About UAF Research

University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. (UAF photo by Todd Paris)

The University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) is America's Arctic University. Unlike “Lower 48” university researchers conducting projects in the Arctic, UAF faculty, staff and students live and work in Alaska and step out their front door into an Arctic environment. Because UAF researchers live here, we are better equipped to observe, understand, develop and innovate in our built and natural environments.

Our researchers are positioned to be the best competitors for state and federal resources to solve critical research needs. Whether these needs are for understanding the movement of frozen debris lobes, extracting rare earth minerals from coal ash, modeling water resources for ice roads or preventing permafrost subsidence of oil wells, UAF researchers find solutions to Arctic challenges.

UAF Research Facts

  • UAF ranks in the top 150 of nearly 700 US institutions that conduct research. And, UAF has been listed in the top 11 of more than 10,000 institutions worldwide for number of citations in climate change publications, and fourth among US universities.
  • UAF operates the Research Vessel Sikuliaq [see-KOO-lee-auk], one of the world's most advanced university research vessels.
  • UAF is a founding member of the University of the Arctic, a consortium of colleges, universities and research organizations in the 8 arctic nations that work together to build strong education and research networks to address the needs of the circumpolar North.

UAF is a Land, Sea and Space Grant Institution

"The Land Grant University System is being built on behalf of the people, who have invested in these public institutions their hopes, their support, and their confidence." —Abraham Lincoln

UAF is one of only a handful of institutions in the country can claim the triple crown status of Land, Sea and Space Grant Institution.

Land Grant

Founded in 1917 as the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, UAF is Alaska's only Land Grant college. Throughout the history of North America's expansion and colonization, grants of land from governments to the people have been a driving force behind the settlement and establishment of communities. The Morrill Land Grant Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, created Land Grant colleges to serve as ''the people's universities, bringing the research and knowledge of the campus to the people where they live and work.''

At the end of the 19th century, the Interior's Tanana Valley was one of the most productive agricultural regions in Alaska. In 1906, the U.S. Department of Agriculture established a 1,400-acre Agricultural Experiment Station in Fairbanks on a site that was later to become part of the UAF campus.

Sea Grant

The National Sea Grant College Program Act of 1966 provided the foundation for universities to establish programs in research, education and outreach to develop wise use and conservation of America's marine and coastal resources. The University of Alaska was granted Sea Grant college status in 1980. The Alaska Sea Grant College Program, hosted by UAF, is part of a national network of Sea Grant colleges located on both coasts in each Great Lakes state and Puerto Rico.

Space Grant

The National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program (also known as Space Grant) was established by Congress in 1988 and implemented by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1989. The Alaska Space Grant Program (ASGP) was established at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in 1991. ASGP is part of a national network of Space Grant Consortia located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The 52 consortia fund fellowships and scholarships for students pursuing careers in science, mathematics, engineering and technology, or STEM, as well as curriculum enhancement and faculty development.

Last updated: Nov 3, 2016