Assistance to Developing Countries – An Integral Part of Matís’ Operations

Matís has been a cooperative partner in the teaching programme of the United Nations University Fisheries Training Programme, UNU-FTP , since it started in 1998.

“The programme is divided into two main parts, an introductory course and specialist training-academic training section. The programme is focused on practical knowledge, and students work closely with local trainers on project work. Usually 15-20 specialists from Matís are engaged in teaching and supervising the students’ projects”, says Heiða Pálmadóttir, research group leader at Matís.

Planning of the schedule can be a puzzle/challenge. The first six weeks of the programme are mainly lectures, followed by visits to fish processing companies. The lectures are supervised not only by Matís’ employees but often by specialists from the fishing industry, specifically experts in transport and packaging. While visiting the fish processing companies, the students first observe the workflow and then hold informal, interesting and dynamic debates. These visits are engaging and educational for both students and supervisor, and I, as a supervisor, have greatly enjoyed the visits and brought home new knowledge.


Cooperation’s benefit to the UNU-FTP:

  • Matís has many specialists in various fields with long experience in research and service to the fishing industry
  • The specialists at Matís maintain good contact with the Icelandic fishing industry— from catch to consumer
  • Specialists at Matís cooperate with Icelandic universities. They are involved in both basic and higher education and form a bridge between industry and universities

Cooperation’s benefit to Matís:

  • By contributing to development assistance, Matís discovers new directions for its developmental programme
  • Matís specialists’ constant contact with the fishing industry updates their basic knowledge in the field
  • Matís finds new opportunities for further projects in the international market

Students work on their final thesis projects at Matís, and during this time we build strong relationships with the students. Many of them return to Iceland for further education. Several have been studying for their Master’s and doctoral degrees in recent years. This results in strong and lasting relationships between employees at Matís and the students.

“I am presently in touch with a student from Sri Lanka. The student is establishing a quality system and needs advice on the implementation of some measurements, such as quality measurements for fish, and also further explanations of the methodology. This assistance can be given through e-mail. This does not take much time, but it gives great pleasure to provide assistance in small ways”, says Heiða.