Doctoral defense in biology – Pauline Anne Charlotte Bergsten

Next Monday, September 12, Pauline Bergsten will defend her doctoral thesis in biology. The project is called: Exploration of the Microbial Communities within the Basaltic Subsurface of the Volcanic Island Surtsey in Iceland

The doctoral defense takes place in The Aula of the HÍ main building and starts at 10:00.

Dr. Steffen L. Jörgensen, associate professor at the University of Bergen, Norway
Dr. Odd Þ. Vilhelmsson, professor at the University of Akureyri.

Advisor Dr. Viggó Þór Marteinsson, Professor at the Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition , University of Iceland and Research Group Leader at Matís

Doctoral committee:
Dr. Pauline Vannier, project manager at Matís
Dr. Snædís H. Björnsdóttir, associate professor at the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences of the University of Iceland

Chair of Ceremony: Dr. Snæbjörn Pálsson, Professor and Head of the Faculty of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Iceland

Surtsey is a volcanic island located on the south-east offshore extension of the Icelandic rift zone. It was formed during successive eruptions from the seafloor in 1963-1967 and has been officially protected and studied ever since. It represents an exceptional natural setting for studying colonization and succession of life on land. Also for subsurface microbial communities associated with newly formed basaltic tuff deposits in a seawater-hydrothermal system that is still active and at temperatures approaching the presumed thermal limit for functional life.
During an international drilling operation at Surtsey in 2017, drill core samples at successive depths as well as associated hot fluids and surface fumes from fumaroles were collected for microbial investigations. This thesis presents the first and most comprehensive research of the Surtsey subsurface biosphere. Multiple approaches were combined on the rare and unique samples to increase the knowledge of microbial communities inhabiting the oceanic subsurface and of the processes that sustain such life.
These included molecular analyses of environmental DNA through 16S rRNA gene amplicon and metagenome sequencing, isolation and characterization of bacterial strains and microscopic investigations. Based on the DNA concentration, the microbial cell numbers present in the drill cores were estimated to range from about 5×104 to 1×106 cells per gram of sample.
The Surtsey subsurface is therefore a low biomass environment, making the samples extremely sensitive to external contamination. It is nevertheless a diverse habitat that hosts bacterial and archaeal clades, including extremophiles, that have been previously detected in other terrestrial and marine environments. Yet, many clades belonged to unknown lineages. Predictive functional analyses based on taxonomic identifications revealed that the Surtsey subsurface biosphere is composed of heterotrophic microorganisms as well as chemoautotrophs involved in the sulfur, nitrogen, and methane cycles. However, these results could not be strengthened by the functional metagenomic investigations as they were inconclusive. Numerous enrichment cultures were initiated using different conditions and media and resulted in nearly 200 isolated bacterial strains, which included several novel species. One novel thermophilic bacterial species, Rhodothermus bifroesti, was fully characterized and its genome was sequenced and compared with those of the two other described Rhodothermus species. Comparative analyses revealed that 2.15% of the amplicon sequence variants from the 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequence datasets were represented by cultivated strains using standard methods. Finally, putative microbial structures adhering to the basaltic tuff were discovered inside the numerous interconnected vesicles found in the basaltic glass.
All of the findings point to an active microbial colonization of the Surtsey deposits within 50 years after the eruptions ended, with possible sources of colonization coming from the surrounding ecosystems via microbial dissemination and possible adaptations.
The thesis establishes a foundation for future research on the microbial communities that inhabit the Surtsey subsurface and their temporal succession in the face of a cooling and changing hydrothermal environment.

More information can be found by clicking here.


The Farmers' Association of Iceland visited Matís

The Farmers' Association of Iceland visited us in Matís last September 7. Gunnar Þorgeirsson, chairman, Vigdís Häsler, managing director, and Guðrún Birna Brynjarsdóttir, expert, examined the progress in the tissue culture of seed potatoes that Matís is carrying out for the Farmers Association. Other collaborative projects were also reviewed, but they are numerous and the aim is to increase them even further in the future.

Below you can see pictures of tissue cultured potatoes grown by Matís.

Matís thanks the Farmers' Association of Iceland for coming and looks forward to continued good cooperation. 


