Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

News from and about the wider APECS Network. If you have an article to contribute, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or submit via our reporting forms for APECS National Committees

Winner of the APECS Canada-ASA Mentor Award 2016 - Joel McAlister

Joel McAlister, Environment and Natural Resource Technology Senior Instructor at Aurora College, won the 2016 APECS Canada-ArcticNet Student Association Mentor Award.

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Photo by Aurora College

Joel was nominated by both peers and students. When the Mentor Award Committee hosted its conference call in early November, it was a challenge to determine the 2016 winner – all nominations were tremendous! Out of nine highly qualified candidates, Joel was distinguished based largely on his deep connections to community – he is certainly greatly invested in the community of Aurora College and the larger Inuvik region!

Joel had close to two dozen letters of support from past and current students, all of whom identified his unwavering commitment to supporting and engendering his student’s learning process. Of note is Joel’s continued work in ensuring that traditional Indigenous ways of knowing guide the endeavours of western science researchers across Inuvialuit and Gwitch’in territories. Joel practices his mentorship under the guidance of the community, and his humility and respect for other knowledges is commendable. Congratulations, Joel!


Photo by Mike Sudoma

At the 2016 ArcticNet ASM banquet in Winnipeg, Joel accepted his award. Award Committee members Kate Snow, Jen Lalonde, and Rudy Riedlsperger were on hand to introduce the winner to the hundreds of scientists, academics, and researchers present. One of Joel’s prior students and current colleague and friend, Sarah Beattie, participated in creating a slide show and video about the great things Joel has been involved in. Look here for the video.

We would like to send a HUGE thank you to all of those who helped contribute to Joel’s win, as well as all of those who worked hard to ensure that the other eight mentors had been nominated. Thank you!!

A new Call for Nominations for the 2017 Mentor Award will be circulated in April, 2017.

For the 2016 Awards Committee,

Marney Paradis

Chair, 2016 APECS Canada-ASA Award Committee

Arctic Frontiers Science for Schools: Students impress early career scientists

During the annual Arctic Frontiers 2017 conference in Tromsø (Norway), APECS and the Nordnorsk Vitensenter Tromsø (Science Centre of Northern Norway) organized a unique event for schools to learn about Arctic science. Over the course of three days, 13-18 year old students from a number of schools attended diverse presentations by early career scientists from all over the world.

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Photo: The Nordnorsk Vitensenter at the University of Tromsø was the place chosen for the Science for Schools event (Photo by Sara Aparício). On the right, from top to bottom some of this year’s early career presenting scientists: Dennis Fink, Karley Campbell, Jennifer King and Peter Leopold (Photos by Mar Fernández-Méndez).

This year, students also presented posters of their independent research projects that they had been working on for months leading up to the event. This was a highlight of the Science for Schools event as despite their young age, many of the students had created very high quality posters. Their level of understanding of complex problems such as pollution of the ocean by chemicals and plastics, the potential impacts of climate warming on the country’s fishing industry, and ecosystem response to environmental change was impressive. Furthermore, students associated these concerns with their lifestyles and often had ideas about potential avenues for positive change and this gave us all hope that there is a brighter future ahead.

Here are some of the impressions of the early career scientists that participated in this outreach event.

