URSA-MAJOR: URban Sustainability in Action: Multi-disciplinary Approach through Jointly Organized Research schools

URSA-MAJOR will redress of education and training for Smart-City development.


The primary objective of the project is to train future stakeholders of Smart and Sustainable Cities to work with urban socio-environmental interactions in the era of climate change.

The secondary objectives of the project are to:

-       Connect international, cross-disciplinary education programs directed to climate change and environmental impacts in global cities

-       Improve knowledge transfer from advanced research and high-resolution computing to higher education and further to stakeholders

-       Increase influence of urban stakeholders on the content and design of educational programs

Project Summary

URSA MAJOR (Urban Sustainability in Action: Multi-disciplinary Approach through Jointly Organized Research schools) – integrates research advances and education into a holistic socioenvironmental program for Smart Cities. The project targets future urban stakeholders promoting the Green Deal transformations. It focusses on the regions of amplified climate change where urban areas have urgent needs to improve their sustainability and resilience, and where the cost of maladaptation is intolerably high. The UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) is central here.

URSA MAJOR seeks a holistic approach to urban nature-based solutions with strengthening access to digital communication and remote sensing. We provide training in web tools, extended reality, eLearning, FAIR data management, urban modelling, analysis and ethics of societal data. We strive to improve education of civil engineers, ecologists, urban architects, managers, and administrators – all future stakeholders of sustainable and resilient cities. 

URSA MAJOR focuses on socio-environmental aspects, which are influential but still strongly underappreciated. URSA MAJOR enhances the qualifying project SERUS introducing a global perspective on the Smart Cities and push for digitalization. 

Our consortium is a constellation of complementary partners: NERSC and University of Tromsø provides expertise on integrated urban modeling system and end-user applications; the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) links to Smart Cities zero-emission goals and the supporting EU project +CityxChange; SINTEF Digital contributes with digitalization and eLearning; Arctic Frontiers connects with Norwegian stakeholders; Institute of Meteorology and Climatology (IMUK, Germany) provides urban modelling expertise; Nansen Environmental Research Center - India (NERSC) transfers knowledge to the developing world, contributes with remote sensing data analysis; George Washington University (GWU) introduces the social science component; Tyum State University introduces ecosystem components. High quality of research and education is assured by theUniversity in Tromsø, the University in Bergen, and NTNU.

Project Details
Funding Agency: 
Research Council of Norway
NERSC Principal Investigator: 
Lasse H. Pettersson
Project Deputy Leader at NERSC: 
Victoria Miles
Coordinating Institute: 
Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center
Project Status: