What Is AlaskaNor?

AlaskaNor is coordinated by the High North Center for Business and Governance at Nord University in Bodø, Norway. It is funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nordland County, and runs from September 2018 to July 2022.

AlaskaNor: Today's Project for Tomorrow's Blue Economy

Opportunities for Blue Growth in Alaska and North Norway

Alaska and North Norway share similar characteristics, particularly regarding the regions' economic dependence on maritime industries and their potential for blue economy development. However, no knowledge has been shared or even attained yet concerning the opportunities for both regions to mutually tackle the manifold challenges of regionally developing their blue economy. AlaskaNor aims to addresses this knowledge gap. It is financed by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Arktis 2030 and Nordland's Country innovasjon og næringsutvikling grant schemes.


Most recently, the focus on Arctic development has shifted towards the blue economy. In a nutshell, this entails utilising ocean-based resources to the benefit of local communities. Yet, in a preliminary Arktis 2030-project, which examined related development efforts in Alaska and North Norway, a basic problem was identified; namely the limited coordination of knowledge when it comes to challenges and opportunities that arise as the blue potential is explored. Obvious lessons of relevance concerning resource utilisation and local adaptation are not shared between the various Arctic regions.

Hence, AlaskaNor's key objective is to improve knowledge concerning the blue economy in Alaska and North Norway and in turn enhancing related knowledge among relevant stakeholders and amongst decisions-makers. This will be done by:

  1. Developing knowledge in four work packages dealing with various aspects of the blue economy (Phase I)
  2. Synthesising these findings in collaboration with stakeholders in Alaska and North Norway (Phase II)
  3. Targeting decision-makers in Washington, D.C. and Oslo with policy recommendations (Phase III)

Three Phases

In Phase I, we - 18 project partners - will provide an assessment of the current state of affairs in Alaska and North Norway. What is the status of the blue economy in these two Arctic regions? Here, we lean on existing projects at Nord University like Business Index North and MARPART. Work is divided into four key areas of relevance to the blue economy. Each work package (WP) will tackle one area, coordinated and managed by the first WP:

WP1: Synthesis and Coordination

WP1 defines the overarching framework of the blue economy, synthesises findings, coordinates the other WPs and communicates results externally.

Partners (leader in bold):

  • High North Center, Bodø
  • Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oslo
  • High North News, Bodø
  • Institute of the North, Anchorage
  • The Arctic Institute, Washington, D.C.
WP2: Offshore Energy

WP2 examines questions concerning current and future levels of the offshore energy industry in the two regions, focusing on untapped potentials, and barriers and levers concerning this potential.

Partners (leader in bold):

  • Institute of the North, Anchorage
  • Arctic Slope Regional Corporation, Anchorage
  • High North Center, Bodø
  • PetroArctic, Hammerfest
WP3: Fisheries and Aquaculture

WP3 examines the potential for new marine and maritime industries, as well as how the blue economy relates to community development.

Partners (leader in bold):

  • High North Center, Bodø
  • Alaska Ocean Cluster, Anchorage
  • Bodø Municipality, Bodø
  • Center for the Blue Economy, Monterey
  • Juneau Economic Development Council, Juneau
  • The Arctic Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • Ytterstad Fiskeriselskap, Vesterålen
WP4: Arctic Shipping and Maritime Transportation

WP4 examines the capacity surplus and demand concerning shipping to, from and within, Arctic waters. Moreover, it ties into work focused on emergency preparedness and capacity.

Partners (leader in bold):

  • The Arctic Institute, Washington, D.C.
  • Centre for High North Logistics, Kirkenes
  • Institute of the North, Anchorage
  • University of Alaska, Anchorage
WP5: Regional and International Governance

WP5 examines how parameters for blue economic projects are defined and determined in the interplay between the international and regional governance level.

Partners (leader in bold):

  • Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oslo
  • Arctic Economic Council Secretariat, Tromsø
  • Nordland County, Bodø
  • State of Alaska
  • The Wilson Center, Washington, D.C.

In Phase II, we aim to look ahead to the possibilities of tomorrow and synthesise findings across the WPs. Emphasis will be on drivers and barriers to economic development with regard to blue economy sectors. A key component here will be potential areas for expanded collaboration between Alaska and North Norway. What opportunities exist for cooperation and collaboration between these two regions? Are there best practices and lessons that hold relevance across the Arctic?

In Phase III, we will actively engage with national politicians and decision-makers in the two countries' capitals. By using the results from the first two phases, we can enhance the quality of Arctic discussions taking place in the United States and Norway. This addresses the core problem, namely limited information sharing and knowledge transfer concerning the blue economy across two Arctic regions that face similar challenges and opportunities.

Key Events

  • September 2018: Kick-Off and first project meeting in Bodø
  • October 2018: Second project meeting in Washington, D.C.
  • November 2018: Third project meeting in Anchorage
  • January 2019: Fourth project meeting, in connection with Arctic Frontiers, Tromsø
  • April 2019: Fifth project (WP leadership) meeting, in connection with the High North Dialogue, Bodø
  • September/October 2019: Network Tour Alaska
  • October 2019: Sixth project meeting, in connection with Arctic Circle, Reykjavík
  • January 2020: Seventh project meeting, in connection with Arctic Frontiers, Tromsø
  • April 2020: Eight project meeting, in connection with the High North Dialogue, Bodø
  • April 2021: Webinar @ High North Dialogue, Bodø
  • April 2022: Ninth project meeting, in connection with High North Dialogue, Bodø
  • May 2022: Conference @ Wilson Center, Washington, D.C.
  • June 2022: Conference @ Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Oslo