Field Operations Community of Practice

Coordinating and collaborating among organizations supporting field operations and campaigns to collect Arctic data

Scope of Activities

The Field Operations Working Group is reconstituted to facilitate coordination across federal agencies supporting fieldwork in the Arctic. The working group coordinates infrastructure resources and communications with local communities, promotes environmental compliance, and facilitates international access to field operations information and collaborations. The Field Operations Working Group promotes federal interagency cooperation by encouraging discussions and initiatives within and between Indigenous organizations, the state of Alaska, and local, national, and international Arctic research and logistic communities. Following the model of other interagency working groups, the Field Operations Working Group promotes collaboration by convening Arctic logistics resource and program managers to hold regular discussions about logistic needs, ideas, challenges, opportunities, best practices, and progress. The working group coordinates with other IARPC teams and efforts under the Arctic Research Plan to develop synergies and advance the goals of the plan.

Many of the Field Operations Working Group’s activities are federal-only. NSF and NOAA co-chair the group’s federal operations.

Non-federal members may join the Field Operations Working Group via the IARPC Collaborations website to stay informed about meetings, field operations concerns and other activities. At least twice per year, the Field Operations Working Group holds open meetings where individuals outside of federal organizations may join. As needed, sub-groups may be formed to work on specific activities.

Working Group Tasks

    • Maintain a regularly updated compilation of research expedition information.
    • Consider mechanisms (e.g., IARPC Collaborations, Arctic Research Mapping Application (ARMAP)) to enhance, maintain, and share a research vessel matrix.
    • Develop ways to effectively communicate research activity in the region, and to make it more accessible for multiple end-users, especially Indigenous and local communities.
    • Develop an approach for collecting and sharing information about aircraft deployments, uncrewed vehicles, and terrestrial field campaigns.
    • Serve as an organizing center for communication about field operations. The working group will not be a dispute resolution center.
    • Host pre- and post-season research cruise meetings with agencies and principal investigators or their representatives engaging in research during the research season to facilitate collaborations, exchange of information, and sharing of initial results.
    • Review and evaluate outreach efforts to ensure they are meeting the needs of federal agencies, the research community, and Indigenous and local communities where the research is being conducted.
    • Seek opportunities to collaborate on data acquisition, and on developing technology and operational capabilities.
    • Seek opportunities to share logistical platforms and promote environmental compliance.
    • Collect and develop information to share with the international Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO) at their annual meeting.
    • Meet on a quarterly basis and report to the IARPC Staff Group as needed (federal members only).

Products and Deliverables

This list of products and deliverables may be modified by agencies over time and items will be phased in as agencies and Secretariat are able.

    • Research vessel season overview
    • Research aircraft/UAV overview (to come)
    • Research field work overview (to come)
    • Public summary reports of agency field and research operations (to come)

Team Leaders

Renee Crain (Wagner)
Arctic Research Support & Logistics (Website)

David Allen
NOAA, GOMO/ Arctic Research Program (Website)

Alie Lepp
NOAA Global Ocean Monitoring and Observing (Website)

Katy Smith

Deliverables from the Arctic Research Plan

2.2 Observe, understand, predict, and project Arctic ecosystem change and its impacts on humans and the entire Earth system.

  • 2.2.4 Continue coordinated interdisciplinary Arctic marine climate and ecosystem observations, and share data and promote synthesis of field observations.

4.1 Summarize currently available data and information requirements associated with hazard and risk mitigation, adaptation, and response efforts. Synthesize community-led activities and information to identify potential needs for future efforts.

  • 4.1.1 Conduct a study identifying where information used in decision-making and planning can be improved through access to new or additional data sources. This study should consider a wide range of activities associated with ongoing responses to common and emerging hazards, including risk reduction efforts and emergency preparedness and response.
  • 4.1.2 Share findings of deliverable 4.1.1 as a means (1) to spur additional research and science communication aimed at addressing unmet needs for planning, prevention, response, and recovery and (2) to inform time-sensitive decision-making and planning processes.