Good news for Icelandic food production and Matís' partners

The development of more environmentally friendly packaging, grass proteins, by-products of gardening and foods made from macroalgae, together with species analysis of salted fish, are among Matís' new projects in collaboration with companies and institutions.

The last few weeks proved successful for Matís's Icelandic food producers and partners, but thirteen projects that Matís works on received funding from the Food Fund when the fund announced its third allocation. Earlier this summer, eight other funds had announced that ten collaborative projects in which Matís is involved had secured funding. This excellent result clearly shows the strength and importance of the cooperation that Matís has with companies, institutions and entrepreneurs of all sizes and types, both within the country and abroad. 

Matís' goal is to support research and innovation in the food and biotechnology industry, and the company's staff is proud to have the opportunity to work with forward-looking companies, institutions and entrepreneurs in shaping the future. The following is a brief overview of 23 new Matís collaboration projects that received positive responses about grant money in recent weeks. The picture below shows that Matís' partners in the projects are spread all over the country.


Value from horticultural by-products is a joint project of the Farmers' Association, Orkídeu and Matís, where they are looking for ways to create increased value from the by-products of gardening, such as leaves that fall during defoliation in horticulture, plants that are in danger of yielding, any kind of cuttings such as rose petals, outermost leaves of cabbage , carrot grass and potato grass. Various valuable substances can be found in these side products, but now they are mostly composted or landfilled with the associated costs. Soon it will be prohibited to dispose of organic waste to the extent that it is done today due to negative environmental effects. It is therefore important to find a way to increase the value of this raw material and reduce waste.

LuLam Wrap (Lupine food wrap) is a joint project of Efnasmiðjunn, Sedna-Biopack, Sälufélag garðyrkjummanna and Matís. The goal of the project is to develop environmentally friendly, degradable packaging from Icelandic alaska and kelp, and test it for food use.

Flavorings made from seafood is a joint project of North Seafood Solutions, Útgerðarfélagins Lokinharma, Iceland Seafood Iberica and Matís. The goal of the project is to develop flavors and flavors from the by-products of fish processing in Iceland. These products are intended mainly for the foreign market for restaurants and canteens.

Meat snacks - value creation through full processing of horse meat is a joint project of a 1000-year-old rural village, Orkídea and Matís. The aim of the project is to increase the processing of Icelandic horsemeat and to develop new and valuable products from this underutilized raw material, including meat snack Market infrastructure will also be built to increase Icelanders' interest and consumption of meat snacks made from horse meat.

Production of oligosaccharides from macroalgae by enzymatic processing is an innovative project that will be carried out within Matís' biotechnology group. The goal of the project is to develop a method for the production of oligosaccharides from macroalgae and thus increase the utilization of algae that grow in abundance on the coast of Iceland. Oligosaccharides are used in the food industry to change the taste and texture characteristics, as well as having a positive effect on the microflora in the digestive tract. Oligosaccharides can replace fat and/or sugar in food, and such use leads to healthier foods as oligosaccharides are low in calories.

BruXOS – Value creation from the by-product of beer making is a joint project between Ölgerðinn and Matís, where the goal is to create value from beer-making beer by using enzymes to convert fiber in the beer into xylose oligosaccharides. But as mentioned above, oligosaccharides are used in the food industry to change the taste and texture characteristics, as well as having a positive effect on the microflora in the digestive tract. Oligosaccharides can replace fat and/or sugar in food, and such use leads to healthier foods as oligosaccharides are low in calories.

Certification of origin of Icelandic salted fish in Spain is a joint project of the Association of Icelandic Saltfish Producers, the Norwegian Marine Research Institute and Matís. The project aims to develop a genetic method that can distinguish between cod from Íslandsmiður and cod caught off the coast of Norway and in the Barents Sea. Salted fish producers in this country suspect that salted cod products from Norway are sometimes wrongly labeled as Icelandic on markets in Southern Europe. The market position of Icelandic salted fish products has for a long time been very strong in Southern Europe, especially in Spain, Portugal and Italy. In these markets, Icelandic products have a certain uniqueness and prices for Icelandic saltfish are generally higher than for saltfish from other regions. If the goal of the project is successful, it will be possible to verify that salted fish is not sold under a false flag.

