Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

APECS is happy to be able to link early career researchers with organisations interested in the polar regions, and whenever possible APECS sends a APECS representative to meetings on interest.Although we can usually only send one APECS member to a meeting, it is our goal to share information meetings and workshops with our wider membership.

In this section you will find the reports and summaries submitted by our APECS reps in order to share meeting topics and outcomes with our wider membership. You can also see them in the APECS News

APECS at the ICARP III Steering Group meeting (11-12 November 2014, Potsdam, Germany)

ICARP III steering group meeting Potsdam 2014ICARP III (3rd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning) is getting closer. It will be held in conjunction with the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) and 25th anniversary of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) in April 2015 in Japan.

ICARP III will provide a framework to identify Arctic science priorities for the next decade, to coordinate Arctic research agendas, and to inform policy makers, people who live in or near the Arctic and the global community who have growing concerns about the changing Arctic environment and its impact on the planet. In the start of ICARP III process, APECS was invited to contribute to the initiative and to participate in the planning process.

During the meeting on 11-12 November, held in Potsdam, Germany, representatives of the member institutions of the Steering Group discussed about the current status of the ICARP III events and activities of the various partners. The contribution of APECS include: (1) workshops and webinars aimed at informing early career researchers about ICARP III and the contributions of IASC and ICARP III partners, and (2) project "Where are they now?" which will work to follow up what has happened to the ECRs that have gotten support and funding from IASC during the IPY and beyond with the goal to find ways to further enhance the engagement of APECS and IASC in the support and training of ECRs.

The main focus of the meeting was on the ICARP III products and outcomes, including the dissemination strategy, considering the primary audiences. The Steering Group agreed that each ICARP III activity should be invited to contribute to an ICARP III conference statement, a high-level scientific paper and other ICARP IIII publications.

Arctic Snow cover workshop in Copenhagen

Snow meeting 2014 1Three APECS members, Ludovic Brucker, Stine Højlund Pedersen, and Heather Mariash, were selected to participate in the workshop "Arctic Snow Cover Changes and their Consequences" held in Copenhagen on 16th and 17th of October, 2014. An event supported and hosted by IASC- INTERACT - CLiC- AMAP- GEO at the European Environmental Agency in Copenhagen. The two day workshop included updates on current monitoring programs along with breakout sessions to brainstorm key topics for future research, monitoring, methods for collecting observational data, data modeling, and ecological impacts of Arctic Snow cover. The results of this meeting are meant to prepare for the ICCARP III, which will determine Arctic science priorities for the next decade. ICARP III will be held in Tayama Japan, April 2015.

copenhagen MariashWe are grateful to IASC and event organizers for supporting the early career researchers to attend the small (< 35 people) workshop. It was a stimulating event! We had the privilege of contributing to the discussions, gained a wider understanding of the aspects of snow cover science in the circumpolar Arctic, and will contribute to a summary paper for the research recommendations and priority monitoring plans that were discussed during the meeting.


APECS at the AMAP Working Group Meeting

Nikolaus Gantner at AMAP Meeting 3The 28th Working Group meeting of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program under the Arctic Council took place in Whitehorse, Yukon September 15-18. Canada chairs the Arctic Council in 2013-2015, and is this hosting a variety of Working Group meetings across Canada’s North. In Whitehorse, the AMAP working group meeting was held in conjunction with a meeting of the Working Group on the Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME). The two groups held a joint session, which was attended by both group’s delegates. APECS was once again invited to participate and APECS member Nikolaus Gantner was able to attend the meeting as a representative. This is what he reported back from the meeting:

"Right off the bat, I can say that I was genuinely impressed by the high level of the meeting and its formal process. For example, heads of delegates refer to each other by the Country’s name, much like at a UN meeting. I myself was addressed as ‘APECS’.

Much of the first day of the AMAP meeting was spent agreeing on realistic deliverables derived from a series of policy recommendations made following the recently completed Persistent Organic Pollution (POPs) Assessment. This step is important, as it ensures knowledge generated during this recently completed assessment into actions that will make a difference for contamination with POPs in the Arctic regions. The POPs Assessment report triggered much debate. The very interesting prospect of the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the Arctic led to a lively discussion as well. Interesting from an APECS-perspective is the ‘Adaptation Actions for a Changing Arctic’ (AACA) project, which already provided some opportunities for direct involvement of APECS members.

