ISER's work is divided into seven research areas, which you can browse if you're interested in seeing the scope of work in a broad area rather than just a specific publication.

Applied Social Policy

ISER's work in this area covers a broad spectrum of applied social policy studies. Topics include:

  • Rural communications applications and policy
  • Well-being of Alaska's children and teenagers
  • Social and economic change among Alaska Native peoples
  • Health care and health policy
  • Alaska justice system programs and policies
  • Security and other aspects of the state's election system

Arctic Social Systems

A number of ISER studies look at public policy issues across the Arctic—issues that affect not only Alaska but are common across the region. That work includes:

  • Compiling data on changing social and economic conditions around the Arctic
  • Analyzing migration as an adaptation to change in Arctic communities
  • Potential ways of strengthening institutions for Arctic governance
  • Resilience of human-rangifer systems to forces of change


ISER studies all aspects of the Alaska economy and at times economies of similar regions. It also creates and maintains extensive economic databases. Subjects of ISER's economic analyses include:

  • The unique structure of Alaska's economy, reflecting its size and remote location
  • Proposed or existing economic policies
  • Industrial sectors that drive the economy
  • Contributions of specific economic activities
  • Likely effects of projects and activities
  • Assessments of benefits versus costs
  • Projections of future economic activity


ISER hosts the UAA Center for Alaska Education Policy Research (CAEPR), examining issues that involve access, equity, and excellence across all levels of education. CAEPR's education studies are broad ranging, covering issues from early childhood and K-12 schooling to post-secondary and career and technical education. These include:

  • Analyzing the supply of and demand for teachers in Alaska
  • Studying Alaska Native student high-school and college success
  • Assessing models for providing education in rural Alaska
  • Evaluating outcomes of grant-funded programs intended to improve teaching and learning in Alaska's schools

Energy and Environment

ISER's research in this area examines issues and questions at the intersection of energy, environment, and society. This work is intended to help support informed decisions and effective adaptation to change. ISER researchers collaborate closely with the Alaska Center for Energy and Power (ACEP) at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and with government and tribal agencies, industry, and non-profit groups. Research work in this area is broad and includes:

  • Evaluating emerging energy technologies
  • Modeling the potential effects of changes in energy policies
  • Estimating Alaska energy production and use
  • Measuring the economic value of nature-based tourism
  • Examining visitor travel and spending patterns

Fiscal Policy

ISER has long studied the fiscal policies of Alaska's state government, which has depended heavily on oil revenues since the 1970s. That work includes:

  • Outlining potential fiscal strategies for the state
  • Assessing potential non-oil revenue sources
  • Examining ways to improve the state's long-term fiscal planning
  • Documenting how much the state economy and government depend on oil revenues


ISER has a long tradition of studying fisheries and the seafood industry. Topics include:

  • Fisheries management
  • Alaska seafood markets
  • Seafood industry in Alaska economy
  • Commercial fishing safety
  • Loss of limited entry permits among rural Alaskans
  • Effects of restricted fisheries access on coastal communities
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