On November 27-28 2018, the conference and workshop Societal relevance of polar research was held in the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences in Sopot, Poland. The event, which aroused much interest among the participants from Czech Republic, Germany, Norway, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, the US, was organized under auspices of the IASC, IASSA, the University of Arctic and with kind financial support from the IASC Working Groups. The meeting gathered representatives of many research institutes, universities, school teachers and educators, officials from governments, environmentalists, journalists, writers, photographers and film makers. It was composed of 3 plenary panels with 15 presentations, Q&A sessions, photographic and graphic exhibitions and workshop. This variety of participants and forms of discussion became source of many interesting exchanges of scientific perspectives, practical insights and personal experiences.
The main premise of this meeting was a growing awareness of researchers from different fields of natural sciences, social science and humanities about significance and impact of their research in polar regions for the wider society that sometimes are not taken for granted or even are disputed. In many discussions of the first day the questions of the role of different knowledges, effectiveness of diverse science communication channels and education, quantity and quality of massages about the developments taking place in the both polar region were identified as key issues for leveraging of the societal relevance of polar research.
During the second day of the meeting participants brain-stormed on research projects aiming to better understand how the polar research is perceived and understood by different communities, by decision makers, by media as well as opinion trendsetters in national and transnational scales, both in the Arctic and beyond.
The conference was an excellent opportunity for development of networks of individuals and institutions interested in closer cooperation on questions related to societal relevance of polar research and in preparing joint proposals to international funding programs.
For more information on this event, check the website.