Building resilient Arctic science amid the COVID-19 pandemic
This comment looks forward to how Arctic science could be conducted in the future and during the COVID-19 pandemic.
My daily job is to serve as President of the University of the Arctic (UArctic). UArctic is a network of universities, colleges, research institutes, and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North. UArctic builds and strengthens collective resources and infrastructures that enable member institutions to better serve their constituents and their regions. UArctic has grown to a membership organisation with more than 200 Higher Education Institutions from the circumpolar north and beyond, presently 20 countries. The members of UArctic carry out concrete cooperation in Education and Research in and for the Arctic through UArctic’s some 60 Thematic Networks and Institutes as well as other forms of cooperation. The networks engage about 700 researchers who carry out a large number of education and research initiatives. UArctic – a “university without walls” – is based on the Arctic Council Ministerial declaration in 1998.
I have had the pleasure to take part in the journey of developing the University of the Arctic (UArctic) since May 2002 as a GRID-Arendal employee. Before joining the UArctic team, I was the Polar Programme Manager for GRID-Arendal, the UNEP Key Polar Centre, which amongst other gave me the opportunity to work closely with Indigenous Peoples Organisations of the Arctic and be part of the early development of the Arctic Council and its predecessor. I served as head of unit for GIS and visual communication unit at GRID-Arendal in the early days of GRID (1991-1995). I also was fortunate to be central in the initiation, and early development of the GRID shelf program, that assisted some 60 developing states in their work preparing for their claim for extended continental shelf (1998-2005). This later enabled the broad and impressive Marine competence profile of GRID Arendal.
My background is in Precambrian Geology and Isotope Geochemistry, geostatistics, petroleum resource assessments, as well as assessments of the Arctic environment. My work at GRID and with UArctic has led to Honorary Professorship at North Eastern Federal University (Yakutsk) and Honorary Doctor at Northern Arctic Federal University (Arkhangelsk).
I serve on the boards of Centre for Coastal Research, Agder University (http://coastalresearch.uia.no/ ) and Arendal International School (http://www.aischool.no/ ) for GRID-Arendal, and I represent UArctic on the Advisory board of Arctic Circle (http://www.arcticcircle.org/) and Arctic Frontiers (https://www.arcticfrontiers.com/) and board of amongst others the Geographical Society of Norway (http://www.geografisk.no/), International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry (http://reindeerherding.org/), and Sustaining Arctic Observations (SAON).