High North Population Studies

Improving the health of future generations: The Interdisciplinary Strategic Project High North Population Studies (High NoPos) at The Arctic University of Norway. 

High NoPos` six designated research areas – Technology, Lifestyle and Health, Social Inequality in Health, Youth Health, Pollutants and Data Sources for Research – intends to provide scientific-based knowledge about the populations health and living conditions in the High North. We aim to support knowledge-based health policy decision-making to improve the quality of health planning and healthcare in the High North.

High North Data Sources for Research

Datakilder i nord
Foto: Marius Fiskum

The persons responsible: Inger Njølstad and Ann Ragnhild Broderstad

Main activities: There has been conducted several epidemiological surveys of the populations health and living conditions in the High North in the past 40 years. We intend to make these existing data more accessible for research purposes, so that researchers and others have several data sources available to them. Master students, PHDs, postdoc and other researchers may benefit from the use of existing data in their research of the High North.


The persons responsible: Lars Ailo Bongo and Alexander Horsch

Main activities: The research area designated Technology combines research in computer science, software and prototype development. We are developing prototypes, tools and methods for data collection, data feedback and data acquisition to facilitate data analysis and research. This is our contribution in the development of next generation population studies, in collaboration with the other research areas.

The four work packages in the technology research area are Data collection preserving privacy and security, Self-Reported data and motivation, Nudging for lifestyle change, and Integrated data analysis and bioinformatics.

Lifestyle and Health

The persons responsible: Sameline Grimsgaard and Bente Morseth

Main activities: Physical activity and other lifestyle factors play an important role for public health and the health of each individual. Data from population studies provide a unique foundation for research on nutrition and physical activity. This initiative will utilize novel digital tools for data collection, identify research areas that should be intensified and test various measures for health prevention.

Social Inequality in Health

The persons responsible: Hilde Leikny Sommerseth and Marcus Buck 

Main activities: The interdisciplinary research group Social Inequality in Health aims to study the full spectrum of potential long-term risk factors and complicated interactions leading to health inequalities. This is made possible by putting together long-term data spanning over multiple generations. We obtain data from the Historical Population Register (HPR), from the Tromsø survey on the population of Tromsø for the period 1974 to today, from the Gator register of Norwegian municipalities for the period 1945 to the present, and from the Central Population Register with key information about everyone who is or has been resident in Norway.

Youth Health

The persons responsible: Anne-Sofie Furberg and Guri Grimnes

Main activities: We are researching youth health, and analyse social network data, life cycle data and linking to biomarkers. Our research is based on data from the Fit Future study of lifestyle, health, education and vocational training from youth to adult in Norway. Furthermore, in the spring of 2021 we intend to collect genetic and epigenetic data in addition to environmental toxins, microbiome, metabolites and protein panels. This third and final data collection of the Fit Futures study is done in collaboration with The University Hospital of North Norway. 


The persons responsible: Maria Averina and Sandra Huber

Main activities: The Environmental Pollutant group intends to study human exposure to environmental pollutants, food intake and lifestyle as an integrated holistic approach with special focus on the Northern regions and in close collaboration with the other research areas and relevant collaboration partners. Our Laboratory for Analysis of Environmental Pollutants is a unique tool for screening and biomonitoring of and for conducting effect studies on exposure to environmental pollutants. High through-put methods for analysis are necessary in order to serve projects with high number of samples based on population studies as for example The Tromsø Study, Saminor and Fit Futures.


The interdisciplinary High NoPos-project is an interfaculty collaboration across five faculties: Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science and Technology, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics and The Arctic University Museum of Norway and Academy of Fine Arts.

The host faculty is Faculty of Health Sciences. The host department is Department of Community Medicine.

Leader Team

Executive Board

Science Blog