Fulbright Scholar Award

Research in Seaweed Processing

Application Deadline
Thursday, September 15, 2022
Award Code
Activity Type
Professional Project
A Professional Project enables the participant to engage in activities in their area of expertise to enhance their professional development and the field at large. Projects may include serving as a professional consultant to the host organization, sharing expertise, visiting other organizations in their professional field, gaining practical experience, and attending public lectures. While the details vary according to the specific award, the focus of a Professional Project grant should not be research or teaching.
Research includes activities involving scientific research, qualitative research, quantitative research, and practice-based research, including artistic research. Research can take place in locations such as the laboratory, the field, the archives, or an artist residency. It can be experimental, clinical, or applied. It can include examining policies, systems, theories, methods, interactions, and works of art and music, with the objective to evaluate or develop new knowledge or works. Quantifiable (tangible) outcomes can include publications (books, journal articles, scripts, etc.), conference presentations, artistic and musical compositions, exhibitions, performances, films, and patents.
A combination of teaching and research as described above. Refer to the award description for any specifications on percentages of time that should be devoted to teaching vs research.
Degree Requirements
Ph.D. (or other terminal degree) not required
Career Profile
Early Career Academics
Awards are open to those who have been working in the capacity of a teacher or scholar for no more than seven years.
Mid-Career Academics
Awards are open to those who have been working in the capacity of a teacher or scholar for more than seven, and less than 13, years.
Awards are open to individuals who have more than seven years of experience in a particular profession.
Senior Academics
Awards are open to those who have been working in the capacity of a teacher or scholar for more than 13 years.

Number of recipients

Award Start Period
August 2023 - September 2023
Award Length
9 months - 12 months
Flex Option
Multi-Country/Area Award
Scholars selected for this award can choose to
Advise and/or mentor students
Assist in faculty, curriculum, and/or program development
Conduct a research project designated by the host institution
Teach graduate and/or undergraduate courses designated by the host institution
The applicant can propose any of the listed activities

In addition to being a prestigious academic exchange program, the Fulbright Program is designed to expand and strengthen relationships between the people of the United States and citizens of other nations and to promote international understanding and cooperation. To support this mission, Fulbright Scholars may be asked to give public talks, mentor students, and otherwise engage with the host community, in addition to their primary activities‎.

Award Activity

The grantee will work on research projects in biopolymer chemistry that are dedicated to sourcing and processing a specific seaweed that can be used to make environmentally clean and healthy products. In Iceland, that seaweed is laminaria hyperborea (LH), which can be processed into alginate and cellulose and sold into many markets including pharmaceutical and food texture. The grantee may also develop a lab-based course in seaweed-based biopolymer chemistry, which would be conducted at University of Akureyri.

Award is hosted by the institution listed below
Locations Detail

University of Akureyri in north Iceland

Award Length and Period

9-12 months. Grants can start no sooner that mid-August 2023 and must be completed by mid-August 2024.

Areas of Interest

Biopolymer chemistry, with an emphasis on seaweed processing

Special Features

The grant is provided through public-private cooperation between the University of Akureyri and  Íslandsþari, an innovative company dedicated to the sourcing and processing of the seaweed laminaria hyperborea, which can be used to make environmentally clean and healthy products. The grantee will be working with both the university and Íslandsþari on the project.

 The local host will help the scholar to settle in, provide introductions and, in general, provide assistance to ensure a productive and enjoyable Fulbright experience.

Citizenship/Residency Requirement
Not applicable – all U.S. citizens are eligible to apply, regardless of dual citizenship or residency.
Invitation Requirement
A letter of invitation should not be sought.
Language Proficiency Requirements
None, English is sufficient.
Additional Qualification Information

Candidates should have a background in biopolymer chemistry and:

  • A background in natural polymers.
  • Knowledge of the chemical components in and characterization of natural polymers, particularly seaweed-based polymers.
  • Research interests in areas such as alginate production, bio-plastic films, food texture, satiety products and bioactive compounds
Award Allowances

$4,000 per month payable monthly.

The grant is denominated in U.S. dollars but paid in Icelandic krona (ISK), according to the current exchange rate.

The grant is intended to cover living costs in Iceland.

No separate housing allowance provided (it is part of the basic stipend). Grantees are responsible for arranging their own housing, but the host institution is expected to assist the grantee in finding housing and settling in.


Estimated Travel and Relocation Allowance for Grantee

Travel allowance is a lump sum $1,500, payable with the first grant payment.

Baggage allowance is $400, payable at the end of the grant period. 

No receipt is necessary for travel and baggage allowance.

All allowances are denominated in U.S. dollars but paid in ISK, according to the current exchange rate.


