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Jobs opening at the Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS)
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Written by Federica   
Friday, 30 January 2015 09:11

Arctic Landscape (source: Getty Images) Arctic Landscape (source: Getty Images) The Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS) has two job opening. ARCUS is a 501(c) (3) non-profit consortium of universities and institutions concerned with Arctic research and education. ARCUS envisions strong and productive linkages among researchers, educators, communities, and other stakeholders that promote discovery and understanding of the Arctic.

PROJECT MANAGER: 

This position will primarily focus on the Study of Environmental Arctic Change program (SEARCH: http://www.arcus.org/search-program), an exciting and developing program with a vision of scientific understanding to help society understand and respond to a rapidly changing Arctic.This position will work with ARCUS staff, agency personnel, committees, and the broader research community to support and implement a variety of activities. The successful candidate will provide professional project management to meet deadlines in a rapidly evolving environment. The candidate will possess strong analytical and decision-making skills and have a strong commitment to support and facilitate collaborative efforts (Tasks, responsability, how to apply and more, please click here).

Executive Director:

The Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS) seeks an experienced association professional to serve as its executive director. The ideal candidate will have 10 years of senior executive experience in associations, NGOs, or US federal government. They will have a background or experience in science policy and/or scientific membership associations and federal grant administration and reporting experience. A Bachelor's degree is required. International experience, meetings management experience, a CAE credential, and Master's degree are preferred. A PhD is not required.

Incorporated in 1988, ARCUS exists to identify and bring together arctic research community resources to strengthen the community and address the many challenges facing the Arctic and the US. ARCUS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and organized and operated for educational, professional, or scientific purposes to advance arctic research and education. ARCUS has a $2 million annual operating budget and 14 staff. The executive is expected to split his or her time between Washington, DC and Fairbanks, Alaska and may reside in either location(For more information click here

 

 

 
Antarctica: Subglacial Lake Vostok has been reached
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Written by Federica   
Thursday, 29 January 2015 09:31

LakeVostok Location (source wikipedia) LakeVostok Location (source wikipedia) The Russian Geographical Society has announced that Russian scientists have finally completed the second drilling of Lake Vostok (Antarctica) and collected some clean water samples. Lake Vostok is believed to be the largest sub glacial lake in Antarctica, with an approximate size of 50x250  km. According to scientists, the lake has been eclogged in the ice half billion years ago and it may have been isolated form Earth ‘surface for several millions years, bearing good chances to have preserved traces of pristine life on Earth . The existance of lake was predicted by Russian scientists in the 1960s, when the " Vostok Research Station (Russia) was funded in inland Princess Elizabeth Land, Antarctica. A joint Russia-French-American research team has been working on reaching the surface of the lake (to collect samples of water) since the 90s. The surface of the lake ( approximately 4000 m under the ice) was eventually reached a first time in 2012, but the sample of the water collected were contaminated by the chemicals used for drilling. The second drilling was completed few days ago, and sample of clean water from the lake (no contaminated by the chemicals) have been collected. 

 

Here is the press release from the Russian Geographical Society:

On January 25 during the Russian Antarctic Expedition researchers got water samples from subglacial Lake Vostok in Antarctica. This was announced by Minister of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Sergey Donskoy: "After three years of hard work in the extreme Antarctic conditions the Russian polar explorers managed to complete the drilling of the well. Its depth along the length of the ice core is 3769.15m."

It is the second penetration into the relict lake. For the first time, the Russian scientists made their way to Vostok through the almost 4 km ice armor on February 5, 2012. They received the first water samples from the lake then, and found traces of living organisms in them. But drilling fluid from the well got into the samples, so the previously unknown life forms could not be clearly connected with Vostok.

To get clean water from the lake St. Petersburg Institute of Nuclear Physics (PINP) has created a special instrument. It is a two-meter titanium tube with a system of water pumping and heating. It can hold a liter of water and weights about 50 kg. The equipment has been thoroughly checked for leaks, the researchers have made sure that the drilling fluid consisting of a mixture of kerosene and freon does not get into it.

