Sustainable Economies and Livelihoods Collaboration Team

Observing and understanding the Arctic’s natural, social, and built systems to promote sustainable economies and livelihoods.

Scope of Activities

Arctic communities and ecosystems are experiencing change at an unprecedented rate—from loss of permafrost and coastal erosion to shifting demographics and economic uncertainty. Such rapid changes present challenges for built systems, natural resource management, food security, and Indigenous ways of life, all critical to the well-being and security of the Arctic, its residents, and our nation as a whole. Sustainable economies and livelihoods require both fundamental and actionable research to support informed decision-making building upon an enhanced understanding of the Arctic's natural, social, and built systems.

Arctic marine, freshwater, and terrestrial ecosystems provide critical natural resources from subsistence foods to fisheries of global economic importance. Changes in sea surface temperatures, contaminant levels, and migration patterns affect fish, marine mammal, and seabird populations, as well as Arctic residents who depend on these species. Changes to Arctic ecosystems also impact state, national, and global economies by affecting global shipping, access to natural resources, and fish and seafood stocks. Maintenance of healthy and productive ecosystems requires research to establish baseline data, understand the sources and impacts of observed change, understand the critical role of subsistence in sustainable economies and livelihoods, and inform management decisions so Arctic residents may enjoy food, energy, and livelihood security.

Community well-being and security also depend on reliable infrastructure, including roads, airstrips, bridges, and harbor and port facilities; energy, water, and telecommunication systems; and housing, education, healthcare, and local and national security facilities. However, building and maintaining Arctic infrastructure is expensive and logistically complex. These built systems require monitoring and maintenance to meet current demand, and research to inform adaptation to future environmental, demographic, and geopolitical shifts. Current areas of concern include poorly constructed and maintained roads, airstrips, and waste sites and systems; inadequate housing; lack of access to clean water; and maintenance backlogs at educational and healthcare facilities. To respond effectively, federal and state agencies and other decision-makers need research to provide accurate, up-to-date data on existing facilities, assessments of future needs, and decision-support tools to design and construct systems capable of supporting local and regional economies and mitigating the impacts of future climate change on critical infrastructure. Research to support the development of renewable, low-cost energy technologies, for example, is needed to offset the unreliable and high-cost systems currently in place in many communities and to address climate and health issues associated with current dependence on petroleum products.

Over the next five years, coordinated federal action will facilitate effective observation and understanding of Arctic natural, social, and built systems and the challenges these systems face within the context of rapid climate change. Basic and applied research informed by community priorities, such as food and energy security, healthy fisheries and marine mammal populations, and inclusion in federal marine transportation policy planning can address critical challenges to livelihoods and infrastructure. Such research can also inform planning and management decision-making on critical resources such as petroleum, economic minerals, and commercial fisheries.


Deliverables from the Arctic Research Plan

1.2 Address emerging threats to food safety and access, as well as food and nutrition security in the Arctic, through research that addresses how climate and environmental change is affecting the abundance, accessibility, and use of traditional foods and traditional ways of life.

  • 1.2.6 Assess and model changes in abundance, distribution, and harvest of select marine mammals and fishes that are food sources in rural Alaska.

2.3 Understand interactions between social, ecological, and physical Arctic systems, particularly in the context of coastal, climate, and cryospheric change.

  • 2.3.4 Integrate information from field, laboratory, and remote sensing studies to examine and quantify relationships among surface topography, vegetation composition, hydrology, disturbance effects (including fire, thermokarst, land use change, and wildlife), geophysical processes in permafrost soils, and humans. Share results in reports, presentations, and scientific publications.

DATA 1 Encourage and implement FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable) and CARE (Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics) data management principles in the Arctic.

  • DATA 1.1 Identify verified points of contact (e.g., agency champions, data practitioners, Arctic residents, Indigenous organizations) and their areas of expertise and interests for working with the data team on exploring and implementing FAIR and CARE in Arctic data management. As part of developing the points of contact, identify and track representation across many axes of diversity (demographics, disciplines/sectors, IARPC experience, career stage, and others) to ensure a diverse and representative group of contributors. The data team will check in with these groups regularly to ensure the points of contact are up to date.
  • DATA 1.3 Based on input from engagement activities, develop and update centralized documentation of thematic areas of interest, ongoing activities, and key documents and resources that can inform deliverables and future Biennial Implementation Plans.
  • DATA 1.4 Convene quarterly seminars, discussions, and training on FAIR and CARE data management in the Arctic. Ensure a diverse group of presenters and contributors are represented in these activities.
  • DATA 1.5 Develop a common format and structure (e.g., questions, prompts) for team meetings to help elicit and articulate perspectives on all aspects of FAIR and CARE to help work towards the community summary/synthesis products below.
  • DATA 1.6 Develop a summary document of perspectives on implementing FAIR and CARE in Arctic contexts.
  • DATA 1.7 Based on the summaries mentioned in DATA 1.6, develop concise (i.e., one-pager) public-facing documents on data management considerations to align with FAIR and CARE principles.

EDU 1 Develop a ONE STEM hub.

  • EDU 1.1 Establish a ONE STEM hub.
  • EDU 1.2 Provide access to STEM internships, skill development opportunities, and career pathways for those living in and/or with interest in the Arctic, in particular for rural and Indigenous communities.
  • EDU 1.3 Engage in ongoing and respectful dialogue with communities about education, training, and capacity building needs. Document feedback.
  • EDU 1.4 Use quarterly meetings to build the STEM Education team into a robust community that supports promotion of STEM careers and skills for rural and Indigenous students.

MOMP 1 Coordinate activities and communities of practice that bring together Arctic modeling, observing, monitoring, and prediction to advance Arctic research.

  • MOMP 1.2 Support development of metrics that measure key Arctic processes and implementation of these metrics in benchmarking packages to facilitate model validation against observations.

MOMP 2 Support assessment, gaps analysis, and intercomparisons to understand observational and modeling needs in Arctic research.

  • MOMP 2.1 Develop an online tool for the research community to support expert elicitation and data visualization for the value tree gaps analysis methodology.
  • MOMP 2.4 Conduct workshops to identify Arctic modeling needs and priorities across research and operational modeling communities.
  • MOMP 2.5 Publish observing report tasked to the United States Arctic Observing Network (US AON) Board via IARPC.

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.

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.


To be added in 2023.