Additional Dependent Benefits

An additional $500 per month ($4500) for grantees with a dependent or dependents.

In addition, a $500 travel allowance per dependent.

Dependents must accompany the grantee for at least 80% of the period abroad and a minimum of one semester in order to qualify for additional dependent benefits. Dependent benefits are not provided to Flex grantees.

Estimated Cost of Living

Iceland is considered a high-cost country. Housing is comparable to smaller US cities, with housing most expensive in the capital area and less expensive outside the capital area. Food is relatively expensive compared to the US, but of high quality. Utilities are much less expensive than in the US. Many grantees live centrally and can walk to most destinations, but public transport in the form of buses is widely available.

Special Award Benefits

The scholar will be invited to monthly grantee enrichment events provided by the Fulbright Commission during the academic year. Also, the scholar will be taken out to lunch at the beginning and end of the grant period for briefing and debriefing. 

Special funding for disabled grantees:

Funding is available for a US Fulbright scholar to Iceland with a disability, be it a structural or functional impairment or activity/participation limitation, that entails additional costs that are not covered specifically through the Fulbright Program. Funding may be available for a wide range of disabilities, including, for example, hearing, vision or movement impairment. The funding could, for example, be used to assist with specialized housing needs, in-country transport or specialized assistance. The extra funding amount will depend on need and will be decided by the Commission after consultation with the scholar and can be expected to be between $2,000 and $9,000 USD. Funding is provided through the Bruce A. Fowler Mobility Fund.

Final grant amounts will be determined prior to the start of the academic year and are subject to the availability of funds. The United States Department of State and the Fulbright Commission in the host country reserve the right to alter, without notice, participating countries, number of awards and allowances.


What is life like for Fulbrighters in your country?

Iceland is a small Nordic country, an island republic in the North Atlantic, between the U.S. and the European mainland. Iceland is technologically advanced, English is widely spoken and Americans find Icelandic society and culture relatively easy to navigate.

There has been tremendous growth in academia in Iceland in recent years. On the one hand, the Fulbright Program aims, through teaching grants, to enhance and develop key disciplines at the university level and encourage newer and smaller departments. Being a small country, it is very important to the Icelandic higher education system to have access to Fulbright Scholars who have an important role to play in terms of broadening curricula and offering courses that would otherwise not be available, as well as bringing new perspectives in research. Fulbright Scholars make a real difference and have a large role in shaping courses and curricula. Research collaboration is also highly valued by Icelandic academics, who are eager for opportunities to host and collaborate with U.S. colleagues. Through the Commission's partnership with the National Science Foundation, the goal is on the one hand to strengthen Arctic research in Iceland and promote cooperation amongst scientists in a wide variety of Arctic fields and on the other to strengthen collaboration in the field of cyber-security and critical infrastructure. 

Fulbright Scholars are generally pleased with their stay in Iceland and find it very useful for their careers back home. For those grants where Fulbright Scholars are expected to teach and advise, the program is designed to ensure an opportunity for scholars to do their own research as well, if they so desire. Iceland provides very interesting research opportunities in many fields. As a small, highly technologically advanced country, Iceland is ideal for many types of research. English is widely spoken and much used in academia. Scholars can generally expect good access to people, institutions and information for research purposes. 

Those who receive research grants will have opportunities to engage in some teaching and lecturing, if they so desire. Many find that this enhances their experience and is useful also for their research.

Even if not teaching, scholars are required to present some talks while in Iceland.

Teaching awards are for three to five months in the fall or spring semester. The fall semester starts at mid-to-end of August and ends around mid-December. The spring semester is from early January through mid-May. Research awards are more flexible in terms of timeframe and length, but must be completed within the allotted timeframe.

Iceland has spectacular nature and offers scholars an opportunity for unique outdoor experiences, in addition to a vibrant cultural scene and a cuisine that has been gaining international recognition. There is a good public school system, and scholars with children have generally had positive experiences.

Since the Fulbright Program in Iceland is relatively small, the Commission is able to maintain close ties with scholars during their stay and provide a sense of community among Fulbright scholars and fellows. There are monthly grantee activities sponsored by the Commission, in addition to access to Fulbright alumni events and other social activities.

Fulbright-NSF Arctic scholar Dr. Christopher Hamilton visiting the Fagradal Volcano in 2021
Fulbright-NSF Arctic scholar Dr. Christopher Hamilton visiting the Fagradal Volcano in 2021


Previous Fulbright Recipients

Visit the Fulbright Iceland website for information about current and previous grantees.

Visit our Scholar Directory to view and search all Fulbright alumni. You can also learn more about Fulbright Alumni Ambassadors.