Founded in 2006, the High Arc­tic Insti­tute takes over a long his­tory of Pere­grine Fal­con and Gyr­fal­con research first started in Green­land in 1972.  In addi­tion to con­tin­u­ing to work with fal­cons, the High Arc­tic Insti­tute has branched out to work with other species of birds, and in some capac­ity cur­rently works with nearly every bird species found in the Thule area, north­west Greenland.

Long-term research on Pere­grine Fal­cons and Gyr­fal­cons was first begun in 1972 in the Kanger­lus­suaq area, central-west Green­land, by Bill Mat­tox and the Green­land Pere­grine Fal­con Sur­vey.  Research con­tin­ued in this area unin­ter­rupted until the late 1990s.  In the mid-1970s, research was briefly expanded to the Disko Bay area and south­east Greenland.

To the far north­west of Green­land, in the Thule area, The Pere­grine Fund began study­ing both species of fal­cons in 1993.  In 1998, at the request of Bill Mat­tox and the Green­land Pere­grine Fal­con Sur­vey, The Pere­grine Fund also took over lead­er­ship of all fal­con research in the Kanger­lus­suaq area.  The Pere­grine Fund con­tin­ued to expand its research Green­land from 2000 to 2005, with projects occur­ring in the Man­nit­soq, Uum­man­naq, and Scores­by­sund areas.  In the fall of 2006 The Pere­grine Fund made the deci­sion to cease all oper­a­tions in Greenland.

With the deci­sion made to stop work­ing in Green­land, The Pere­grine Fund’s Arc­tic Projects Direc­tor, Kurt Burn­ham, approached The Pere­grine Fund with the idea that he would cre­ate a new not-for-profit orga­ni­za­tion, the High Arc­tic Insti­tute, to con­tinue research in Green­land.  Kurt had been work­ing in Green­land for all of his adult life and was in the process of com­plet­ing his D.Phil. at the Uni­ver­sity of Oxford in the United King­dom, with his dis­ser­ta­tion focus­ing on both Gyr­fal­con and Pere­grine Fal­con pop­u­la­tions in Green­land.  This was an amaz­ing oppor­tu­nity and would allow Kurt to pur­sue his life­long dream: to con­tinue study­ing fal­cons Green­land while at the same time branch­ing out to work with new species.  Peter Jenny, Pres­i­dent of The Pere­grine Fund, sup­ported the cre­ation of the High Arc­tic Insti­tute by trans­fer­ring own­er­ship of all field equip­ment, boats, and trucks in Green­land the High Arc­tic Insti­tute.  We kindly thank Mr. Jenny and The Pere­grine Fund for their sup­port and for help­ing us to get where we are today.