Education Training and Capacity Building

Connecting STEM education organizations that leverage Arctic science.

Scope of activities

Successful Arctic research depends on knowledge acquisition and dissemination, and on a well-trained current and future workforce. In particular, education and outreach, training, and capacity building in and of the Arctic are fundamental to Arctic research, policy development, and community resilience. Research itself also provides opportunities to educate and train students and others, and thus build capacity where the research is taking place. Arctic education and training span preschool, K-12, post-secondary to post-doctoral, community culture-based instruction and learning, and intergenerational education, and is ongoing within the practicing research community. Education and training comprise varied knowledge systems, including scientific disciplines, place-based and Indigenous Knowledge, and skill acquisition such as grant writing, cultural practices, and technological expertise. Research informs education while at the same time education is foundational to research. Outreach is also vital in creating awareness of and knowledge about the Arctic to those within and beyond the region.

This team supports education and training across all priority areas. Given the wide range of agency research missions and the education and outreach programs supported by IARPC member federal agencies and non-federal partners, IARPC provides a unique service as a forum for connection and promotion of coordinated efforts. IARPC is also positioned to advance the inclusion of place-based and Indigenous Knowledge and learning in education and outreach, generating inclusive practices that enhance existing resource capacity. IARPC will elevate the profile of STEM education to bring a greater focus to the value and content of Arctic-specific education and training as well as ensure integration of uniquely Arctic efforts with national federal interagency STEM education strategic planning. Via such integration, Arctic research can strengthen STEM education more broadly within the United States and promote pan-Arctic and global connections and awareness. As an interagency body, IARPC can lead innovation of new education delivery models informed by and serving research and communities.

As research advances, education content and delivery mechanisms also evolve. To adequately support current and future research, Arctic STEM education must be forward-thinking and innovative, comprehensive of different knowledge systems, and relevant to the constant change of this environment. The student who emerges from such a system will be better prepared to serve future research, policy, and community needs. The aims of Arctic education efforts are to (1) strengthen and support existing scientific disciplinary expertise, (2) increase engagement of rural and Indigenous students in STEM education and community relevant training programs, (3) generate capacity building academic-workforce development opportunities (e.g., internship programs, mentoring opportunities), (4) enhance coordination among varied federal and non-federal partners, (5) expand education and outreach about the Arctic to the public and to decision-makers, and (6) create new, expanded delivery paradigms and content, such as research and learning experiences that explicitly address the pedagogical and experiential approach to complex systems and bringing together knowledge systems that are critical for advancing Arctic research.

The future workforce will continue to need the deep disciplinary expertise necessary to meet the missions of IARPC agencies. This workforce will also need to be effective in teams—not only holding disciplinary expertise but effectively connecting across different disciplines, and also across knowledge systems. These teams must also be composed of those with diverse demographic backgrounds. federal agencies must sustain and expand their own education and outreach programs to meet mission-specific research priorities and the growing need to support community-driven education and research. Building connections is also increasingly vital. Education programs will seek new opportunities for rural and Indigenous students that expand beyond traditional academic pathways. Arctic-relevant delivery models and outreach efforts will benefit from interweaving disciplinary academics and Indigenous Knowledge, humanities and arts, and explicit connections between knowledge systems and policy development and execution. Such frameworks can build capacity and connection in Arctic communities, support Arctic residents’ quality of life, and increase community viability and sustainability.

Team leaders

Lisa Rom

Kaja Brix
NOAA Fisheries, Alaska


Under the 2017-2021 Arctic Research Plan, the STEM Education team:

  • Developed a community of practice for STEM in the Arctic among federal program managers and practitioners, students, academia, community members, and others interested in advancing Arctic STEM, with particular emphasis on successes and opportunities for enhancing STEM education for rural and Indigenous students.
  • Established quarterly meetings of the federal and non-federal IARPC Arctic STEM working group and hosted presentations by Arctic STEM practitioners.
  • Initiated efforts to develop a ONE STEM hub as a nexus for activities in the Arctic.
  • Hosted a community-wide Arctic STEM workshop (federal, academic, community, students) to identify the opportunities and challenges of engaging rural and Indigenous youth and undergraduates in STEM education.
  • Liaised with the OSTP Committee on STEM Education (Co-STEM) to connect Arctic STEM efforts with federal STEM strategies

For a full summary of the Education team's accomplishments under the 2017-2021 Arctic Research Plan, see the 2021 Performance Element Summary Statements.