"This drilling is very important in terms of our priorities in research activities - Russian scientists are the only ones who can do it. The main objective of the drilling is to take samples of pure water that will get us the picture of what is happening in the lake," - said Honorable President of the Russian Geographical Society, Director of the Institute of Geography RAS, Academician Vladimir Kotlyakov.

 

(source: Russian Geographical Society

 

 
Obama administration moves to ban offshore drilling in parts of Alaska
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Written by Federica   
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 10:07

Alaska wildlife (source: wikipedia.org) Alaska wildlife (source: wikipedia.org) The US Department of Interior has released the news that the Obama administration has moved to ban offshore drilling in parts of Alaske to protect "Arctic National Wildlife Refuge". According to "The Wall Street Journal", the area concerned to preserve as wilderness is "nearly 13 million acres of land in the 19.8 million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including 1.5 million acres of coastal plains that is believed to have rich oil and natural gas resources". 

The Obama administration's effort for a more committed approach toward the environment provoked conflicting reactions in the US, especially in Alaska. the Wall Street Journal reports: "Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) vowed to fight the administration's moves from her positions heading both the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and the appropriations subcommittee responsible for funding the Interior Department. "It's clear this administration does not care about us, and sees us as nothing but a territory," Ms. Murkowski said in a statement Sunday after speaking by phone with Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Friday. "But we will not be run over like this. We will fight back with every resource at our disposal."

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE : 

WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama's Administration moved to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, widely considered one of the most spectacular and remote areas in the world. The Department of the Interior is releasing a conservation plan for the Refuge that for the first time recommends additional protections, and President Obama announced he will make an official recommendation to Congress to designate core areas of the refuge – including its Coastal Plain – as wilderness, the highest level of protection available to public lands. If Congress chooses to act, it would be the largest ever wilderness designation since Congress passed the visionary Wilderness Act over 50 years ago.

"Designating vast areas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as Wilderness reflects the significance this landscape holds for America and its wildlife," said Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell. "Just like Yosemite or the Grand Canyon, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is one of our nation's crown jewels and we have an obligation to preserve this spectacular place for generations to come."

Today's action builds upon years of public engagement by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revise the Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and complete an environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as required by law. The plan will guide the Service's management decisions for the next 15 years.

Based on the best available science and extensive public comment, the Service's preferred alternative recommends 12.28 million acres – including the Coastal Plain – for designation as wilderness. The Service also recommends four rivers – the Atigun, Hulahula, Kongakut, and Marsh Fork Canning – for inclusion into the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.

Currently, over 7 million acres of the refuge are managed as wilderness, consistent with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980. However, more than 60 percent of the refuge – including the Coastal Plain – does not carry that designation.

Designation as wilderness would protect and preserve the refuge, ensuring the land and water would remain unimpaired for use and enjoyment by future generations. Only Congress has the authority to designate Wilderness areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Recommendations for Wilderness or Wild and Scenic River designations require approval of the Service Director, Secretary of the Interior and the President. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today released the revised comprehensive conservation plan and final environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. While the Service is not soliciting further public comment on the revised plan/EIS, it will be available to the public for review for 30 days, after which, the record of decision will be published. At that point, the President will make the formal wilderness recommendation to Congress.

"The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge preserves a unique diversity of wildlife and habitat in a corner of America that is still wild and free," said Service Director Dan Ashe. "But it faces growing challenges that require a thoughtful and comprehensive management strategy. The incorporation of large portions of the refuge into the National Wilderness Preservation System will ensure we protect this outstanding landscape and its inhabitants for our children and generations that follow."

The revised plan/EIS addresses a variety of issues, including the protection of wildlife populations and their habitats, opportunities for fish- and wildlife-dependent recreation, subsistence needs of local inhabitants, and other public uses. The plan also strengthens wildlife and habitat monitoring, as well as the monitoring of public use of the refuge so as to better respond to changing conditions on the landscape, particularly those associated with climate change.

