NSF Arctic-FROST Research Network: First year in Review

December 2, 2014
By Jessica Rohde

The National Science Foundation (NSF) recently awarded a five-year Research Coordination Network (RCN) Science, Engineering and Education for Sustainability (SEES) grant to the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) for support of the project entitled "RCN-SEES Arctic-FROST: Arctic FRontiers Of SusTainability: Resources, Societies, Environments and Development in the Changing North." Under the direction of Dr. Andrey Petrov, Arctic-FROST is based at the UNI Arctic Social and Environmental Systems Research (ARCSES) center. 

Arctic-FROST is an international, interdisciplinary, and collaborative network of environmental and social scientists, local educators, and community members from all circumpolar countries. Its primary purpose is to enable and mobilize research on sustainable Arctic development. The network aims to support improved health, human development, and well being of Arctic communities while conserving ecosystem structures, functions and resources. The intellectual goal of the project is to contribute to conceptual, applied, and educational aspects of Arctic sustainability science by supporting the dissemination of knowledge and exchange of methodologies across the four Arctic-FROST themes: sustainable regions, economies, cultures, and environments. 

Arctic-FROST Annual Meeting participants pose with Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell (far right), Anchorage, September 19th 2014

Arctic-FROST Annual Meeting participants pose with Alaska Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell (far right), Anchorage, September 19th 2014

Photo courtesy of A. Petrov

Membership in Arctic-FROST is open to anyone with interests in sustainability and sustainable development in the Arctic. Since its inception in September 2013, the network has attracted approximately 250 members from the 20 countries including all Arctic jurisdictions with 55% coming from the U.S., 29% from Europe and Russia, and 15% from Canada. Alongside seasoned academics and community members more than half of the RCN members are early career scholars or graduate students. The network also involves Indigenous scholars and members of underrepresented groups.

The network has an extensive plan of activities for 2014-2018 consisting of annual meetings, early career scholar workshops, community workshops, the first Arctic Sustainability Education Forum in 2018, and multiple smaller theme-based conferences throughout each year.

Arctic-FROST members are committed to deliver a number of key products, including two edited volumes devoted to sustainable development in the Arctic, a textbook on Arctic sustainability, other educational materials, academic publications, and a research plan for Arctic sustainability science for the next decade. The initial version of this plan will be presented at the Third International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP III) on April 23-30, 2015, where Arctic-FROST is co-organizing two panels. 

Arctic-FROST actively collaborates with other research networks and organizations, such as Resources and Sustainable Development in the Arctic (ReSDA), Research Coordination Network in Arctic Urban Sustainability, International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), International Arctic Social Sciences Association (IASSA), Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), and others. 

Information on how to become an Arctic-FROST member is available at www.uni.edu/arctic/frost.

For more information about Arctic-FROST, contact Andrey Petrov (andrey.petrov@uni.edu).

Posted by Jessica Rohde on behalf of Andrey N. Petrov, Associate Professor of Geography and Director, ARCSES Laboratory, University of Northern Iowa.

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