Nikolaus Gantnter at AMAP Meeting 2 2Over the second and third day, recent progress and future efforts on the AMAP secretariat were detailed. Details of and contributions to the upcoming Arctic Biodiversity Congress (Trondheim, December 2014) and Arctic Change 2014 Meeting (Ottawa, December 2014) were also discussed. APECS will be present at both meetings and will be organizing social event, sessions and career panels at them. Much of the efforts to determining follow-up from this AMAP meeting and timelines thereof were driven by the nearing Task Force meetings and the Arctic Council meeting in Iqaluit in April of 2015. Canada will then hand the chairmanship to the United States for 2015-2017.

Near the end of the meeting, I was able to give a brief presentation behalf of APECS membership (of ~4800) on APECS outreach activities and highlight recent publications by APECS Canada members. The AMAP Secretariat and meeting Chair commended APECS on its outreach efforts, a compliment that I am happy to pass on to you all! Moreover, there might be exciting opportunities for APECS members to get involved in AMAP, so stay tuned! Whitehorse was an excellent location for this meeting, and welcomed the international delegates who all seemed to be enjoying themselves!"

APECS representative during SCAR Horizon Scan meeting – April 2014

SCAR Horizon Scan Group smallFour early career scientists participated in the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Horizon Scan Retreat, held in Queenstown, New Zealand from April 20 to 23. Since the retreat was on invitation only, it was a great honour for the four of us to attend this event where several world's leading Antarctic scientists and policy-makers gathered. Fifty-five scientists from 24 countries convened for this Antarctic and Southern Ocean Horizon Scan initiative, with as aim to identify the most important scientific questions that should be addressed by Antarctic research over the next two decades. From over 800 questions, 80 questions were retained and developed during the three days of the retreat. All attendees actively participated in voting sessions and discussions. The four early career scientists present were: Charlotte Havermans (BE) working on Antarctic benthos and molecular methods and associated with APECS-Belgium, Erli S. Costa (BR) working on seabird ecology, council member of APECS and APECS-Brazil president, Polina Morozova (RU), PhD student in climate modelling and meteorology and Xichen Li (USA), student in atmosphere-ocean-sea-ice modelling. It is important to mention also the participation of Jenny Baeseman (NO), the founding Director of APECS and José Carlos Caetano Xavier (PT, UK), leader of APECS-Portugal, showing the importance of APECS in the training of leaders in polar science.

Climate and Cryosphere project is creating unrivaled opportunities for APECS members

CliC WMO 2014 2The annual Climate and Cryosphere Project (CliC) scientific steering group meeting was hosted by the WMO, Geneva from 17th – 20th February 2014. CliC sponsored APECS representative, Eleanor Darlington, to attend the meeting. She joined 23 established researchers who all play leading roles in cryospheric research. The meeting was led by CliC chair, Greg Flato (Environment Canada) and organised by Jenny Baesman (CliC Director).

The aim of the meeting was to review the current standing of cryospheric research and to highlight areas which need special focus, or inter-disciplinary collaboration. This was achieved by participation from many other organisations such as WCRP/Future Earth, SCAR and CLIVAR. The outcomes of the meeting include several workshops, to bring together researchers to collaborate on research areas such as the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, sea ice modelling and a snow inter-comparison project.

CliC WMO 2014

As the APECS representative I gave a short presentation on APECS activities over the last year, and what's planned for the coming year. I received many questions, especially regarding activities taking place a national level. CliC is a strong supporter of early career researchers, having contributed 200,000 Nkr to APECS, which has supported the travel of early career researchers to workshops and meetings. There were many proposals of events to support early career researchers, particularly in ice-sheet and climate modelling. An exciting project is emerging, which will see the creation of science co-ordination positions for early career researchers, to take a leading role in steering forward a targeted research activity. Opportunities such as these are invaluable for young scientists, and will stand them in good stead for their career development.

I was also taking the meeting notes and will help in compiling the meeting report. This responsibility has given me an insight to the administrative side of a science planning meeting.

This opportunity gave me not only an insight into planning and coordinating international science activities, but also proved to be a unique networking opportunity. I met and had discussions with researchers from six continents! Thank you APECS and CliC for offering me this opportunity, which I am sure will have prolonged benefits.

APECS Representatives at the Arctic Frontiers 2014 Science Committees

ARCTIC FRONTIERS Logo new 2013For the Arctic Frontiers 2014 conference in Tromsø, Norway (19 – 26 January), four APECS members were selected to serve as early career researcher representatives on the Science Committees of the conference: Marney Paradis was member of the Live, Work, and Stay Healthy in the Arctic session, and her graduate studies on leadership within Indigenous education played a role in establishing strong professional connections with other session members. Dr. Frigga Kruse was chosen as member to the Health and Environment session, and her arctic archaeologicall knowledge base provided important historical context to the committee. Mia Bennett drew upon her familiarity with arctic geopolitics to assist in the abstract review and selection in the Shipping and Offshore committee. Piotr Graczyk assisted as member of the Arctic Search and Rescue committee, in which he utilized his studies of international relations and arctic cooperation in the selection criteria.