The 19.8 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is home to the most diverse wildlife in the arctic, including caribou, polar bears, gray wolves, and muskoxen. More than 200 species of birds, 37 land mammal species, eight marine mammal species and 42 species of fish call the vast refuge home. Lagoons, beaches, saltmarshes, tundra and forests make up the remote and undisturbed wild area that spans five distinct ecological regions.

The refuge holds special meaning to Alaska Natives, having sustained their lives and culture for thousands of years. The Gwich'in people refer to the Coastal Plain of the refuge as "The Sacred Place Where Life Begins," reflecting the area's importance to their community, maintaining healthy herds of caribou and an abundance of other wildlife.

 

Source: The Wall Street Journal and US Department of Interior

 

Watch the President discuss the need to protect Alaska environment here

 
Barents region and beyond: Internationalizing Higher Education
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Written by Federica   
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 09:36

Logo of the conference

The conference "Barents region and beyond: Internationalizing Higher Education" will be held on 2nd and 3rd June 2015 at University of Nordland, Bodø, Norway.
In a time and world portrayed as increasingly globalized, cooperation between higher educational institutions (HEIs) is no more an odd event – rather, it has become a norm. But what do we know about such cooperation? What does international collaboration in education result in, for students, faculty and the involved nations? What can we learn from previous projects and what more do we need to know to being able to guarantee that such projects result in a successful outcome? Is it worthwhile to start up projects of international collaboration in education?
This conference is meant to be an arena for the exchange of knowledge, debate and discussion on International Educational Collaboration involving two or more HEIs.
At the conference, scholars who have taken part in the NORRUSS project titled "Higher Education in the High North: Regional Restructuring through Educational Exchanges and Student Mobility", as teachers or researchers, will present research on their own experiences from an international collaboration in education between seven HEIs in North West Russia and HEIs in the northern part of Norway. Others are welcome to present their research on projects that likewise have dealt with internationalizing higher education. In addition to research papers, we also welcome presentations of reflected best-practices.
Keynote speakers:

  • Susan Robertson, professor of Sociology of Education at the University of Bristol, UK
  • Roger Dale, professor of Education at the University of Bristol, UK
  • Vera Skorobogatova, journalist and a lawyer, Russia
  • Scott Thoe, artist, Lofoten, Norway
  • Ingvild Broch associate professor emeritus; Doctor honoris cause at Pomor State University Arkhangelsk, Russia, formerly special adviser, Norwegian Association for Higher Education Institutions
  • Peter Maassen professor in Higher Education Studies, University of Oslo Norway
  • Rune Rafaelsen, head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat

 

For more information, and to register for the conference, please click here

 

 
Apply for funding: NORA Digital Arctic 2015
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Written by Federica   
Monday, 26 January 2015 10:15

Greenland (source:Getty Images) Greenland (source:Getty Images) We publish here the call by NORA to fund project idea focused on the use of ICT in the sparsely populated regions of the North Atlantic and the Arctic.

"Are you from Greenland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands or coastal Norway? Do you have a project idea focused on the use of ICT in the sparsely populated regions of the North Atlantic and the Arctic? Would you like to implement your project with partners from the NORA-region? Then read on.

NORA wants to follow up Digital Arctic with collaborative projects within the conference theme. In 2015, we therefore particularly encourage ICT-related project applications.

If you have a project proposal and partner group ready you can apply for a NORA project grant of maximum DKK 500.000. NORA has two annual application rounds, with deadlines on March 9 and October 5 for 2015.

If you have a provisional project idea and a group of potential partners, you can apply to NORA for travel support to meet and develop a consolidated project proposal. In 2015 you can apply for a maximum of DKK 30.000. Applications for travel support may be submitted and will be processed continuously independent of the usual deadlines.

More detailed information on application process and requirements can be found in the NORA Guide for Project Funding.

If you have a project idea, but lack partners in other NORA countries, you are welcome to take advantage of our regional network in your search for partners. The regional contact points and the main secretariat in the Faroe Islands will be happy to assist to you.

For further information, please contact the main secretariat at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or +298 30 69 90".

 

Read more here

 
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