Association of Polar Early Career Scientists


As part of the second IPY Polar Field School held in Svalbard this past June, the 25 international students were fortunate enough to interact with 17 politicians and advisors from the Nordic Council (Nordisk Råd), who were in Spitsbergen to learn about Arctic research first-hand.

The event was coordinated by APECS, the University of the Arctic and UNIS and in traditional APECS fashion, ‘speed dating’ was adopted as the means of initiating communication (with libations mixed in for good measure).  Each “speed-date” consisted of two attendees of the field school and two politicians or advisors. They spoke for five minutes at a time before moving on in a musical chairs like manner.

The politicians were eager to discover what the students had experienced during the field school; conversely, the students sought to determine how the politicians view the importance of Arctic research.  The session was viewed as a success from both parties and discussion continued after the event was officially over; we even managed to get a few more APECS mentors! Moreover, the politicians grasped the significance of funding field schools and how they are truly beneficial for early career researchers. Perhaps they will be more eager to fund such events in the future…..

A few comments from the participants:

“A fantastic evening; we gained an invaluable perspective of the Arctic from a politicians point of view”
Sarah Lee, Aberystwyth University, Wales, Marine and Freshwater Biology

“How often can you say that you have speed-dated with politicians....? Thank you APECS for giving us this opportunity!”
Trine Kvist-Lassen, Aarhus Universitet, Denmark, Geology

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