Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


amap logoiasc webAPECS 10 year logoThe Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) organized a workshop on “Scientific Assessments: Process, Dissemination and Impact” at the International Conference on Arctic Science: Bringing Knowledge to Action in Reston, Virginia, United States.

Workshop Date: 24 April 2017
Workshop time: 09:00 – 17:00
Location: Lake Fairfax B Room

There is an urgent, recognized need to bridge the gap between science and policy/decision-makers/Arctic communities to enhance the use of scientific knowledge as a basis for decision-making. Assessments document and provide the critical knowledge on changes in the Arctic region and contribute to international processes and negotiations on climate change, pollutants, development, biodiversity, and more. Scientific assessments are principal mechanisms for harnessing scientific information to inform policy- and decision-making.

A scientific assessment is, however, far more than just a final report or deliverable, it is the entire multi-year process, within which expert knowledge is gathered, evaluated, interpreted - before it is communicated to decision-makers and other audiences.

Participants learned more about scientific assessments, their do’s and don’ts, best practices in translating and communicating science and knowledge into action, and how individual scientists can make their voice heard. Workshop outcomes contributed to the discussions on the last day of the conference.

Workshop Organizing Team: Gosia Smieszek (Arctic Centre, University of Lapland/ IASC), Gerlis Fugmann (APECS / AWI, Germany), Allen Pope (IASC, Iceland), Kristin Timm (George Mason University, United States), Yulia Zaika (Khibiny educational and scientific base of the Faculty of Geography M.V.Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia)

Bringing Knowledge to Action - Conference & Workshop

AMAP Workshop2The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) 2017 International Conference on Arctic Science: Bridging Knowledge to Action took place in Reston, Virginia, United States, from April 25-27. The conference brought together a diverse and international group of experts ranging from scientists to decision-makers to explore pathways for enhancing usability of scientific and other forms of knowledge to support policy and practice in the Arctic. The conference highlighted major AMAP assessments and the release of the latest AMAP assessment reports: Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic (SWIPA) and Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic (AACA) regional reports.

Another major highlight was the April 24 pre-conference workshop on "Scientific Assessments: Process, Dissemination and Impact" organized by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) and International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). This one-day workshop engaged researchers in a conversation on scientific assessments with an international group of scientists and communication experts in government and academia through interactive panels and presentations. Workshop outcomes also contributed to a discussion during plenary sessions on a call for action held on the last day of the conference.

Contributions from the APECS/IASC/AMAP workshop echoed major themes that emerged throughout the conference, with usability of scientific assessment for policy and decision support being most prominent. In particular, participants noted that the well-established usability challenge of balancing credibility, saliency, and legitimately of information for a wide range of stakeholders with diverse values and priorities is compounded in the Arctic by amplified system changes and limited monitoring and research capacity compared with what is generally found in the lower latitudes. Ways forward focused on methods for stakeholder engagement during the assessment process such as co-production of products to enhance usability while building capacity for process/product use such as joint producer-user partnerships and training opportunities. The need to span disciplinary and researcher-stakeholder boundaries and the role of institutions in designing and facilitating such interactions was a related consistent conference theme. The need for such "boundary organizations" to enhance assessment usability discussed in the early career workshop was the main recommended call for action promoted at the end of the conference.

For more information on the conference and early career workshop visit the full conference program and APECS/IASC/AMAP agenda.

AMAP workshop

Report published: APECS-IASC-AMAP Workshop

The pace of Arctic change is outrunning the process of conducting scientific assessments. However, the demand and need for timely, accurate, relevant, and credible information is greater than ever. Scientific assessments synthesize, document and supply critical information to decision-makers on key issues. They continue to be the principal means for harnessing and communicating scientific knowledge, but the mechanisms of this process are unfamiliar to many early-career researchers.

