International cooperation in the Arctic

Division Director at The National Science Foundation Kelly K. Falkner on working together with NordForsk and Nordic researchers

How would you describe the collaboration between the National Science Foundation and NordForsk through the Belmont Forum?

‘NSF is always looking for innovative ways to facilitate international collaboration toward advancing the progress of science. The complex scientific and social issues related to Arctic sustainability are of course best addressed in an international framework, and the Belmont Forum provided one mechanism for multilateral funding of bottom-up collaborations among researchers. It was useful to have NordForsk identify and represent collective Nordic interests in the area of sustainability. The strong community response to the Belmont Forum call on ‘Arctic Observing and Research for Sustainability’ confirmed the interest in and readiness for transdisciplinary research on this issue. NSF will continue to explore a variety of bilateral and multilateral mechanisms in its efforts to fund and support world leading Arctic research.’

How does Nordic research collaboration look from the perspective of The National Science Foundation?Division Director at the US National Science Foundation Kelly K. Falkner

‘We see Nordic countries as world-class research partners who bring a wealth of scientific talent, data, and research infrastructure to the table. There is a history of successful collaborations between individual U.S. and Nordic investigators as well as government-to-government agreements to promote science and infrastructure sharing. 

Do you see any room for further international cooperation on Arctic issues?

‘From the NSF perspective, we see an increasing need for collaboration with Nordic countries on Arctic issues because of the growing interest in research and environmental change across the Arctic and because of the advantages from sharing Arctic research infrastructure. Joint research cooperation has been facilitated by various bilateral science and technology agreements between the US and Nordic countries and ensuing specific agreements or arrangements between NSF and Nordic funding agencies.

The rapid pace of Arctic change and the prospects of future socioeconomic development are driving the need for a better understanding of the Arctic environment and its people. The Nordic countries are important research partners for NSF because of the history of high quality joint scientific research, the opportunities for access to high latitude environments both on land and in marine territorial waters, and the opportunities to leverage research infrastructure (land stations and research vessels) and logistics in the most cost-effective way. Joint US-Nordic collaboration also provides a means to interconnect traditional knowledge across the arctic indigenous peoples and to better frame the societal and research issues associated with future Arctic change and development.’ 


Text: Linn Hoff Jensen

Photo: US National Science Foundation