How Can IARPC Develop More Effective Collaborations? Team Leaders Convene in Washington, D.C.

November 14, 2014
By Jessica Rohde

How can we facilitate more effective collaborations when team members reside in different agencies, sectors, and even countries? How can we engage stakeholders and external partners in order to build diverse collaboration networks? What organizational structure and communication tools can help us better accomplish our milestones?

Last week, IARPC spent four days dissecting these questions in a highly interactive, honest, and constructive series of workshops and meetings in Washington, DC. IARPC collaboration team leaders and secretariat convened on November 4-5 for a workshop on improving collaborations within and between IARPC collaboration teams. Additionally, team leaders met with the U.S. Representatives from the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) to discuss collaborative potential on November 5, and Simon Stephenson, Executive Director of IARPC, gave a presentation on IARPC at the Polar Research Board (PRB) meeting on November 6.

With the goal of looking to the future and reflecting on what might help IARPC improve our mission of implementing the IARPC 5-year Arctic Research Plan, the team leaders workshop utilized breakout group discussions and network visualization activities to encourage outside-the-box thinking. Team leaders defined the major obstacles impeding progress on the accomplishment of their milestones, and brainstormed organizational structures and tools that could help navigate around them. Themes included developing more diverse and engaged collaboration team networks, tapping into those networks to break down silos and synergize the work across the team, and developing more focused and actionable milestones linked to federal agency priorities. The team leaders will bring these new ideas and a sense of renewed enthusiasm to their next collaboration team meetings, and over the next 6-12 months, the IARPC secretariat will utilize the take-aways of this workshop to focus on improving support and tools for the IARPC collaboration teams.  A public summary of the team leaders workshop is being prepared for distribution in the near future.

The U.S. representatives to IASC joined the IARPC team leaders for a meet, greet, and collaboration brainstorm on the afternoon of November 5th. The five IASC working groups and 12 IARPC collaboration teams share many research goals, and are both eager to support each other in their endeavors. At this meeting, representatives agreed to establish communication mechanisms to enhance joint activities, including IASC representation on each IARPC collaboration team to report on international arctic research progress, and sharing of documents, events, and updates on the new IARPC Collaborations website.

The Polar Research Board invited IARPC Executive Director Simon Stephenson to give an update on IARPC activities at their November 6 meeting. Simon reviewed the role of IARPC within the U.S. federal Arctic research enterprise including our work connecting the many federal agencies on arctic research topics. Major accomplishments reviewed included successful workshops, data products, and networks produced by our collaboration teams and the rollout of the new IARPC Collaborations website. Simon invited the PRB, its affiliates, and anyone with an interest in federally sponsored arctic research to participate in the website; the IARPC Collaborations member space is a tool that brings together scientists, stakeholders, and funders to share knowledge, coordinate their efforts, and accelerate the pace of arctic research. We want to harness talent from everywhere possible--can you contribute your expertise? Please request an account and join the conversation.

Request an account

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

Membership in IARPC Collaborations is subject to approval and adherence to the codes of conduct.


Sara Bowden, IARPC Executive Secretary
(703) 447-7828

Please direct website questions to Jessica Rohde, Web Manager, at