2016 2016: UMass Dartmouth, Republic of Iceland sign marine science, biotech research agreement

2016 2016: UMass Dartmouth, Republic of Iceland sign marine science, biotech research agreement
UMass Dartmouth, Republic of Iceland sign marine science, biotech research agreement

Pact results from 2015 university visit by Iceland delegation and U.S. Ambassador Robert Barber

Students in bioengineering lab.

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the Republic of Iceland today announced a partnership to advance marine science and marine-related biotech research and commercialization in recognition of their mutual interest in sustainable marine-based economies.

Iceland has strengthened its marine economy by modernizing technology and making maximum use of every fish caught. According to the Iceland Ocean Cluster, the fishing industry has collaborated with other industries to utilize 95 percent of each cod they catch. In addition to extracting cod liver oil, a range of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals are manufactured using the fish skin. UMass Dartmouth researchers, meanwhile, are working on a range of related research projects, from new technology to manage fish stocks to biofuels and biodegradable plastics made from fish waste products.

The partnership is formalized in a memorandum of understanding signed by Iceland’s Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir and UMass Dartmouth Provost Mohammed Karim. The agreement stems from a March 2015 visit to UMass Dartmouth and New Bedford by U.S. Ambassador Robert Barber. Besides promoting research partnerships, the agreement includes provisions for faculty and student exchange programs.

“We see this as an opportunity to build a scientific and economic bridge between the SouthCoast of Massachusetts and Iceland, two communities with deep and historical ties to the ocean,” Dr. Karim said. “This partnership offers a unique opportunity for our scientists and students to engage in exciting research and technology commercialization projects that will strengthen our regional economy and that of Iceland especially related to the development of new strategies to sustain the fishing industry.”

“The Icelandic fishing industry has evolved into a thriving knowledge-based biotechnical industry where previous waste is now a valuable resource for new developments in several high value disciplines. Increased cooperation with the University of Massachusetts  is a clear  win-win collaboration  and will open up new avenues of opportunities in developing marine biomass still further for a wide ranging benefit  for both parties,” says Minister of Industry and Commerce Ragnheiður Elín Árnadóttir.

In addition to promoting joint commercialization of innovations in marine biotech, the agreement will also increase research collaboration and open communications about best practices in the fields of fish stock and ocean resource assessment and sustainable fisheries.

UMass Dartmouth and the Icelandic Ministry of Industries and Innovation will be responsible for implementing the memorandum.


John Hoey, UMass Dartmouth, 508.264.5920 or jhoey@umassd.edu

Colin Murphy, UMass Dartmouth, 413.233.8856 or cpmurphy@umassp.edu