About Licensing Research

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Aurora Research Institute will continue to accept research licence applications. We request that all researchers submit research plans and protocols that are compliant with the current COVID-19 directions of the Chief Public Health Officer of the Northwest Territories.

The NWT CPHO advisories for updated COVID-19 information and travel directives can be found at https://www.gov.nt.ca/covid-19/

If you have any questions about this message or about the NWT research licensing process, please contact us at licence@nwtresearch.com


All research in the Northwest Territories must be licensed. This includes work in indigenous knowledge as well as in the physical, health, social and biological sciences. Research license applications are submitted through the POLAR system. If you are planning to do research in the NWT, it is your responsibility to ensure that the relevant permits, licenses and permissions are obtained before you begin. Through the licensing process, information about your work is shared with other researchers, NWT residents and it is added to our scientific database.

Communicating with communities is a vital part of the research licensing process in the North, and it is your responsibility to ensure that you’ve communicated with community organizations about your project. Certain research licences or permits will not be issued if appropriate communication with the community has not taken place. The level of involvement, and which community organization(s) you need to contact, will depend on the type, scope, location and potential impacts of your research. For guidance on establishing effective and respectful communication with communities, see our web resources for Communicating Research.

For some very basic guidelines to assist in determining what licences and/or permits that you will require please consider the following:

  1. If your research will involve studies on any species of terrestrial vertebrates or invertebrates view information for the Wildlife Research Permit.
  2. If your research will involve studies in archaeology view information for Archaeologists Permit.
  3. Research that does not fall under the Wildlife or Archaeologist legislation requires a Scientific Research Licence which is administered by the Aurora Research Institute (ARI).
  4. If your research will involve health, contaminants, fisheries or access to private lands you will need a Scientific Research Licence and there will likely be other regulatory requirements.

For more information contact:

The Scientific Services Office
P.O. Box 1450, Inuvik, NT, X0E 0T0
Phone: (867) 777-3298
Fax: (867) 777-4264
E-mail: license@nwtresearch.com