Relationship of NIR to growth and feed digestibility of salmonids is a joint project of the Association of Icelandic Fishmeal Producers, Síldarvállúnn, Eskja, Ísfélag Vestmannaeyja, the University of Iceland and Matís. The aim of the project is to develop a model to evaluate the quality of fishmeal as a raw material for salmon farm feed in a quick, easy and cheap way. The model will be based on NIR technology (near infrared spectroscopy) which provides information on the content and characteristics of the measured samples. This information can be used and compared in vivo actual measurements and thus get a forecast for various elements in the raw material. These include the chemical content and digestibility of raw materials, the composition of nutrients such as amino acids and fatty acids, to name a few. A NIR device actually provides a fingerprint of the raw material. With the NIR model, it will therefore be possible to assess the quality of fishmeal, which will provide fishmeal producers with data to improve their products and strengthen their bargaining position vis-a-vis feed producers. Similarly, the results of the project will enable feed manufacturers to select the right "right" fishmeal for their feed.

Is the grass greener on the other side? (grass protein) is a joint project of Matís, the Farmers' Association, the University of Agriculture and the Advisory Center for Agriculture. Protein is in high demand and one possible source of protein is grass. Abroad, especially in Denmark, research has been carried out in the field of protein processing from grass with good results. The goal of the project is to start research in this field in Iceland and carry out basic work that can then be built on. Results from Denmark cannot be transferred directly to Icelandic conditions, so it is important to carry out research in this area here. Protein extracted from grass can be used both as fodder and food. Research has also shown that waste from protein processing can be used as feed. In the project, samples of grass will be collected from the experimental cultivation of different cultivars and knowledge of the protein content and properties of the isolated protein will be obtained.

Nutritional data - key to national public health and innovation in the food industry is a joint project of Matís, the European Food Information Resource (EuroFIR), the Association of Small Food Producers (SSMF), Mjölkursamsalen and other companies in the food industry. When making claims about the health and safety of food, information and knowledge are needed. The aim of the project is to improve and update the Icelandic database on the chemical content of food (ÍSGEM). ÍSGEM is now managed by Matís, but it has not been possible to finance its maintenance for the past 12 years. It is up to the food industry, scientists and the public alike not to be able to fully trust the information. A step will be taken to make it easier for the food industry and the public to use the database on the Matís website. During product development in the food industry, it is important to be able to examine the composition of raw materials when aiming for certain goals in the development.

Study on utilization rate and chemical content of lamb meat and by-products is a joint project of Icelandic Lamb marketing agency and Matís. The project relates to an assessment of utilization rates within the meat assessment categories of lamb and an analysis of the chemical content of meat and by-products that are of increasing value. The project is intended to update old and even outdated data and save it in public databases.

Pine fatty acids as a quality indicator is a joint project between True Westfjords and Matís where the goal is to use Furan fatty acids to evaluate the quality of fish oil, while True Westfjörds is a producer of cold-processed fish oil sold under the brand name Dropi.

Improved quality of sea-frozen roe is a joint project between Útgerðafélag Reykjavíkur and Matís, where efforts will be made to improve processing processes and the quality of sea-frozen pollock products.

Rannís Technology Development Fund

BIOTOOL, Advanced technology for environmental monitoring in aquaculture is a joint project of RORUM (Research and consultancy in environmental and regional affairs), the University of Iceland, the Danish Technical University (DTU) and Matís. The goal of the project is to develop a comprehensive genetic molecular tool for monitoring benthic communities for fish farming. The device in question is very sensitive and will result in significant savings in time and costs, which are important to both the fish farm and public regulators. The project is based on unique long-term data and the latest technology in environmental genetics. A very fast and environmentally friendly technology that uses environmental DNA (eDNA) will be used to monitor and measure changes in benthic communities.

Professional degree in sheep farming

Increased throughput and cost-effectiveness in rickets gene assays is a joint project of the Agricultural Advisory Center (RML) and Matís. Now the situation in the analyzes of the rickets gene has completely changed. A protective variation against scabies, i.e. at position 171 in the scabies gene, has been found in a herd in Þernunes in Reyðarfjörður, and extensive research is underway to investigate the effect of other variations in the scabies gene on susceptibility to scabies: 137, 138 and 151. In addition, it is important for farmers to receive information about 136 and 154, as Matís has analyzed for years. Therefore, it is clear that farmers and managers urgently need genotyping of all these six seats in as many artifacts as possible. The aim of the project is to increase the performance and reduce the price of riðügen analyzes in this country. The grant will be used to cover the costs of sequencing the scrapie gene to farmers and RML.

