Alexander Stubb, Erna Solberg, and Kristina Persson presenting a new Arctic strategy. Foto: Pernille Ingebrigtsen/Arctic Frontiers 2015
Nordic funding opportunities for Arctic research
Tromsø – also known as the capital of snow-how, Norway’s Arctic capital and the Paris of the North – hosted the major Arctic Frontiers conference for the ninth time. The conference ran from 18–23 January 2015, and once again attracted a wide range of researchers, politicians, administrators, government officials and businesspeople working with or involved in various activities relating to the Arctic.
The week’s intensive programme was organised into three main sections: Policy, Business and Science. One highlight from a Nordic perspective was that Finland, Norway and Sweden presented a new joint strategy for sustainable growth in the area being called the Scandinavian Arctic. The strategy report is titled Growth from the North. How can Finland, Sweden and Norway achieve sustainable growth in the Scandinavian Arctic?
Reminder: application deadline is 4 March 2015
A recurring theme in nearly every presentation and discussion was how to develop Arctic natural resources while safeguarding the region’s fragile environment. Striking this balance is easier said than done, but research-based knowledge will be a critical component of any endeavour. NordForsk used the opportunity to remind conference participants of the fast-approaching application deadline for funding under the joint Nordic research programme Responsible Development of the Arctic: Opportunities and Challenges - Pathways to Action. Some NOK 85 million is available for the most talented research teams comprising researchers from at least three Nordic countries. NordForsk expects to select and fund three to four new Nordic Centres of Excellence under this call.
NordForsk’s Marianna Røgeberg, Head of Arctic Affairs, describes the research programme’s main objective. She states that it is critical for the Joint Nordic Initiative on Arctic Research that researchers from different disciplines collaborate on solving problems and challenges facing the region. This is why the programme has been divided into three cross-disciplinary thematic areas: Drivers of Change - Interactions and Impacts; Arctic Resource Development in a Global Context; and Waters, Ecologies and Life Environments. The programme is hoping that many top international project proposals will be submitted by the deadline of 4 March 2015.
Arctic Co-operation Programme
NordForsk had a conference stand together with the Secretariat to the Nordic Council of Ministers. Senior Adviser Nauja Bianco, who is responsible for the Nordic Council of Ministers' Arctic Co-operation Programme, and Special Consultant Anna Maria Gran of the Danish Environmental Protection Agency, who is coordinator for the Nordic Council of Ministers' Climate and Air Pollution Group (KoL), offered participants information about their Arctic activities.
The overall objective of the Arctic Co-operation Programme is to promote sustainable development that respects the natural environment of the Arctic and the people living in the region. The deadline for funding applications under the programme was 23 January 2015, and the task of allocating the roughly DKK 6 million available to projects involving the Arctic is underway.
“The purpose of the Arctic Co-operation Programme,” explains Nauja Bianco, “is to provide support to larger-scale existing or new initiatives for the Arctic region. This may for instance take the form of some kind of measure linked to a research project, such as dissemination activities via a publication. The focus is on the local inhabitants, and it is possible for NGOs to receive funding for their work, which is not easy to come by for Arctic activities.”
The Arctic Co-operation Programme will announce a new funding round in autumn 2015.
Nordic Council of Ministers’ climate activities
One focus of the environmental sector under the Nordic Council of Ministers in 2015 is to disseminate information and conduct outreach activities in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. The Nordic Working Group for Global Climate Negotiations (NOAK) is one of the actors playing a major role in these activities. NOAK has just drawn up a new overview of Nordic climate policy, Nordic action on climate change, while the Climate and Air Pollution Group (KoL) is using humour and web visualisation in new ways to communicate information about climate change.
Written by: Linn Hoff Jensen