  • Karley Campbell (PhD candidate on sea ice biology at the University of Manitoba, Canada): “It was an opportunity to share my love of science, teach students about important topics such as climate change and engage with youth who live in the North. It was refreshing to see creativity applied to common scientific ideas in student posters through catchy titles, innovative research projects and interesting poster designs.
  • Alexey Pavlov (Postdoc on ocean optics at the Norwegian Polar Institute): “I am glad to see that education of youth is one of the priorities at the Arctic Frontiers conference. I am always happy to share my knowledge and experience with school kids, it’s always fun and rewarding. I have done it for the past two years, and will do it again in the future.
  • Jennifer King (Postdoc on sea ice physics at the Norwegian Polar Institute): “It’s always a pleasure to get out of the office and share our science with different audiences. I was blown away by how engaged the students were with the topic and how much effort they had put into their preparations for it.
  • Ioanna Merkouriadi (Postdoc on snow physics at the Norwegian Polar Institute): “I was definitely impressed by the students’ engagement and their overall level, in both science and English language skills. I also very much enjoyed interacting with them and I would definitely do this again in the future.
  • Hanna Kauko (PhD candidate on sea ice bio-optics at the Norwegian Polar Institute): “It was great to be involved and get to interact with school youth – I was impressed about the quality of the posters, and happy about their interest for polar environmental issues.
  • Sara Aparício (Trainee on earth observation data analyst at the European Space Agency): “I have been part of the Arctic Frontiers’ Science for School event for three years now, and each year I never fail to get even more impressed. This year was the most difficult to find the winning poster. Overall, the content and poster structure had a great level of quality, and I must say that I found the themes quite interesting. The students showed interest on their research, and you could tell during the poster presentation, that they had conducted further research to deepen their knowledge on the topic. In addition, their English is amazing and a good asset for their future, in case they pursue a scientific career. Hats off also for their teachers who are also behind the great success of Science for Schools.
  • Dennis Fink (CEO of the science communication company Mediomix): “The Arctic Frontiers 2017 conference was the first time that I joined a "Science for Schools" project and that I had the opportunity to share my passion of science communications with school kids of different age. When I presented my work on marine bacteria they got really interested in the topic and engaged with me. But what really impressed me were the conversations I had with the kids during their poster presentations. All of them managed to prepare not only comprehensive posters but they were also able to stand in front of it and share what they've learned with the audience. Many of them showed real passion, some even more than I've seen from "real" scientists when they present their work on conferences. I had many good conversations and also learned myself things I didn't know before (e.g. about the tourism on Svalbard). It was a great event and I hope that those kids will keep their passion for science and one day, become scientists themselves.

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Photo: Upper two photos show the students presenting their posters to the early career judges (Photos by Mar Fernández-Méndez). The lower photo shows the poster award presentation (Photo by Dennis Fink).

This year’s overall poster winner titled An Ocean of Problems from the science class of Kongsbakken School, discussed an experiment that they had performed about the effects of ocean acidification on mussels. The judges agree that the highlight of this poster, in addition to the clear layout and informative text, was the enthusiastic discussion about why their experiment hadn’t worked. This level of critical thinking is impressive and represents good training for those choosing to become scientists in the future! We can now be sure that at least they have acquired skills in communication and the utilization of the scientific method that will help them in whichever career path they choose. We look forward to next years challenges.

See you next year!
Mar Fernández-Méndez and the APECS-Arctic Frontiers team

Arctic Frontiers Science for Politics: The future is yours, young politicians ... go for it!

Two of the early career researchers, Megan O'Sadnick (Research Scientist at Norut Narvik) and Mar Fernández-Méndez (Postdoctoral researcher at the Norwegian Polar Institute) had the opportunity during the Arctic Frontiers 2017 Science for Politics event, organized by the Science Centre of Northern Norway (Nordnorsk Vitensenter Tromsø) in cooperation with Arctic Frontiers and APECS to speak with students from Tromsø who are interested in becoming politicians about the interaction between science and politics.

We discussed topics such as the possibility of oil spills in the ice-covered Arctic Ocean and the importance of an appropriate interaction between politicians and scientists. A much-needed discussion in our current world political situation. The young politicians learned that even things that are apparently not related to climate change, such as piracy in the waters of Somalia, are actually triggered by depletion of fish stock populations in those seas. They also took good note on the advices to double check facts posted on social networks before sharing them further, and to surround themselves by people who base their statements on peer-reviewed knowledge. We hope that when these students make it into politics, whether it be with the Norwegian government or elsewhere, they will draw upon some of the things they learned from this event. After all, they are the ones who might transform the future into a better place.

 Mar Fernández-Méndez and the APECS-Arctic Frontiers team

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Photo: Young politicians with early career scientists Megan and Mar at the end of their presentations (Photo by Hanne Sofie Roaldsen).

