Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences

About the institute

The University of Iceland Institute of Life and Environmental Sciences (LUVS) aims to support and strengthen research in its subject areas and contribute to the University's long term goals to be competitive in research internationally. This research will contribute to the development of the economy, innovation and value creation  in Icelandic society, in the spirit of the University's objectives.

LUVS was founded on Icelandic nature day, September 16th 2011 to support research undertaken by members of the University's Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences in the fields of biology, geography and tourism studies, in addition to research conducted by non-academic staff and graduate students. Before the institute was created, researchers in geography and tourism studies were not affiliated with an institute, whereas the biologists belonged to the Institute of Biology (LUVS's predecessor - founded in 1974).

The new institute will substantially improve facilities and enable staff to conduct better research. It is vital to strengthen basic research in all of these subject areas and thereby create a reliable base of scientific knowledge as a substrate for exploitation and value creation. Moreover, a new institute which combines those subject areas - biology, geography and tourism studies - can lead to collaborations in research and innovation within the University of Iceland as well as with society.


Five individuals make up board of the Institute. Currently the Board is chaired by Thora Ellen Thorhallsdottir. Other members of the board are Edda Rut Hlin Waage, Egill Erlendsson, Zophonias Oddur Jonsson and Ingibjorg Svala Jonsdottir.


Research at the Institute is undertaken in two research laboratories, with multiple focal areas.

  • Biology - focused on molecular biology, microbiology,  botany, fish and marine biology, ecology and evolution, and related fields.
  • Geography and tourism studies - focused on biogeography, human geography, tourism studies and environmental research.

Scientists and research groups within LUVS often work in several fields, in collaboration with researchers in Iceland and abroad.

Seminars and dissemination

The Institute and associated faculty organizes a range of events, ranging from seminars, field trips to scintific conferences. Lectures are advertised on this website and in the University calendar, and are open to all. Those include:

  • Public defenses of masters and doctoral students
  • Guest lectures by visiting scientsts or professors emeriti
  • Biology lab Friday lecture series
  • Conferences and symposia on various topics


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