We would like to take this opportunity to extend our appreciation to the Arctic Frontiers and APECS committees. Serving as Science Committee members and as Early Career Research Representatives has been tremendously enriching and highly rewarding. Assisting in this process was a welcomed task, as it provided us all the opportunity to liaise with committee chairs and immerse ourselves into the world of international science management. Further, the auspicious role of helping shape the messages and delivery of the conference itself is a learned task that will doubtlessly benefit us in the future.

Serving as an APECS representative is a process we would recommend to all. Bridging early career polar researchers with established and highly knowledgeable arctic authorities is certainly a worthwhile objective, and is one in which the Arctic Frontiers Conference is known to provide. Networking, exchanging ideas, and strategizing developed into tangible plans of action. In other words, seemingly informal interactions transformed into professional international relationships. As APECS representatives, we have secured rapport amongst our circumpolar colleagues, and this is something that we are truly grateful for. Again, a huge thank you to both the Arctic Frontiers and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists. You have helped us in many ways, and we have nothing but gratitude for this!

Marney Paradis, Frigga Kruse, Mia Bennett, Piotr Graczyk

Representing APECS on the INTERACT TA Board

Interact logoOn the other side of the fence...

Earlier in the year I was given the amazing opportunity to sit on the INTERACT Transnational Access (TA) Board as an APECS representative.

Transnational Access is an EU (FP7) funded programme which enables researchers to get their travel and accommodation costs covered for visits to Arctic research stations and have free use of the station facilities for the duration of their stay. This allows groups to conduct fieldwork that might not otherwise have been able to afford it.

The job of the TA board is to make a scientific evaluation of all the applications and then make a list of projects recommended for TA. The research stations then decide which projects to fund based on the recommendations and practical considerations such as the number of beds free. I quickly realized that all the projects sounded very exciting and in an ideal world all would have been funded. Unfortunately INTERACT, like any funding body, has a limited amount of money. How to compare projects across such a wide variety of disciplines? How to compare projects written by a master's student versus a professor? Answer: by reading, grading, and then discussing them all. A lot of work, but it meant that the recommendations were based on a collective decision.

Now I have a much better appreciation of the tough job reviewers have when faced with lots of high-quality applications. Here are three things I will definitely be bearing in mind next time I write a funding application:
- Abstract: The most important sentences in the whole proposal. Needs to give the wider relevance and the specific aims of the project.
- Methods: Need to be sufficiently detailed to convince someone not in your field that it'll work.
- Do literature homework: one of the big issues was people not being aware of others' work.

Summer 2014 will be the last season of fieldwork funded through INTERACT, but plans are afoot for INTERACT II! Look out for it and apply!

AMAP Working Group Meeting - September 2013

AMAP picAMAP (the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program, a working group of the Arctic Council; held its 27th working group meeting in Troshavn, Faroe Islands from September 15-18th, 2013. The meeting included delegations from each of the Arctic Council nations, as well as representations from the permanent participates, and observer nations and organisations. The group was updated on projects that are wrapping up, and discussed upcoming events and projects that the working group wants to priortize and focus on in the coming years.

AMAP has a number of current projects underway including a radioactivity report, persistant organic pollutants report, and the Adaptation Actions in a Changing Arctic (AACA) project. Emphasis on improving outreach, the use of local and traditional knowledge and involving early career reserachers in projects was a theme heard throughout the meeting.

APECS and AMAP also agreed to continue to work together on integrating early career researchers into their program, both from an expert group and a communications perspective.

APECS at the CAFF Board Meeting – Yellowknife, Sept. 10-12, 2013

Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) is a working group of the Arctic Council that deals with issues relating to biodiversity in the circumpolar Arctic. The CAFF board meets twice a year to discuss the management of the CAFF and ongoing and future projects of the working group. I was lucky enough to be in town for this event and to participate in the discussion.

The following is a non-exhaustive list of items that were discussed that caught my attention:

The Arctic Biodiversity Assessment (ABA): this is a very important product of the CAFF. It is an exhaustive document summarizing the state of Arctic biodiversity, trends in abundance, and current and future risks. It also provides a series of recommendation for policy-makers. The full document along with a summary for policy-makers can be found here:

Arctic tourism: The Sustainable Tourism Initiative which deals mainly with the potential impact of cruise ship operations was discussed.