Lou fund

Fishing and processing of redfish in Vestmannaeyjar is a joint project of the Vestmannaeyri Knowledge Center, the Vestmannaeyri Research Service, the University of Iceland, the Norwegian Marine Research Institute, the Processing Center in the Vestmannaeyjar, the Ísfélag Vestmannaeyjar and Matís. In the project, the viability of catching and processing redfish in the Vestmannaeyjar will be investigated.

A fund for the promotion of a circular economy in Iceland

Microorganisms for aquaculture sludge enrichment is a joint project of Sjávarklasan and Matís. The goal of the project is to develop methods to use organic side streams (waste) from salmon farming in fertilizer.

Optimization of the implementation of the utilization of side streams for biochar and fertilizer production is a joint project between Landeldi and Matís, but the aim of the project is to The aim of the project is to investigate and document the recovery of nutrients from different dry chemical filters in land farming and their best handling for biochar production. The aim is to research and optimize processes for mixing livestock manure, fish slurry, feed residues and dead fish from land farming, with the aim of maximizing the soil-improving properties of biochar and the power of fertiliser. It will be investigated how biochar can be produced in the most economical way.

Environmental Fund for Sea Pig Farming

Monitoring of manatee farming areas using rapid genetic methods is a joint project between RORUM and Matís. The aim of the project is to develop fast genetic methods to monitor the biological diversity in the bottom layers under and around salmon dams.

EIT food

The relationship between feed and seasonal fluctuations in the nutritional content of milk (NUTRIMILK – Connecting milk seasonality and nutritional requirements to inform farm-to-fork innovations for optimum nutrient supply). The project is carried out in collaboration with the University of Reading, UK. The aim of the project is to examine changes in nutritional composition depending on the season. The project will (i) investigate the effect of production system (organic production vs conventional) and season (January-December), on the concentration of trace minerals and minerals in milk and (ii) evaluate the effect it has on the mineral intake of different social groups across the year.

Norwegian Research Council (Forskningsrådet)

Causal categorization of mortality as a model system for sustainable growth and increased value creation in aquaculture is a project funded by the Norwegian Research Council and led by the Department of Veterinary Medicine at NMBU University in Norway. Other participants are ÅKERBLÅ AS, SINTEF, PISCADA AS, LERØY, Laxar, Arctic Fish, Arnarlax and Matís. The goal of the project is to analyze the reasons for salmon deaths in aquaculture and to try to use that knowledge to reduce salmon deaths.

BlueBio Cofund

Strengthening European fisheries by creating a "fingerprint" of underutilized fish species to increase sustainability and reduce waste (EuFish_SustainableGrowth – European fisheries enhancement through "Omic" characterization and innovative seafood production from underutilized fish species. The project is led by the University of Naples Federico II, Italy and worked in collaboration with AquaBioTech ltd, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn of Naples, Brim, Grími kokki and Matís. The goal of the project is to examine underutilized fish species by using them better as nutritious food and/or as feed in aquaculture. By using diverse fish species, we can increase access to nutritious seafood and reduce food waste. Specific fingerprints of different species will be developed which can be shared with stakeholders in a database.

BláGræntFóður (Synergy of blue and green sectors for resilient biomass production and processing to develop sustainable feed ingredients for European aquaculture). The project is led by SINTEF in Norway, with the participation of the University of Åarhus, the University of Tallinn, the University of Iceland, Laxá and Montasjen in Norway. The goal of the project is to develop fish feed from grass proteins and feather meal from poultry farming.


Conference on September 8. Innovation and opportunities in Icelandic food production

Orkídea and the University of Iceland are holding a conference on innovation and opportunities in food production on September 8 at Hotel Selfoss. Matís employees Rósa Jónsdóttir and Kolbrún Sveinsdóttir will give a presentation on the production of new proteins for food and feed.