APECS-Arctic Frontiers Panel Discussion: Which career path would you like to follow?

During the Arctic Frontiers 2017 Conference in Tromsø Norway, APECS organized a panel discussion on 25 January about different career paths in Arctic science, inside and outside academia. The panelists represented various career possibilities: Bodil Bluhm is a professor at UiT The Arctic University of Norway; Katrin Bluhm works as a coordinator of the science part of Arctic Frontiers at Akvaplan-niva; Lawrence Hislop works with science management in Climate and Cryosphere project (CliC); and Dennis Fink facilitates science communication through his company Mediomix. Following introductions, the audience posed questions, and the experiences, choices, and random encounters that led to these positions were discussed.

Some take-home-messages from the panel include:

  • Be persistent! Don’t give up with your goal, but be determined e.g. in seeking contact with future employers.
  • Manage your online presence well (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter..etc).
  • Build yourself a diverse toolbox (e.g. software skills, various work experience) and be active also outside the direct study path.

The panel recording can be accessed here or in the APECS webinar archive to give many more early-career researchers the opportunity to benefit from it.

Mar Fernández-Méndez and the APECS-Arctic Frontiers team

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Photo: Expand your frontiers career path panel organized by APECS. (Photos by Mar Fernández-Méndez).

"And the winner is ..." - Nansen Poster Awards for early career scientists at the Arctic Frontiers 2017

The Oceans Future reception during Arctic Frontiers 2017 in Tromsø Norway was held at the Scandic Ishavshotel on 26th of January 2017 after an intense poster session with vivid discussions. Thanks to the voluntary help of 20 judges, the 50 posters presented by early career scientists were evaluated to determine the ‘Nansen award’ winners for each topical part as well as one overall winner. Part I was about Bridging physical and biological processes; Part II was about Pushing back the Frontiers: New approaches, new technologies, and new insights; Part III about Future Fisheries, and Part IV about Managing risks in policymaking and the law. Part III and IV were merged into one category. It was a tough decision with tight scoring due to the high quality of the posters that were presented. Award winners were acknowledged with a diploma and a voucher to attend the next Arctic Frontiers conference during the awards ceremony, which was presented by Hanna Kauko and Mar Fernández-Méndez and the charismatic presence of Prof. Jan-Marcin Weslawski (IOPAS, Poland). At the end of the evening, Gerlis Fugmann (APECS Executive Director) arrived at the venue directly from a meeting in Iceland to join the celebration of the prizes.

Winners of the 2017 Nansen Awards were:

  • Overall winner: Katalin Blix (UiT Arctic University of Norway) for the poster “Monitoring primary productivity through Chlorophyll-a content estimation in the Arctic.”
  • Winner Part I: Oliver Müller (University of Bergen, Norway) for the poster “How permafrost organic matter input in an Arctic fjord alters the bacterial community structure.”
  • Winner Part II: Sarah Holmes (University of Exeter, UK) for the poster “Using annually resolved bivalve records and biogeochemical models to understand and predict climate impacts on coastal oceans.”
  • Winner Part III/IV: Laura Wheeland (Center for Fisheries and Ecosystem Research, Newfoundland, Canada) for the poster “Inshore fisheries resources, biogeography and oceanography: Insight from sampling aboard platforms of opportunity in the Canadian Arctic.”

See you next year,
Mar Fernández-Méndez and the APECS-Arctic Frontiers team

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Photo: In the upper left photo you can see the winners of the third edition of the Nansen Poster Awards. Below you can see some of the APECS members, including our director, who made these events possible. From left to right: Mar Fernández-Méndez, Hanna Kauko, Alexey Pavlov, Karley Campbell and Gerlis Fugmann. (Photos by Marcel Sieben)

Reminder: Registration deadline for APECS Workshop at ASSW 2017 on 17 February

APECS is organizing a FREE career development workshop on Sunday 2 April 2017 at the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) 2017 in Prague (Czech Republic).

