Fulbright Scholar Award

Sustainable Development and Regional Planning


Application Deadline
Monday, September 16, 2024
Award Code
Activity Type
Teaching includes classroom teaching, as well as giving guest lectures, workshops, and seminars, and engaging in other related activities. Classroom teaching is typically at the undergraduate and graduate level, and courses may be designed by the scholar or prescribed by the host institution and may be taught or co-taught by the scholar. The teaching load varies by award, as well as the host institution. Scholars may also consult on building research capacity, advise graduate students, and assist with thesis advising.
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) required
Career Profile
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.
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
January 2026
Award Length
4 months - 4.5 months
Flex Option
Multi-Country/Area Award
Projects are sought in all disciplines
Scholars selected for this award will be required to
Advise and/or mentor students
Assist in faculty, curriculum, and/or program development
Teach graduate and/or undergraduate courses designated by the host institution
Award Activity

The Agricultural University in Iceland (AUI) runs an M.Sc. program in the field of planning. The aim of the program is to educate skilled professionals who are competent in planning and designing the present and future built and natural environments based on the latest knowledge in the field. So far, the emphasis has been on urban planning while regional planning, including rural areas, has not received the deserved attention. 

The selected scholar will develop and teach a new course in the M.Sc. program (about 8-10 ECTS-European Credits) in the area of sustainable regional and rural planning. In addition, the visiting scholar is expected to help with training students specifically in this area of research through M.Sc. thesis work. This would require help from the visiting scholar with how to frame the thesis topic and supervision of students that will allocate their thesis work to the theme, in addition to the development and teaching of a new course. Finally, there is a need to develop a plan for continuity of the course in question after the end of the scholarship period.

The duties assigned to the grant include curriculum development, supervision of 2-4 students writing their M.Sc. thesis, teaching the newly developed course the first time in addition to knowledge exchange with relevant teachers in the new course. The work is expected to be conducted in collaboration with permanent academic staff in the planning program at AUI and to some extent landscape architecture. Finally, the visiting scholar is expected to contribute to a plan for future delivery of the new course in collaboration with AUI staff. This includes training students to become sufficiently qualified in the field to contribute to future teaching. This includes as well building an international network with relevant contributors to the course in future.

Location Selection: Award is hosted by the institution listed below
Locations Detail

The Agricultural University of Iceland plays a key role in developing societal issues related to agriculture, use of natural resources, planning, landscape architecture, environment and climate, as well as issues concerning the society and economy as a whole.

The Agricultural University of Iceland’s (AUI) Strategic Plan 2019-2024 puts focus on enhancing research, innovation and international collaboration in order to strengthen the AUI’s teaching and internal resources. Emphasis is put on sustainability, increasing the number of faculty members as well as increasing student numbers.

AUI welcomes exchange studies because that gives students the opportunity to expand their horizons, learn new languages, get to know new culture and educational systems and then one of the most important things is to make new friends for life in different countries.

The M.Sc. program in planning is located at the Keldnaholt campus in Reykjavik:
Faculty of Planning and Design
Agricultural University of Iceland
Keldnaholt, Árleynir 22, 112 Reykjavík
(+354) 433 5000

The B.Sc. program in landscape architecture is located in Hvanneyri, about 60 minutes drive from the Keldnaholt campus. One or more workshops are expected to be held at Hvanneyri with students in landscape architecture.

Award Length and Period

The grant is for one semester, with arrival anticipated early January 2026.

Areas of Interest

Specialization: regional/rural planning and governance.

Open to candidates in all relevant fields, such as, but not limited to, environmental sciences, landscape architecture ands history, as long as the candidate has experience in planning.


Special Features

The Agricultural University of Iceland is one of the smallest Higher Education Institutions in the world. With its size of around 500 students and 100 staff members it forms a familiar crowd. On various occasions, staff members organize common activities like short trips, visits to a swimming pool, and going out for a run. On Hvanneyri campus is a gym open for staff. There is a canteen in both locations where staff members usually have lunch together. Despite AUI´s size, the staff is very international. At least a quarter of the staff originates from 15 different countries. English is widely spoken. AUI offers all foreign staff members courses to learn Icelandic.

