About IARPC and IARPC Collaborations

What is IARPC?

IARPC – pronounced eye-ar-pick – is the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee. By bringing together leaders from 16 agencies, departments, and offices across the U.S. federal government, we enhance research in the Arctic.

IARPC was created in 1984 under the Arctic Research and Policy Act of 1984 (ARPA). The act called for a comprehensive national policy focused on research needs and objectives in the Arctic. It established IARPC and our sibling organization, the Arctic Research Commission (USARC), to help implement the act.

In July 2010, a presidential memo established IARPC as an interagency working group of the National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) Committee on Environment. IARPC now reports directly to the Committee on Environment. The director of the National Science Foundation serves as IARPC’s chair.

What is IARPC Collaborations?

IARPC Collaborations is a platform that connects federal government researchers, non-federal researchers, and other stakeholders – including those overseas – to work together on pressing Arctic research issues. It is organized around the current five-year Arctic Research Plan.

IARPC Collaborations is free and open to anyone who can contribute, regardless of their role in Arctic research. The website has supported an unprecedented degree of interagency communication, coordination, and collaboration that has advanced Arctic science. Our member space includes more than 3,000 members of the Arctic research community, including those from federal, state, academic, non-profit, industry, Indigenous, and international organizations. Nine collaboration teams and additional self-formed teams meet monthly via Zoom to advance research priorities.

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caribou standing by a river

Danielle Brigida/USFWS

What does IARPC consider "the Arctic"?

Under the Arctic Research and Policy Act, the Arctic is defined as:

  1. All U.S. and foreign territory north of the Arctic Circle;
  2. All U.S. territory north and west of the boundary formed by the Porcupine, Yukon, and Kuskokwim rivers;
  3. All contiguous seas, including the Arctic Ocean and the Beaufort, Bering, and Chukchi seas; and
  4. The Aleutian chain.

What is the Arctic Research Plan?

Graphic of the organizational structure of Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021, including the intersection of Policy Drivers (gray arrows) with Research Goals (colored wedges) through Research Objectives (gray check symbols).

Every five years, IARPC creates a new five-year research plan. The plan is created in consultation with the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, the governor of the state of Alaska, residents of the Arctic, the private sector, and public interest groups.

The plan identifies critical areas where U.S. Arctic research supports U.S. policy, from community to global scales, and looks for areas where federal investment can be enhanced through interagency collaboration. The plan aims to advance knowledge and decision support for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. It is implemented in part through IARPC Collaborations.

The current Arctic Research Plan was released in December 2016 and focused on FY 2017-2021. The next plan (2022-2026) is currently being developed. More information – including how you can get involved – is available on our plan development webpage.

two researchers sampling meltwater from sea ice

Kathryn Hansen/NASA

Who is involved in IARPC?

As an interagency body, IARPC has several levels of staff and participants. IARPC is organized into Principals, Staff Group, the Secretariat, collaboration teams, and self-forming teams. Members of these groups often overlap.

Principals: The IARPC Principals include one policy-level member from 14 federal agencies responsible for the U.S. investment in research in the Arctic, as well as representatives from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget. The IARPC Principals meet annually to provide policy advice and direction. They also develop the five-year Arctic Research Plan, and sometimes direct the staff group to address particular issues.

Staff Group: The IARPC Staff Group includes program managers from the 14 federal IARPC agencies, and may include multiple representatives from one agency. It was created as an unofficial body to respond to directions from the principals and to complete IARPC’s day-to-day work. The assistant director for polar sciences in OSTP serves as executive director of IARPC and chairs the Staff Group. The Staff Group’s main tasks are organizing and coordinating the development and implementation of the five-year Arctic Research Plan.  

Secretariat: The Secretariat assists the IARPC principals, staff group, and collaboration teams in facilitating interagency coordination. It aids the implementation of the Arctic Research Plan by supplying hands-on support to IARPC collaboration teams.

Collaboration Teams: Collaboration teams were created by the staff group in 2013 to assist with the implementation of the current Arctic Research Plan. They enhance the implementation of the plan through research and community engagement, and are open to anyone wishing to advance knowledge about the Arctic. Collaboration teams include members from federal agencies, state of Alaska agencies, Indigenous communities and organizations, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and the private sectors. Collaboration teams are organized around the nine goals of the current Arctic Research Plan. They use the IARPC Collaborations website to communicate and meet monthly via Zoom.

Self-Forming Teams: While collaboration teams are organized specifically around the goals of the Arctic Research Plans, IARPC Collaborations provides space for researchers and other community members to organize around other important topics. Self-forming teams include:

  • Working groups: Groups that have been formed at the direction of the IARPC principals or staff group to perform a specific ongoing or short-term function. Examples include the STEM Education Working Group and the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group.
  • Action teams: Short-term (12 months or less) groups addressing a specific issue or concern – for example, the Bering Sea Action Team. Action teams may be federal-only to discuss pre-decisional material and do not have to have a presence on the IARPC Collaborations space.
  • Networks: Groups proposed by the Arctic research community who want to use the IARPC Collaborations website to build a community of interest around a topic and address specific issues. While they use the webinar capabilities of IARPC, they do not receive secretariat support. An example is the Physical Oceanography Self-Formed Team.
  • Forums: Research-community-generated groups that use the IARPC Collaborations website only for sharing information. They do not hold meetings, but they use the website to amplify their message or bring together a community of interest. Beyond their web presence, they do not receive secretariat support. An example is the Science Communication Forum.

What are the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic?

Researchers working in the Arctic have a responsibility to respect local and Indigenous cultures and knowledge and advance stewardship of the Arctic environment. The core Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic are:

  • Be Accountable
  • Establish Effective Communication
  • Respect Indigenous Knowledge and Cultures
  • Build and Sustain Relationships
  • Pursue Responsible Environmental Stewardship

Land Acknowledgement

The circumpolar Arctic is the contemporary home to many different Indigenous Peoples. As researchers and others who are working in or residing in the Arctic, we recognize these lands and waters as the mostly unceded traditional homelands of Indigenous Peoples. IARPC honors and recognizes the place-based knowledge of Arctic Indigenous Peoples and their ancestral and contemporary stewardship of their homelands.

(Adapted from Arctic Science Summit Week 2020)

Get Involved

IARPC Collaborations contains a member space where scientists and others involved in Arctic research can share knowledge and resources. All are welcome – Please request an account if you can contribute to our efforts!

Key Publications

Review publications related to IARPC's operations and accomplishments.

IARPC Executive Director

Larry Hinzman

IARPC Secretariat

Executive Secretary: Sara Bowden
Arctic Research Plan Development Director: Nikoosh Carlo
Arctic Research Plan Editor and Policy Analyst: Sorina Stalla
Web Manager & Community Coordinator: Liz Weinberg
Policy Analyst & Director of IARPC Collaboration Team Activities: Meredith LaValley
US AON Program Assistant: Hazel Shapiro
Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow: Andrew Villeneuve
Editor in Chief of the Arctic Research Plan 2017-2021 End-of-Plan Report: Max Showalter

Learn more about the IARPC Secretariat.

Request an account

Join scientists from Federal, State, academic, NGO, and industry organizations working to accelerate the progress of Arctic research.

Membership suggestions are subject to approval and adherence to the IARPC Collaborations codes of conduct.


Liz Weinberg
Web Manager & Community Coordinator
(503) 893-8910