Topics covered by the workshop include:

  • working for international science-policy organisations
  • collaborating with indigenous people
  • obtaining funding
  • education and outreach

For more details and the registrations form, go to the workshop website.

Registration deadline is 17 February 2017.

For questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Call for Abstracts extended until 31 January 2017: 3rd APECS International Online Conference 2017

Outside the box logoDeadline for abstract submission extended until 31 January 2017!!

The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) cordially invites you to submit an abstract for our 3rd APECS International Online Conference 2017 which will kick-start Polar Week on the 20th of March 2017. This year’s theme is “Outside the Box: Encouraging alternative solutions for undertaking and communicating polar research.” We encourage abstracts for punchy 10 minute PowerPoint presentations consistent with this theme.

Please visit the conference website to learn more about the conference and submit your abstract by the 31st of January 2017 at 22:00 GMT. We will notify you with regards to the success of your abstract prior to the 15 of February 2017.

Please note that this is an online conference that you can enjoy from the comfort of your home or office. Please direct any questions you have to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

APECS Italy Antarctica Day 2016

APECS Italy Antarctica Day2016The Italian Association of Polar Early carrier Scientist, (APECS Italy) in collaboration with the Ca’ Foscariri University of Venice has organized the Antarctic Day 2016 with the contribution other organizations and associations. In particular an important support has arrived from the PNRA (Programma Nazionale di Ricerca in Antartide – Italian National program for Antarctic research), CNR (Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche – National Research Council) and the Accademia Nazionale delle scienze detta dei XL. The second edition of the Antarctic day, the first one was in 2015, had the aim to introduce to students from secondary school as well as to the student of the Ca foscari University of Venice the Antarctic continent. A total of 7 researchers have been invited to present their research experiences in Antarctica as well describe the role of the Antarctic continent from a geopolitics and environmental point of view. A particular attention was give to the Antarctic treaty and all the typology of research conducted. Considering the importance of the polar area in the global climate and earth system we decided to extend the celebration also to the Arctic, in particular the Svalbard Archipelago. Three researcher have been invited to talk about the research conducted in the Svalbard as well introduce this magnificent archipelago with its unique fauna and flora. In total almost 200 students were present at the outreach seminar, almost 150 from secondary school and fifty from Ca foscari University of Venice. The Antarctic day seminar was divided in two section, the first section about Antarctica, from 9.00 am to 11.00 am and the Arctic section from 11.40 to 13.00. During the break, a show and tell session has been organized. The show and tell had the aim to show the material (includes clothes) and instrument used for the research in Antarctica. The Students had the opportunity to “touch with their hands” the equipment used at the poles and fill their curiosity about poles.

APECS Italy Antarctica Day 2016 2During the Antarctic day 2016, APECS Italy has announce the release of their new website ( The website has the aim to work as platform for all the polar early carereer scientist where everyone can share their polar experience as well as their research topics.

Apecs Italy would like to thanks all the peoples help in the organization and the speaker during the Antarctic day. The list of the peoples involved is include below:


  • Andrea Spolaor (Apecs National coordinator, Ca Foscari University of Venice)
  • Francois Burgais (Ca Foscari University of Venice – APECS Italy member)
  • Andrea Gambaro (Ca Foscari University of Venice)
  • Warren R.L. Cairns (IDPA-CNR)
  • Rossano Piazza (Ca Foscari University of Venice)


  • Prof. Carlo Barbante (Ca Foscari University of Venice, CNR-IDPA)
  • Dr. Michela Segnana (Ca Foscari University of Venice)
  • Dr. Elena Barbaro (Ca Foscari University of Venice - APECS Italy member)
  • Dr. Warren Cairns (CNR-IDPA)
  • Dr. Marco Vecchiato (Ca Foscari University of Venice - APECS Italy member)
  • Dr. Roberto Sparapani (CNR)
  • Dr. Luisa Poto (CNR-IDPA)
  • Dr. Roberta Zangrando (CNR-IDPA)
  • Dr. Jacopo Gabrieli (CNR-IDPA - APECS Italy member)


  • Massimiliano Vardè (IDPA-CNR)
  • Villoslada Hidalgo Maria Del Carmen (Ca Foscari University of Venice)
  • Elena Gregoris (IDPA-CNR)
  • Sarah Padoan (Ca Foscari University of Venice)
  • Giuliano Dreossi (Ca Foscari University of Venice)

Antarctica Day Photo Competition from APECS Belgium and Netherlands

Belgium Netherlands Photo Comp2016

APECS Belgium along with APECS Netherlands organized an Antarctic Photo competition to celebrate Antarctica Day on December 1st 2016.