It is imperative to increase food production in the world significantly in the coming decades due to the ever-growing world population. This poses great challenges, as a large part of the world's usable vegetation is already used for agricultural production. Many usable fish stocks have reached their endurance limit and there is a growing shortage of energy and water for food production. These challenges also contain great opportunities for Iceland, which the intention is to shed light on at this event, which is a joint project of Orkídea, the Icelandic University of Agriculture, the Ministry of University, Industry and Innovation, the University of Bifröst, Íslandstofa, Lax-inn Education Center, Matís, the Agricultural Advisory Center, Association of small food producers and Ölfus Cluster.

Video recordings from the conference can be found by clicking the button below:

The conference program can be found here:

Moderator: Vigdís Häsler, executive director Farmers' Association of Iceland


Matís comes to the search for genetic factors of bow crisis

Bógkreppa is a hereditary genetic defect in sheep in Iceland. The defect is likely to be recessive, meaning that in order for lambs to be born with the symptoms of rickets, they must receive the defective gene from both parents. This means that the genetic defect has been hidden for years in the Icelandic treasury and then unexpectedly pops up.

Matís is involved in a project that aims to find a genetic marker that could be used to diagnose the defect in heterozygous individuals. If such a genetic marker were found, it would be possible to eliminate the genetic defect from Icelandic cattle and ensure that it does not enter insemination centers.

The research project is funded by the Professional Council for Sheep Breeding, led by the University of Iceland's Institute of Pathology at Keldum, and in addition to Matís, RML is involved in the project.

See more on the Bændablaðir website by clicking here

Photo: Shutterstock


Genetic modification of microorganisms

The guests of the Matvælið podcast this time are Björn Þór Aðalsteinsson, project manager at Matís and Tryggvi Stefánsson, assistant manager at Algalíf. In the episode, they review marketing and research considerations in relation to genetic modification of microbes.

Björn Þór tells us all about the Thermo-Tools project that Matís' biotechnology group has been working on for the past few years. The Thermo Tools project aims to develop new tools to genetically modify thermophilic microbes. Iceland has the unique feature of having a large number of hot springs and therefore very good access to heat-loving microbes. Thermophilic microbes live at very high temperatures, ranging from 50-121°C, and the problem lies in the fact that the devices and tools normally used for genetic modification do not work at such high temperatures.

Tryggvi Stefánsson from Algalíf tells us about their production of Astaxanthin and how the market in which Algalíf operates sets a clear policy against genetic modification and the importance of having non-GMO certification in their production.

Listen to the full episode below:

The host is Ísey Dísa Hávarsdóttir


Registration has started for Green Entrepreneurs of the Future

Green entrepreneurs of the future (GFF) is an educational project by Matís intended for students in the upper grades of primary and secondary schools. The goal is to educate students about the effects of climate change on the ocean and its ecosystems, sustainability and innovation in an innovative and fun way. The project is open to all schools in the country and Matís has opened registrations for the school year 2022-2023.

The project takes place in schools under the guidance of teachers, and the projects can be localized according to the needs of each individual school. The project is divided into four workshops, field visits and a MAKEathon. The workshops include theoretical discussion and projects, the field visits are to a fishing company and the MAKEathon is an innovation competition

We encourage interested teachers and schools to register for the 2022-2023 school year. Registration is not binding, so those who are curious can definitely register as well. You can also contact the project manager Justine Vanhalst via email if any questions arise. You will also find the Green Entrepreneurs of the Future on the website and onto instagram.

An electronic information meeting will be held on August 18, at 1-1:30 p.m., where all aspects of the project will be covered and people will be given the opportunity to ask questions, more information about the meeting will be sent upon registration.

Registration is done by clicking the registration button below:

Here you can see a trailer from the TV channel N4 about Green Entrepreneurs of the Future, the show will be released later this fall.

Want to read more about the Green Entrepreneurs of the Future? Below is an interview with Katrína Hulda Gunnarsdóttir, who has worked on the project since the beginning:


Torula yeast meal in feed for Atlantic salmon, effects on growth and gut microbiota

The scientific article "Torula yeast in the diet of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and the impact on growth performance and gut microbiome." was recently published by the scientific journal Scientific Reports, which is published by Nature. The effects of Torula yeast meal on the growth performance and gut microbiome of farmed salmon were investigated, where conventional proteins in feed were replaced by yeast meal. The results may surprise you.