The host institution is expected to assist the U.S. scholar to find suitable housing, settle in, provide social and networking opportunities and, in general, assist the scholar to ensure a productive and enjoyable Fulbright experience.

The work with developing and teaching the course in question is expected to include travel and exploration of places of interest in rural and nature areas in Iceland. The country is internationally known for its phenomenal wilderness and beautiful nature. Some examples can be found here: https://guidetoiceland.is/nature-info 

Reykjavik offers a variety of housing opportunities in quiet, family friendly or/and central areas close to cultural activities, sport activities or/and natural areas. For additional information, see for example https://reykjavikcityguide.is/reykjavik-for-the-whole-family/

All applicants must meet the Program eligibility requirements (click to review the requirements).

Citizenship/Residency Requirement
Applicants residing in the award country at the time of application or thereafter are not eligible to apply for this award.
Permanent residents of the award country are not eligible to apply for this award.
Invitation Requirement
A letter of invitation is preferred.
Invitation Requirement Additional Information

A letter of invitation from the host institution is strongly recommended.

Language Proficiency Requirements
None, English is sufficient
Additional Qualification Information

Experience in curriculum development is desired, as well as a minimum of five years’ teaching experience.

Additional Comments

Further information and a letter of invitation can be sought from:
Dr. Harpa Stefánsdóttir, Professor
Department: Faculty of Planning and Design, Agricultural University of Iceland.
Telephone: (+354) 433 5000
E-mail: harpastefans@lbhi.is

Christian Schultze, Head of Research and International Relations
Telephone: (+354) 843 5350
Email: christian@lbhi.is

For additional information, please contact at the Fulbright Commission in Reykjavik, Iceland: fulbright@fulbright.is.

Award Allowances

$4,000 per month or $4,500 per month for grantees with a dependent or dependents, payable monthly.  A dependent must stay in Iceland for at least 80% of the grant period to be eligible for a dependent supplement.

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 (grantees pay for housing out of the 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. Host institutions may in some instances be able to provide on-campus housing.

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 needed for travel and baggage allowance. 
All allowances are denominated in U.S. dollars but paid in ISK, according to the current exchange rate.

Do you offer additional dependent benefits

A $500 travel allowance per dependent.

Children can attend primary and lower-secondary public schools at little or no cost, which is a great way to integrate into Icelandic society. The Commission can assist grantees in finding an appropriate local public school.

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 US Fulbright scholars 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. Some 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. Funding is provided through the Bruce A. Fowler Mobility Fund.


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.

scholar standing on edge of volcano
Fulbright-NSF Arctic scholar Dr. Christopher Hamilton visiting the Fagradal Volcano in 2021

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 and collaboration in research. Fulbright Scholars make a real difference and have a large role in shaping courses and curricula. The Fulbright Commission has increasingly focused also on bringing research scholars to Iceland. Opportunities for research are many and varied and can easily be conducted in English. U.S. scholars, both in natural and social sciences, have in the past years been very satisfied with the research infrastructure in Iceland. 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 to strengthen research in Iceland that has relevance for the Arctic and promote cooperation amongst scientists in a wide variety of Arctic relevant fields. Please note that many research topics can have relevance to the Arctic, even though they may not be strictly categorized as Arctic research, for example topics dealing with climate change, health, conservation, security broadly defined (for example, food or energy security), marine or coastal studies, anthropology and archaeology, just to name a few.

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 time frame and length, but must be completed within the allotted time frame.

Iceland has spectacular nature and offers scholars an opportunity for unique outdoor experiences, in addition to a vibrant cultural scene and an exciting local cuisine. There is a good public school system, and scholars with children have 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.

Please see below a grantee video profile of a young scholar who talks about her experiences as a researcher in Iceland:

Previous Fulbright Recipients

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