In total, 132 photos from 32 different photographers were submitted for the contest and displayed on Facebook to let the public vote for their favorite pictures.

The overall winner, Bartek Jerzak, received 101 likes for his shot “Gentoo penguins (Pygoscelis papua) in the vicinity of the H. Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station”.

In addition to the public prize, the national committees selected a few other pictures that, in their opinion, deserved to be highlighted in one way or another. Check out all the winning pictures including some “special awards” here. Currently, we plan to display large prints of the winning pictures during the upcoming SCAR Biology Symposium to be held in Leuven, Belgium in July 2017. If you would like to acquire one of these amazing pictures, that’s your chance!

We believe the photo competition was a great success. It showcased the beauty of Antarctica and engaged many scientists as well as non-scientists on social media, thereby also promoting the work APECS international in general and APECS BE/NL in particular.

APECS Sweden at Polarforum

APECS Sweden new logo 2016As part of Polarforum, the annual conference for Swedish polar research, APECS Sweden had a whole afternoon of sessions for early career researchers on 23 November 2016 at the Maritme Museum in Stockholm.

We started with a panel discussion about careers in and outside of academia after a "polar" degree. Our speakers were Veijo Pohjola from the University of Uppsala and Karen Assmann from the University of Gothenburg, both academics; Åsa Lindgren from the Swedish Polar Secretariat who also works as a polar guide; and Sandrine Testaz who is responsible for scientific coordination and communication at the French embassy in Sweden.

Ulf Jonsell from the Swedish Polar Secretariat then gave an overview of upcoming calls and expeditions that students and early career researchers can apply to.

After a well needed coffee break (which actually was a poster session), we received some valuable polar safety training from Henrik Tornberg (how to plan your fieldwork, what to pack, life saving piece of kit...). In particular, we all want a harness and a bevvy bag now!

Finally, we reported on APECS Sweden's activities for 2016 and elected the 2017 Executive Secretary, Céline Heuzé from the University of Gothenburg.

Expand your Frontiers: APECS Career Path panel discussion for early career researchers

Have you been wondering what your career alternatives are besides staying in academia? Are you passionate about Arctic science and you would appreciate some inspiration about how to proceed with your career? During the Arctic Frontiers "White Space - Blue Future" 2017 Conference in Tromsø Norway (22 - 27 January 2017), the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) and Arctic Frontiers Young will give you the opportunity to hear the experiences of professionals with scientific backgrounds that chose different career paths inside or outside of academia. Get involved, ask questions and get ideas for your own career path!

Join us on 25 January 2017 at 14:00 at UiT The Arctic University of Norway in room E0101

This years panelists include:

  • Prof. Dr. Bodil Bluhm from the University of Tromsø
  • Dr. Katrin Bluhm from Akvaplaniva
  • Lawrence Hislop from Climate and Cryosphere project (CliC )
  • Dr. Dennis Fink from Mediomix

2016 APECS Season's Greetings

2016 Seasons Greetings first slideDear APECS members, supporters and friends,

APECS had again a very successful year in 2016 and we wanted to thank all of our members, mentors, sponsors and partners for helping us shape the future of polar research!

Enjoy some of our best moments of 2016 in our APECS Season’s Greetings video.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to all of you! We are looking forward to a fantastic 2017!

Best wishes,

Alice Bradley, APECS President 2016-2017
Gerlis Fugmann, APECS Executive Director
on behalf of the APECS Leadership

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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