Traditional knowledge: The challenges regarding the inclusion of traditional ecological knowledge into the ABA were discussed. It was agreed that a kind of 'lessons learned' document would be a useful output of the process.

Ecosystem services: One of the cool things with CAFF is that it allows its 'observer' members (i.e. non-voting members of the group) to participate and provide input into CAFF's work. The World Wildlife Fund was therefore present at the meeting to discuss a project they are leading on ecosystem services.

Migratory birds: Birds migrate over large distances and across many international boundaries, and international groups like CAFF are therefore the perfect venue to coordinate such conservation efforts. For info on one of the projects CAFF is involved with, go to:

Potential for APECS involvement:

Recommendation analysis: One of the most important end results of the ABA is a series of 17 recommendations to policy-makers. APECS was asked to participate in a process of analysis of these recommendations to promote their implementation.

The ABA Symposium: In order to promote and implement the recommendations of the ABA, a symposium will be held to bring together scientists, policy-makers, and private industry. While the exact time and date is yet to be determined, APECS involvement in such an event would be important.

Jean-Sébastien Moore

Antarctic Thresholds – Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation (AnT-ERA) launched at the SCAR Biology Symposium, Barcelona 2013.

Ant-ERAThe SCAR Scientific Research Programme "Antarctic Thresholds – Ecosystem Resilience and Adaptation" (Ant-ERA) was officially launched at the XIth SCAR Biology Symposium recently held in Barcelona, Spain (15-19 July 2013). This challenging programme will examine present-day biological processes in the Antarctic ecosystems and aims to define their thresholds in order to determine their resistance and resilience to change.

The Ant-ERA programme and its steering committee were introduced to the scientific community during a public meeting held during the Symposium. The Chief Officer, Dr. Julian Gutt, explained that the programme will study biological processes on ecological time scales. The main outputs will include comprehensive scientific review papers relating to the overall theme. AnT-ERA will work closely with other SCAR programmes including State of the Antarctic Ecosystem (AntEco) and Antarctic Climate Change in the 21st Century (AntClim).

AnT-ERA also aims to build capacity by involving APECS, as well as other emerging national programmes. There will therefore be great opportunities for early career scientists to get involved and contribute to the programme. Additionally, some financial support will be available for Early Career scientists to aid in their professional development (e.g. to support attendance to conferences etc.). Further details will be made available (via the APECS, SCAR and AnT-ERA websites) in the near future.

More information about the AnT-ERA programme can be obtained on the SCAR website ( The programme is open to all Antarctic researchers with an interest in contributing .To join the mailing list, please e-mail Dr. Julian Gutt directly (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

By Trevor McIntyre & Coleen Suckling (APECS representatives for Ant-ERA); This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. & This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

APECS at the AMAP AACA-C workshop in Saint Petersburg

IMG 4427 smallerJennifer Provencher represented APECS at the AMAP AACA-C workshop in Saint Petersburg Russia. The AACA (Adaptations for Action in a Changing Arctic) workshops are a series of workshops  that seek to integrate knowledge from modelers and reserachers about the future of changing Arctic systems, and plan potental adaptations actions for the region.

Currently, the Barents Sea, Bering-Chukchi-Beaufort Seas and Davis Strait-Baffin Bay regions have been identified as the pilot areas where assessment and planning will take place in the next year. The meeting was highly successful with three local regional meetings planned for the fall in which more early career representatives will be invited to participate in. At regional meetings expertise from all sectors active in the region and stakeholders will be brough together to identify areas where further existing framwork exists, and where further planning is needed.

The main message that all the working groups are taking away that although climatic changes may be affecting the region differently, major changes are taking place in the Arctic region and stratgeic plans are needed in order to plan.

APECS Rep Yuzhe Wang Reports on EC-PORS-4

Wang Yuzhe 1Recently, APECS member Yuzhe Wang attended the fourth meeting of the World Meteorological Organization's Executive Council of Experts on Polar Observations, Research, and Services (WMO's EC-PORS) in Lanzhou, China. He has submitted this very informational report, detailing current actions involving progress on the "Global Cryosphere Watch" and the "International Polar Initiative" as well as a large number of APECS partners. 

EC-PORS will have upcoming meetings in New Zealand (2014) and Iceland (2015), and we'll be looking for APECS reps then! Find out more about current APECS reps, their responsibilities, and becoming one.

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam
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