With the rapid growth of salmon farming, the need to find and develop suitable substitutes for traditional protein sources in feed increases. Torula yeast flour (Candida utilis) has been defined as a neoprotein (e. Alternative Protein) which can replace traditional protein in feed. The yeast can be grown sustainably. This study examined the effects of yeast meal on growth performance and gut microbiota in freshwater Atlantic salmon. Feed containing protein from seafood, eg fishmeal, as well as mixed marine and plant protein where conventional proteins were replaced by increased amounts of yeast meal (0%, 10%, 20%) were tested.

This study showed that during the growth stage of freshwater salmon, yeast meal can partially replace traditional proteins in compound feed, but that the optimal amount of intake depends on the total composition of the feed and the types of proteins being replaced. In the feed containing seafood protein, this study revealed that 20% yeast meal can be added to the feed without altering growth performance and with potential benefits to the gut microbiota such as an increase in some lactic acid bacteria.

In comparison, in the feed combining seafood protein and plant protein, 10% yeast meal content supports better growth performance than conventional proteins. At the higher intake level, 20%, there was no growth benefit and potentially adverse changes in gut microbiota, such as a decrease in lactic acid bacteria and an increase in bacterial abundance associated with slower growth in other salmonids.

Find out more about these interesting results and read the full scientific article here

Birgir Örn Smárason professional manager at Matís and Sigurlaug Skírnisdóttir project manager at Matís, are among the authors of the article, for more information you can contact them at the following email addresses and


The green entrepreneurs of the future


Katrín Hulda Gunnarsdóttir


Green entrepreneurs of the future (GFF) is an educational project at Matís that started in June 2021. The mission of the project is to educate Icelandic elementary school students about climate and environmental issues, and the project is funded by the Climate Fund. Katrín Hulda Gunnarsdóttir, an expert at Matís has worked on the project together with Justine Vanhalst, project manager at Matís. Katrín shares with us the journey of the project from the beginning.

"It was pleasing to see how interested and really knowledgeable the kids were about the effects of climate change. It soon became clear that this is an issue that is on their minds and they are very aware of the discussion that is taking place in society at the moment."

Why Green entrepreneurs of the future?

"I had just finished a teacher training course where I had learned various concepts such as problem-solving learning, student-centered learning and gamification. When I saw a job advertised to work at GFF, I thought it was a perfect fit. It both fit well with the philosophy I wanted to adopt as a teacher, addressed issues that I consider important and would give me experience in creating learning materials. I applied for it and have been here ever since," says Katrín Hulda.

You don't have to look far beyond a dose to have an effect

"The goal of GFF is to arouse the interest and increase the knowledge of primary school children about climate and environmental issues, innovation and sustainable resource use in order to mobilize them in the fight against climate change and encourage them to green innovation."

"This was done by providing innovative and interesting education and engaging them in conceptual work and innovation in cooperation with companies in the local area with a special focus on environmental impact and resource use. With that, the intention was to strengthen relationships between parties within the students' home areas and show them that often you don't have to look far to be able to make an impact." 

"With innovative education, we were mainly thinking about making it exciting, impressive and empowering for the kids." It has the effect of reducing climate anxiety. In order to combat climate anxiety among children and young people, it has been recommended, among other things, to tell them the truth, give space to difficult feelings and allow them to take part in the fight. The authors of the GFF curriculum had this in mind when writing. Katrín Hulda explains.

Challenges following Covid 19 were solved with resourcefulness

"The goals were achieved and the project went better than we dared to hope. Of course, the organization changed a little due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but the schools were incredibly resourceful in sorting things out. As an example, in Sauðárkrók it was not possible to visit the companies due to a ban on visitors, due to the Covid mass restrictions. Instead, the students received visits from the companies, where they were told about their activities. There were presentations, videos and many other things, and it seemed like a great success."

Year school

"Feedback from teachers and other participants came out very well, and was very valuable in refining the project for the next round." It can also be mentioned that there is a great lack of study materials on climate and environmental issues for this age group, and therefore there is a certain gap that the project fills in," says Katrín Hulda.

Did something new or even unexpected come to light?