4.2 Update and improve the “Statewide Threat Assessment: Identification of Threats from Erosion, Flooding, and Thawing Permafrost in Remote Alaska Communities.”

  • 4.2.1 Undertake a study to identify the top 10 threats/hazards to communities and critical remote state and Federal government infrastructure in the state of Alaska that should be included in the Statewide Threat Assessment. This might include coastal and river erosion, flooding, thawing permafrost, and changes in the seasonal snowpack.
  • 4.2.2 Upon completion of 4.2.1, establish a data collection and collation plan to include mechanisms to collect threat/hazard data that may not be readily available.
  • 4.2.3 Collect and integrate disparate threat/hazard information and perform modeling and analysis to understand where natural and human-made threats and hazards pose a risk to Arctic communities.

MOMP 3 Support coordination and engagement with Federal, international, and non-Federal partners who are conducting monitoring, observing, modeling, and prediction of the Arctic.

  • MOMP 3.2 Coordinate communication of information about field activities to Alaska communities where the research is being conducted through the research expedition vessel status tracker and spring and fall reports on research season activities.

MOMP 4 Support best practices in field observations and modeling.

  • MOMP 4.1 Build on existing efforts within Federal agencies to share resources and implement best practices for improving field safety culture, diversity, and inclusivity, and enforcing safe working environments in the field, including both physical safety while working in harsh and remote Arctic environments and emotional safety from harassment and hostile working conditions.

PILR 1 Fulfill Federal requirement to consult with Federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Corporations.

  • PILR 1.1 Create a best practices document on meaningful consultation and engagement on Arctic research with Alaska Indigenous communities that is applicable to all Federal agencies.
  • PILR 1.2 Evaluate the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic 2018, and update as needed based on the evaluation.
  • PILR 1.3 Develop and deliver training for agencies to implement the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic.

PILR 2 Engage Arctic communities and individuals in research in a way that is meaningful to them.

  • PILR 2.1 Create a training toolkit for scientists that can be self-guided and used as needed. Topics may include cross-cultural communication, consultation, participatory research, Indigenous Knowledge, overview of Indigenous culture groups, formal agreements, and how to contract and consult with Indigenous companies and individuals.
  • PILR 2.2 Create a report of examples where IARPC member agencies have engaged Indigenous Knowledge holders in research.
  • PILR 2.3 Request that each Priority Area Collaboration Team host regular meetings that meaningfully engage with Indigenous leaders, groups, and/or communities. This includes developing a list of contacts to support requests for engagement or tracking engagement with Indigenous participation.
  • PILR 2.4 Analyze and develop a report on broader impacts of science/research teams on Indigenous health and resilience.
  • PILR 2.5 Hold interagency meetings/workshops to identify mechanisms for Federal agencies to effectively communicate science plans and findings among themselves and with communities.

PILR 3 Develop guidance for agencies to consistently apply participatory research and Indigenous leadership in research.

  • PILR 3.1 Co-define “Indigenous leadership in research” with Tribes, Indigenous organizations, and Federal agencies; and integrate into the Principles for Conducting Research in the Arctic and its training toolkit and best practices documents.
  • PILR 3.2 Hold interagency meetings/workshops to identify methods to streamline contracting/agreements and compensation processes to make co-stewardship and co-production in research more equitable and achievable.
  • PILR 3.3 Convene discussions to identify mechanisms to foster equitable pathways for Indigenous leadership in research.
  • PILR 3.4 Identify best practices for Federal agencies to support capacity for Tribes and Indigenous Knowledge holders in research. Distribute guidance on best practices to IARPC agencies.
  • PILR 3.5 Ensure consistent terminology for Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and Local Knowledge for IARPC. Suggest primary language for IARPC be Indigenous Knowledge.


Under the 2017-2021 Arctic Research Plan, the Field Operations Community of Practice:

  • Held meetings before and after field seasons to inform the research community and Arctic communities about field expeditions.
  • Maintained the research expeditions tracker to inform the research community and Arctic communities about field expeditions.