12 May 2010

Experts Praise Mistra Arctic Futures

Mistra has decided to invest in social science research centered on the Arctic. The decision is well-substantiated thanks to an international planning team´s work developing the basis for the call.

The vast majority of Arctic Studies are of a scientific nature, but there are also studies that have a social science orientation. Mistra has, by studying the social science research found that there is no Swedish research in the field.
Meet those included in the international planning team developing  the basis for the call: Joan Nymand Larsen at the Stefansson Arctic Institute and the University of Akureyri in Iceland, Mari Beth Murray of the International Arctic Research Center in the U.S. and Tomas Ries of the National Defense College in Stockholm.  Anders Karlqvist was the team leader.

Joan Nymand Larsen
PhD and senior researcher at the Stefansson Arctic Institute in Akureyri, Iceland, is an expert on economics and social science research in the Arctic.

What has been the most important area for you regarding this call?

  • To strengthen Swedish expertise in social and interdisciplinary research pertaining to the Arctic.
  • The inclusion of the Nordic economy and the implications of opening-up the Arctic: greater accessibility, impact on natural resources, environment, the Arctic population and quality of life in the north.
  • There are knowledge gaps regarding the economic conditions of the North as well as the impact of globalization and the resulting effects.
  • That we arrive at a deeper and more varied understanding of the changes taking place in the Arctic. The economic changes bring about further demands on interdisciplinary research and future-studies of the Arctic in a global context.

What would you like to find in the applications?

  • A solid understanding of the Arctic as a region facing unique challenges that require unique solutions.
  • Applications that highlight the challenges for data management of arctic research, with a plan for how to overcome challenges.
  • The same in regard to economic and empirical studies.
  • Ambitions to create a strong research milieu in order to strengthen the Swedish social scientific research in the Arctic.
  • Plans to build international networks with other Arctic countries.
  • Focus on the consequences for the Arctic and Swedish society as a result of global change.

Maribeth Murray
Associate Professor of Anthropology and the International Arctic search Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks and Executive Director of the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC), Stockholm.

What has been the most important area for you regarding this call?

  • To secure the interdisciplinary perspective and relevance in Arctic research.
  • To complement the ongoing international initiatives and to support research in areas that currently are not researched enough, in order to build capacity in new areas.

What would you like to find in the applications?

  • I would like to see applications dealing with well-defined research problems with high societal relevance.   I would also like to see applications where international cooperation is seen as an important condition securing the development of Swedish Arctic research.
  • The applications should take a comprehensive view, where the Arctic is seen as an ecosystem linked to a larger global system. The approach should be multidisciplinary and the research should focus on areas that are under-represented in the Arctic research.

Tomas Ries
PhD and lecturer at the National Defence College, former director of the Institute of International Affairs.

What has been the most important area for you regarding this call?

  • A complete change of how we view the Arctic within the next decade.
  • The globalization’s impact on the Arctic in a very broad perspective:  global, social, political, economic, technological and ecological dimensions.
  • The need in Sweden to a) strengthen research regarding the social, political, economic and technological change;  b) examine the consequences globally, for NATO,  the EU and Sweden and c) explore the challenges and opportunities for the Swedish society, industry and Swedish security policy.

What would you like to find in the applications?

  • The impact of globalization in the Arctic and the main aspects for the Arctic.
  • The projects to have a broad collaborative perspective that provides a coherent analysis. “Not microscopic, reductionist studies of stove-piped issues.”
  • A focus on the critical implications for safety (in the broad sense)—which preserves the Arctic, and the functioning habitats there.
  • An analysis of what the impacts are on Sweden from changes in the Arctic.

Mistra Mistra