Die Wasserfälle des Kirkjufellsfoss strömen durch eine karge Landschaft auf Island. Foto: Unsplash/Martin Jernberg.
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Science in Iceland

Iceland is "the land of ice and fire": volcanoes next to glaciers, geophysics next to biology. Due to its extraordinary location, Iceland offers a place where research is possible like in hardly any other country. The island lies isolated in the middle of the North Atlantic, just south of the Arctic Circle and at the junction of two continental plates. For this reason, Iceland is working particularly intensively in the field of glacier and avalanche research, as well as in seismology and volcanology. Marine and freshwater research is also a focus. Inevitably, Iceland also occupies a leading position in genomics. There are less than 360,000 people living on the island, most of whom have made their DNA available for research. As a result, precise documentation of genealogical data has existed for about a thousand years. Overall, the country is considered very progressive and is known for the use of geothermal power plants and high-tech greenhouses, among other things - the location makes this possible or necessary.

The Facts

Population 335,025
Area 103,000 km²
Gross domestic product per capita in US-Dollar 74,348.4
Public expenditure on education (share of GDP) 6.6 %
Universities 9
Universities per 1 million inhabitants 26.90
Students 18,297
Expenditure on Research and Development (share of GDP) 2.0 (share of GDP)


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Es spritzt und brodelt beim Vulkanausbruch. Credits: Gro Pedersen
Volcanoes: Mars on your doorstep
Volcanoes: Mars on your doorstep
Iceland is an excellent place to study the formation of a planet. A researcher takes us to the latest hot spot.
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