The AICIS Foundation -
Åland International Institute of Comparative Island Studies

AICIS is an Åland based, international and independent, research institute which explores the economic and institutional aspects of insular entities - mainly from a comparative point of view. It operates, on a network basis, in close cooperation with other island institutes and academic institutions, as well as with a variety of economic and policy milieus, all over the world. AICIS can be described as a virtual and project based organisation with a permanent core located in Åland. It is an independent foundation, set up by a number of leading Ålandic companies: Åland Mutual, Alandia Corporations, Bank of Åland and Åland Investment Ltd. The core operations of AICIS are physically located at Statistics and Research Åland (ÅSUB), which also provides AICIS with the necessary facilities and IT-systems.

Objectives and overall strategies

AICIS aims at:
• Supporting the development of innovative capacity and economic growth within and outside Åland. AICIS works, in this respect, as a qualified think tank that designs arenas for creative development and progress by coordinating a variety of competences and other resources.
• Strengthening the brand of Åland in various international scientific, business and market contexts. Accordingly, AICIS arranges international conferences and workshops and distributes scientific reports and other products among international interest groups. As a member of several international networks, AICIS also participates in international projects and is involved in marketing the brand of Åland in different contexts.

The added value of AICIS

AICIS operates to the benefit of the business community and the Åland society at large, as well as to the benefit of other insular clients. Consequently, AICIS offers tailor-made projects and other services to Åland as well as to foreign business and policy milieus. Furthermore, the institute initiates international research projects, mainly with a comparative focus. The economic, institutional and cultural specificities of insular settings are explored, analysed and discussed by systematic comparisons. The institute is a key contributor to the international debate on the characteristics of island economies.

Research operations

The research of AICIS focuses on small-scale, insular, economies and their institutional settings. Autonomous insular regions, like Åland, represent a category of insular entities which are given specific attention, but the work of AICIS is not limited to this category only. The comparative studies that the institute generally undertakes, include islands with divergent institutional arrangements, from independent states to ordinary island regions. AICIS takes a multi-disciplinary approach to the study of islands and is influenced by a number of research traditions within political science, geography, economics, economic sociology, social-psychology, cultural anthropology and ethnology. Thus, the institute works with a broad range of methodologies and adopts various – qualitative and quantitative - research methods in carrying out the individual projects.

The projects that AICIS designs and carries out originate both from articulated needs and preferences of the business community of Åland, as well as from its Scientific Advisory Committee. The institute offers its clients and stakeholders a balanced portfolio of products and services which include:
- Independent research
- Research projects tailor-made for our clients
- Conferences, workshops and seminars on strategic themes

The AICIS Information Brochure: Learn more about who we are, our mission and our work. In addition, meet two special clients who share their thoughts about the work that AICIS has done for their companies.