The possibility to establish a Nordic center in India was discussed already in 1995 during a meeting of the Nordic Association of South Asian Studies (NASA), an organization established in 1990 to promote exchanges between researchers and students in South Asia Studies. As a result of this and following discussions, the Nordic Centre in India (NCI) was founded in 2001 as a consortium of leading universities and research institutions in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. The objective of the consortium, which initially consisted of eight member universities and research institutions in the Nordic countries, was to strengthen and enhance Indian and South Asian studies in the Nordic countries and to support research activities in India and with Indian counterparts.

The first years of NCI were devoted to the recruitment of new members of the consortium, to setting up the offices in India and in the Nordic region, identifying collaboration partners in India and tailoring study programs for students from the member universities. Initially NCI had legal existence only in the Nordic countries, but in 2004 it was approved by the Indian government and could set up a liaison office in India with the approval of the Reserve Bank of India. A formal decision on the approval was taken by the Minister for Human Resources Development (HRD) Arjun Singh and publicly announced during an official visit to India by the Norwegian Deputy Foreign Minister Vidar Helgesen in October 2004.

Already in 2000 the first director of NCI, Dr. Stig Toft Madsen, in consultation with Mr. P. N. Malik who was the formerly Administrative Director of the Shastri Indian-Canadian Institute, explored the possibilities of establishing office space for Nordic researchers at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in Delhi. After NCI was founded the following year, it was decided to establish a residence for the Director in Nizamuddin East in New Delhi that could also be open to Nordic researchers and representatives of the member universities. With generous help from the Norwegian Embassy, amongst others, the flat was furnished. The residence of the Director has become a popular meeting place for Nordic researchers in New Delhi.

Over the years NCI has increased the organization with more members and developed its research and study activities on the Nordic and the Indian side. Among other things, NCI has established successful cooperation with University of Hyderabad (UoH), the Institute for Social and Economic Change in Bangalore (ISEC), and the International Institute of Population Sciences in Mumbai (IIPS) to jointly organize intensive training programs and summer courses that are tailor-made for Nordic students. NCI has also arranged several lectures and seminars on various topics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi and at other Indian universities. In cooperation with the Gandhian Institute of Studies in Varanasi, NCI organized a Hindi Study Program for students from the Nordic member universities from 2011. NCI has hosted several Nordic delegations visiting India as well as provided various kinds of research assistance to individual students, researchers and administrators from the member universities

Since its beginning NCI has developed into an important platform for research cooperation between its Nordic members and the Indian partner institutions. The increase of member universities and the large number of students and scholars taking part in the study and research activities organized by NCI demonstrate the need for such a platform.

Nordic Offices

2014 – : Umeå University, Sweden
2009 – 2013: University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus, Finland
2005 – 2009: Uppsala University, Sweden
2004 – 2005: University of Oslo, Norway
2001 – 2003: University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Chairpersons of The NCI Board

2014 –2016 : Dr. Rupali Bhalerao, Umeå University
2007 – 2013: Prof. Jussi Kauhanen, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus
2003 – 2007: Prof. Neelambar Hatti, Lund University
2001 – 2003: Dr. Peter B. Andersen, University of Copenhagen

Director of The NCI

2013 – 2014: Dr. Sirpa Tenhunen, University of Helsinki
2012 – 2013: Dr. Kristina Myrvold, Lund University
2006 – 2012: Dr. Mirja Juntunen, Stockholm University
2005 – 2006: Dr. Bengt G. Karlsson, Uppsala University
2003 – 2005: Dr. Arild Engelsen Ruud, University of Oslo
2002 – 2003: Dr. Anne Waldrop, Oslo University College
2002: Dr. Anne Waldrop, Oslo University College, and Prof. Pamela Price, University of Oslo
2001: Dr. Stig Toft Madsen, University of Copenhagen

Meetings of the NCI General Assembly


2016: University of Tampere, Finland
2015:University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2014:University of Gothenburg, Sweden
2013: University of Iceland, Iceland
2012: University of Bergen, Norway
2011: University of Eastern Finland,Kuopio Campus, Finland
2010: Umeå University, Sweden
2009: University of Aarhus, Denmark
2008: University of Iceland, Iceland
2007: University of Oslo, Norway
2006: University of Helsinki, Finland
2005: University of Uppsala, Sweden
2002: University of Copenhagen, Denmark

The Interim Working Group for Establishing NCI in 2001

Nordic members:
Dr. Peter B. Andersen, Copenhagen University, Denmark
Prof. Gunilla Gren-Eklund, Uppsala University, Sweden
Dr. Masud Hossain, Helsinki University, Finland
Dr. Stig Toft Madsen, Roskilde University Center, Denmark
Prof. Pamela G. Price, Oslo University, Norway

Indian representative:
Mr P.N. Malik, Consultant to Nordic Centre in India