The largest international gathering in the history of the Faroe Islands took place in early May 2018 – the Arctic Circle Forum on the topic of “Arctic Hubs: Building Dynamic Economies and Sustainable Communities in the North.” With over 300 participants from 20 countries, this meeting convened interesting discussions about connectivity, impactful action, and life in the North.

IASC contributed by convening a plenary panel discussion on “Arctic Research Hubs.” This session got some good discussion going on Twitter. The panel explored the relative roles of hubs and networks in connecting Arctic research, and the important complementary roles of physical and virtual connection. Panelists included Embla Eir Oddsdottir (Director, Icelandic Arctic Cooperation Network (part of Arctic Akureyri), Eyjólfur Guðmundsson (Rector, University of Akureyri), Margareta Johansson (Coordinator, INTERACT), and Jessica Rohde (Communications Officer, IARPC Collaborations) and was moderated by IASC Executive Secretary Allen Pope. The panel highlighted successes such as growth based on shared value and innovative programs which would have been impossible without collaboration, as well as the important of identifying enthusiastic champions and providing them with appropriate incentives and training. The panel also explored discussions around ownership of hubs and networks, self awareness of positioning within a community, the need to build cultural literacy and shared understanding, and visioning hubs more as nodes of creativity within a network that facilitations collaboration and flow of people and ideas.

IASC also contributed to a breakout panel session on “International Science Cooperation for Sustainable Arctic Communities” convened by the UK Science and Innovation Network. This panel also highlighted the important role of “translating” between communities. One takeaway was that more flexibility is needed in funding to make Polar research truly international and interdisciplinary.

Thank you to the Arctic Circle for providing a dynamic venue for discussion among a range of Arctic communities. IASC plans to convene a discussion around Arctic Science and Business/Industry Cooperation at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavík this coming October.

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