The challenges and opportunities of polar early career scientists
August 25 & 26, 2008
The Early Career Scientist Workshop, co-organized by the Northern Research Forum (NRF) and APECS, at the International Congress of Arctic Social Scientists in Nuuk, Greenland took place August 25 and 26, 2008. It addressed the key challenges and opportunities APECS members face, and showed a way forward for organizations like APECS to improve polar science and enable polar researchers to reach their goals. The wonderful diversity in early careers scientists, from experience to skills to projects, presents a challenge for organizations to meet their varied needs. Improved funding, communication, mentorship, and networks were all identified as key parts of a strategy to help polar early career scientists succeed.
Communication was identified as an important focus for early career scientists. Technologies such as social networking websites, voice-over-IP, and list serves are key tools to bringing scientists together from across distances and disciplines. The need for effective communication extended to data sharing and management, with the advice that data should be considered very broadly and all types – quantitative, qualitative and informational – should be considered and shared. Furthermore, data sharing for regional interests and information, such as fieldwork logistics, would be valuable to many scientists.
The role of early career scientists in the larger arenas of community and policy was also discussed. Connections with the IPY program as well as outreach activities and non-academic careers are all valuable parts of the contribution of early career scientists. Workshops like this joint NRF/APECS one at ICASS are valuable forums for identifying the challenges to early career scientists and shaping the responses of organizations like APECS to speed the success of our work and people.