on different levels, from policy making and research, to extension services and management of large- and small-scale reclamation projects.

- Iceland Forest Research, IFR-Mógilsá, carries out research relevant to forestry in Iceland on behalf of the Iceland Forest Service. IFR-Mógilsá works for and cooperates with authorities, members of the public and stakeholders in forestry. It pursues research, development and distribution of knowledge on matters relevant for forestry in Iceland. It endeavors to secure the development of forests and sustainable forestry in Iceland by communicating research results to end users (i.e. those involved in forestry) by publishing and disseminating results, as well as participating in training, education and consulting.

- Hólar University College is an education, research and development institution run by the Ministry of Agriculture. Hólar offers practical education in the fields of Rural Tourism with an emphasis on local culture and natural environment, Aquaculture and Fish Biology and Equine Science with emphasis on horse breeding and training as well as riding instruction and training.

The Icelandic Fisheries Laboratories (IFL) is an independent food research institute, operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Fisheries. The IFL's mission is to carry out research, conduct tests, provide council and disseminate information to the government, interested parties in the fisheries sector and consumers.
The IFL's specialised fields include:
  • processing technology
  • biotechnology
  • chemical and physical properties of food
  • quality and safety of marine catches
  • fodder and fodder technology for aquaculture
  • environmental research.

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  SCAR meetings.

The SCAR plenary meetings are normally organised twice a year. Thirteen meetings have been held so far since February 2005.

The next meeting is scheduled on: [read more]
  Contact info.

The SCAR committee is supported by a Secretariat with staff from the Commission's Directorate-General for Research and staff made available to SCAR from Member States (‘virtual secretariat’). The Secretariat is in charge of the preparation and follow-up of forum meetings (e.g. coordination of the agenda, invitation, documents for the meeting, minutes) and provides assistance to the working groups.
Contact person: François Constantin.