Conferences and workshops

October 2016

Arctic Circle 2018

Dates: 18th - 21st October 2018
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland

Breakout Sessions

Research for societal benefit: Where polar research can make a difference

Date and Time: 19th October 2018, 17:15-18:45, Room Hafnarkot

Where can future research contribute to economic, social and environmental benefits? Which polar issues are of high interest to the European society? What are possible approaches to address and prioritize pressing polar issues? EU-PolarNet brought together 50 internationally renowned polar experts, ranging from senior to early career researchers, from representatives from indigenous peoples to business representatives and policy makers for a five-day workshop in order to find some answers to these questions. Based on their area of expertise and their review of more than 500 replies to EU-PolarNet's public online survey, the group identified a handful of topics with the potential for impactful future research. The result is a set of five polar white papers, which mark an important milestone towards the integrated European Polar Research Programme, which EU-PolarNet will develop until 2020. This breakout session will give an overview of the five white papers, the suggested research areas and their potential for social, economic and environmental benefits. Furthermore, the session aims at fostering discussions on future priorities for European polar research and at showcasing how a transdisciplinary group of polar experts jointly identified polar topics of high societal relevance.


Convenor and Moderator: Antonio Quesada, Executive secretary of the Spanish Polar Committee


  • Nicole Biebow, EU-PolaNet Project Manager: Introduction to session
  • Malgorzata (Gosia) Smieszek, Researcher University of Lapland and Finnish Environment Institute: The Road to the Desired States of Social-ecological Systems in the Polar Regions
  • Lise Lotte Sørensen, Associate Professor at the Arctic Research Centre, Aarhus University: The coupled polar climate system: global context, predictability and regional impacts
  • Hannele Savela, Research Coordinator, Thule Institute, University of Oulu: Footprints on Changing Polar Ecosystems: Processes, Threats, Responses and Opportunities for Future Generations
  • Marcus Carson, Research Fellow, Stockholm Environment Institute: Managing resource use, conservation, and human impacts on the polar regions
  • Nils Arne Johnsen, Director Industry & Regional Development, Troms County, Norway: Advancing operational informatics for polar regions

And action! Moving beyond benevolent rhetoric in stakeholder engagement

Date and Time: 20th October, 16:15 - 17:45, Room Skarðsheiði

Session co-convened with Framsentret

Stakeholder engagement has become a buzzword and a necessity that polar research cannot elude any longer. Yet, despite best intentions, stakeholder engagement often proves to be (too) challenging - risking frustration and fatigue amongst all involved actors. This breakout session aims at bringing together Arctic actors - scientists, local and indigenous peoples, business representatives, policy makers, as well as representatives from nongovernmental organisations, international organisations and civil society - to move from best intentions to ways of cooperation that are beneficial to all people involved.

The floor will be given to representatives from different stake- and rights holders, offering them the opportunity to share their ideas on meaningful engagement in Arctic projects. These insights will fuel the subsequent discussions, involving all session participants. In breakout groups led by the stakeholder representatives, participants will be challenged to think beyond familiar engagement patterns. The results of these discussions will then be reported back to the entire group, generating a pool of ideas for real action.

Chair: Nils Arne Johnsen, Director Regional Business Development, Troms County Council


  • Kuno Fencker, Chairman of the Board, Royal Arctic Line, Greenland
  • Kirsi Latola, Chair, European Polar Board; Research Coordinator, Thule Institute, University of Oulu, Finland
  • Per Fauchald, Researcher, Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Chair Fram Center Flagship MIKON
  • Danielle Conway, Dean & Professor, University of Maine
  • Henry Burgess, Head of NERC Arctic Office
  • Aili Keskitalo, President of Sami Parliament of Norway
  • Kristin Røymo, Mayor of Tromsø