"It was fun to see how good the kids are at innovation. Not only do they come up with brilliant ideas, but they also showed good work practices and achieved a lot in a very short time when the MAKEathons took place. MAKEathon is an innovation competition where you compete to come up with the best solution to a given problem. In our case, the competitions took place over two days and the kids made prototypes, models or posters of their solutions to environmental problems.

It was pleasing to see how interested and really knowledgeable the kids were about the effects of climate change. It soon became clear that this is an issue they are passionate about and they are very aware of the debate that is taking place in society at the moment. Moreover, there was a great will to fight among them, but they feel that this is the biggest problem facing the rest of the world," says Katrín Hulda.

"It was possible to localize the projects according to the needs of each individual school. The teachers took the projects and made them their own, for example, teachers at Grunnskóli Bolungarvík linked the subject matter to the history of Bolungarvík, and teachers at Sauðárkrók took advantage of the opportunity and used the one experiment to teach their students how to report.

"It was also cool to see how empowering the MAKEathon was for the students. Having the opportunity to deal with "real problems", ie. the same problems that the adults in their immediate environment face, seemed to give them new assumptions and ambitions. It was very important to them that this was not just some textbook example that was then put in a drawer and never done anything more with."

The first year of the project ended with a bang and the impact is not hidden

"The first year of the project, hopefully of many, ended this spring with a bang. The national MAKEathons competition, GFF's innovation competition, was held and the results were presented during Innovation Week. All participants were very satisfied and there seemed to be a great desire to continue the project.

The impact has primarily been on the students. They have learned a lot, both academically, ie about climate change and its effects, but also practically, i.e. work practices An increased understanding of the nature of climate change and its effects, among other things, on their local environment has been achieved. The kids' perspective on their hometown changed as a result, as well as on the companies that operate there. They learned to see opportunities in their local environment. FabLab smidjarnar and Djúpið Frumkvöðsetur came in strong, but their expertise includes teaching kids innovation and entrepreneurship.

The teachers have also received new weapons in their pedagogical arsenal, both in terms of theoretical knowledge and also new teaching methods. Hopefully, these methods will continue to be useful to them, whether they teach environmental science or some other subject. We must not forget the impact the project has had on us. We are full of inspiration and would like to take the students, and their creativity, as our example," says Katrín Hulda.

Year school
Bolungarvík elementary school

What are the next steps?

"The course material itself will be made available online as agreed. It would be nice to be able to publish it properly though, with illustrations and a nice presentation. The intention is to apply for a grant for such a thing."

"As for the next school year, the registration of schools that want to participate has been opened. Both the oldest classes of primary schools and secondary schools can participate. Matís' role is to be within their reach, but the study material is all there, so it shouldn't take much intervention for the MAKEathons to come. Registration has been opened and will end on September 1. Those interested receive a short Google survey that they fill out."

Those who wish to learn more about the project or access teaching materials are directed to the project's website: The project also maintains an Instagram page with various information and pictures:

Special thanks to our partners: Stefán Þór Eysteinsson at Matís, Gunnar Þórðarson at Matís, Ragnhildur Friðriksdóttir former employee of Matís, Year School Sauðárkróki, Nesskóli Neskaupstaður, Elementary School Bolungarvík, Djúpið Frumkvöðsetur Bolungarvík (Gunnar Ólafsson), FabLab Ísafjörður, FabLab Neskaupstaður, FabLab Sauðárkrókur, N4 Television, Cambridge University. Dögun shrimp processing, FISK Seafood, ArcticFish and Eskja.

Registration has started

Registration for Green Entrepreneurs of the Future for the next school year has opened. The project is suitable for the oldest grades of primary school and the basic courses of secondary school. For more information, those interested can contact the project manager, Justine Vanhalst at Registration is done by clicking the button below:


Research on horsemeat

Horsemeat is a limited resource and a high quality product. Are there opportunities in product development and marketing that are not being exploited?

In this episode we hear from Eva Margrét Jónudóttir who is a specialist at Matís, but she has done various research on horsemeat. Among other things, Eva has researched the attitudes and buying behavior of Icelandic consumers and researched meat quality in foal meat. Eva talks pleasantly about the results of that research and it is extremely interesting to hear her report on the results of the quality and shelf life of horsemeat.

Listen to the full episode below:

The host is Ísey Dísa Hávarsdóttir