To address this need, the Association of Polar Early Career Researchers (APECS), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) hosted a one-day workshop about scientific assessments on 24 April 2017 in conjunction with the International Conference on Arctic Science: Bringing Knowledge to Action. The workshop was attended by two dozen early-career and mid-career researchers and professionals from a range of countries and disciplines. Thirteen panellists, including assessment creators, contributors, communicators and end-users, discussed how assessments are produced, how scientific knowledge is translated and communicated, and how scientists can leverage assessments in their own outreach. Many valuable lessons and practical skills were discussed, as well as challenges and opportunities for the future of scientific assessments in the Arctic.

Full Article in The Polar Journal:

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iasc web

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Monday 24 April 2017
Location: Lake Fairfax B Room

09:00 - 09:15

Welcome and introduction to morning topic Introduction to the world of scientific assessments (Moderator: Gosia Smieszek, Arctic Centre, University of Lapland / IASC)

09:15 - 09:45

Keynote Speech: “Scientific Assessments: Process, Dissemination and Impact: Exploring the Implications of Assessments in a Rapidly Changing Arctic”, Robert W. Corell​, Principal, Global Environment and Technology Foundation and its Lead at its Center for Energy and Climate Solutions (US); Adjunct Professor, University of Miami and Professor at the University of the Arctic (Norway)

09:45 - 10:45

Presentations & Panel #1:

  • Assessments' initiation, organization and funding
  • Incorporating indigenous & local knowledge
  • Review process


  • Lars-Otto Reiersen, AMAP Executive Secretary: Assessments' initiation, organization and funding
  • Carolina Behe, Inuit Circumpolar Council Alaska: Incorporating indigenous & local knowledge
  • Volker Rachold, German Arctic Office: Review process

10:45 - 11:00

Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:00

Presentations & Panel #2:

  • translating scientifc reports into layman language
  • linking with other international assessments and processes
  • follow-up activities: so what comes next?


  • Julie Morris, U.S. Global Change Research Program: Translating scientifc reports into laymen language and connecting with different audiences
  • Thomas Armstrong, Madison River Group, LLC: Linking with other international assessments and processes
  • ​Tom Barry, CAFF Executive Secretary: Follow-up activities: so what comes next?
12:00 - 13:00 Lunch (not included)

13:00 - 14:00

Using a strategic approach to bridge knowledge and action (Speaker: Kristin Timm, George Mason University)

Generating a comprehensive understanding of the Arctic, it’s major issues, and teleconnections to the rest of the world is critical, but what shall we do with all of this information? If our goal is turn knowledge into action, the possibilities are endless. This interactive session will outline some of the basic principles of strategic communication which can be used to help you meet a diverse range of goals. Simple guidelines for selecting, understanding, and reaching your target audience; developing and refining key messages; selecting communication tools and tactics; and evaluating the success of your efforts will be shared during this session.

14:00 - 15:00

Panel Discussion: Opportunities and challenges in science communication in 2017 and beyond (Moderator: Kristin Timm, George Mason University)

Despite the best plans, today’s communication environment presents significant opportunities and challenges for science communicators. This panel discussion will include several communication experts who will discuss the lessons they have learned from years of experience and research. In sharing their knowledge and experience, these experts will help us look ahead and prepare for applying our skills in and beyond the Arctic.


  • Monica Allen, Director of Public Affairs, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research
  • Jeanne Braha, Director of Foundation Relations, Student Conservation Association (formerly Director of Public Engagement, AAAS)
  • Emily Cloyd, Project Director of Public Engagement, AAAS (formerly with the United States Global Change Research Program)
  • Seth Borenstein, Science Writer, The Associated Press & Adjunct Professor, Journalism & Society, New York University
15:00 - 15:30 Coffee Break
15:30 - 16:45

Presentations & Panel: Consensus, advocacy, and individual impact – challenges in translating science to action in today’s world (Moderator: Allen Pope, IASC)

- Science communication vs. science advocacy
- Translating your message to policymakers
- The role of social media and networks


  • Elizabeth Landau (Public Affairs Manager – American Geophysical Union)
  • Gifford Wong (Environment, Science, Technology, and Health Officer – US Department of State)
  • Svein Mathiesen - Sami University of Applied Science (SA) and International Reindeer Center (ICR) in Kautokeino, Norway
16:45 - 17:00 Workshop Wrap-Up

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