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12 September 2014

Top international job for Programme Director

The International Arctic Social Science Organization (IASSA) is to be headed from Sweden, and its activities will be transferred to the Arctic Centre at Umeå University. The reason is that the new Director of the Arctic Centre is Peter Sköld, who also heads the Mistra Arctic Sustainable Development programme.

‘I’ve taken up a great challenge. I want to join in paving the way for the research that’s needed to bring about the sustainable development we so often talk about, but so seldom define,’ says Peter Sköld.

Besides being Programme Director, Sköld is also the Director of the Arctic Centre at Umeå University (Arcum), to which the IASSA Secretariat is to relocate. There, the ezine Northern Notes will be produced, and IASSA’s International Congress of Arctic Social Science (ICASS) is to be held in Umeå for the ninth time in 2017.

As its name indicates, IASSA is a research body that covers Arctic-related research in the humanities and social sciences. More than 20 countries and 1,500 researchers are members. In recent years China, South Korea and countries outside the Arctic Region have become increasingly active.

As Director, Peter Sköld will head the IASSA Council, comprising nine research managers.

‘When I spoke to the Council’s Congress in Prince George at the end of May, I emphasised new collaborations as being among the big challenges. I’d like to see more international collaborative projects, more involving education and interdisciplinary cooperation, and more joint ventures outside academia.’

On the home front, Sköld expects favourable development for research in humanities and social sciences. He sees that numerous projects are under way and there are proficient researchers involved.

‘Before the summer, we started the Mistra venture known as “New Governance for Sustainable Development in the European Arctic”, with 36 researchers from eight universities and institutes. Carina Keskitalo and I are heading it jointly. We hope this is just the beginning of a more target-oriented initiative in Arctic research from the Swedish research councils,’ Sköld concludes.

Text: Thomas Heldmark, Vetenskapsjournalisterna


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