UArctic unites about 180 research-focused universities, colleges and institutes covering the entire Circumpolar North, as well as key institutions in the observer states. See the full list of UArctic member institutions.

The Arctic and Circumpolar North have gained a dramatic increase in global attention by policy-makers and industry due to several important topics, including climate change and resource competition. International Arctic research collaboration has existed since the 19th century and, irrespectively of political conditions, has grown visibly over the last decades through initiatives such as the International Polar Year, the research community, including UArctic, and activities and meetings of Arctic Council, translated in national research priority strategies for Arctic research.

Based on the above mentioned developments, the growing university network and scale of research data, UArctic decided to form an international Research Analytics Task Force, which has resulted in the UArctic Science & Research Analytics Institute. The idea of the Task Force was created as an outcome of discussion at the UArctic Rectors' Forum, hosted by Umeå University in the summer of 2015.