NERC Arctic Office Bulletin – November 2019

26th November 2019

Welcome to the November 2019 Arctic Office Bulletin. The last Bulletin was in the summer, so there is plenty to update you on. Please visit and follow us on Twitter via @Arctic_Office for all the latest news and information. Your feedback and suggestions are always welcome.

If you have received this Bulletin via a colleague, why not register at and receive it direct in future, along with other updates and important news items? We aim to keep all updates brief and focussed.

UK Arctic Conference 2019

Thank you to everyone who participated in the UK Arctic Science Conference in mid-September, as well as the team at Loughborough University who organised such an excellent event. With over 120 registered attendees, 35 talks and 40 posters, and with international representation from Russia and beyond, this was another successful coming together of the diverse scientific interests and connections of the UK Arctic research community. There was a well-attended horizon scanning event during the middle of the conference, looking at the emerging Arctic research priorities and opportunities over the next 5-20 years. The outputs from that session will be discussed at the next UK Arctic and Antarctic Partnership (UKAAP) meeting on 9 December and the details will be published on the UKAAP website. Details of the venue and date for the next UK Arctic Conference in 2021 will follow next year.

UK-Canada Arctic Bursaries Programme 2020-21

Open to all UK-based researchers, the Programme focuses on supporting researchers to join Canadian-led teams for fieldwork between April 2020 and March 2021. Bursaries of up to £20,000 are available, although applications for smaller sums are encouraged. Applicants must demonstrate the practical commitment of the Canadian PI as part of the application. The aim is for collaborations to lead onto longer-term projects and joint work between the partners. The Programme has so far supported over 40 visits by UK-based teams to Canada, covering a wide range of marine, terrestrial, cryosphere, atmosphere and social and human disciplines. Applications for the coming season must be received by Friday 10 January and potential applicants are encouraged to contact the Arctic Office to discuss their ideas before submitting an application. Full details available here:

Developing stronger Arctic research links with Canada

Canada is a high priority country for UK Arctic research links. The Changing Canadian Arctic Workshop held in June in London brought together a very broad range of researchers from across the UK and Canada, including representatives from the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, the Canadian High Commission in London and representatives from Quebec research bodies and Delegation to the UK. The workshop proceedings are available here: Intensive work has continued since on both sides of the Atlantic since then to strengthen the links and to further develop the potential for a major piece of jointly-supported multi-disciplinary research. The NERC Arctic Office will be present at the forthcoming ArcticNet meeting in Halifax, along with a number of the UK-Canada Bursary recipients who are presenting their work, and the development work will continue there and elsewhere.

International Arctic Science Committee & Arctic Science Summit Week 2020

Congratulations to Dr Ingrid Medby, Oxford Brookes University, who joins the IASC Social and Human Working Group as one of the UK’s two representatives. The UK has full representation on all the IASC Working Groups – Marine, Atmosphere, Cryosphere, Terrestrial, and Social and Human. Details of all the UK representatives with links to their contact details are listed here: Please do get in touch with these representatives if want to know more about each of the Working Groups, their roles and opportunities to get engaged. Each of the Working Groups has a small operational budget which they can use to support a range of theme-specific and cross-cutting initiatives.

The next meetings of the IASC Working Groups will take place at the start of the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) in Akureyri, Iceland (27 March – 2 April 2020). This year the ASSW will also include the biannual Arctic Observing Summit (AOS) (31 March – 2 April). The ASSW and AOS are very good opportunities to develop contacts and build up research and policy networks. IASC and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) provide travel support for a range of groups, including early career researchers. The deadline for applications to this fund is 12 December. Further details and the application form are available here:

UK-Russia Arctic Bursaries Programme 2019

There was a strong level of interest in this Programme aimed at supporting new connections between UK-based researchers and Russian researchers and institutions advertised back in July. There were very good applications to bring together new joint teams, access field stations, data sets and laboratories in Russia and to work together on joint research proposals in 2019-20. All the applicants have now been notified of the outcome of their bid and plans are underway for the detailed work in each project. Once all the official agreements are in place we will provide a link to a list of all the successful projects. The Programme is an important new element to the range of work that has been supported by the NERC Arctic Office and others focused on forging new research links, connecting early career researchers, providing new opportunities for joint training courses and thematic workshops. We are committed to expanding opportunities wherever we can and keen to hear your thoughts and suggestions. In the meantime if you are looking to make new connections with Russian researchers and you feel that a supportive letter from the International Arctic Science Committee which references your work, highlights the importance of international collaboration and the aspirations for the Agreement on International Arctic Scientific Cooperation in the Arctic would be helpful, please let us know and we will put you in touch.

MOSAiC International Arctic Expedition up and running

Seven teams of UK-based researchers are taking part in the once in a generation MOSAiC expedition on the RV Polarstern. Now relatively safely ensconced in the ice at N86°4 the first official leg of the cruise is about to come to an end with the arrival of a new team of researchers on board a Russian icebreaker and the swapping of teams and ship personnel in December. The MOSAiC Seasonal Evolution team (PI Prof Julienne Stroeve, UCL) are about to join the ship for the next leg, following on from the MOSAiC Boundary Layer (PI Prof Ian Brooks, Leeds) and MOSAiC SSAASI-CLIM (PI Dr Markus Frey, BAS) teams which were heavily involved in the first phase. You can see all the UK teams who will be taking part in the expedition here: and follow the excellent expedition website for daily blogs, the latest pictures and other information through: as well as more detailed information on the expedition here:

NERC Arctic Research Station

2019 was a good season for the UK’s Arctic Research Station in Svalbard, supporting a broad range of terrestrial, marine and cryosphere projects from across the UK, and internationally through the INTERACT trans-national access programme. The Station, funded by NERC and operated by BAS, is available to support UK-based researchers across a very broad range of science and those funded from a wide variety of sources – UKRI, university, research centre, EU, Leverhulme and beyond. Travel time to the Station is usually less than 36 hours from the UK through mostly scheduled flights. As always we want to support the best available proposals and it’s certainly not too late for you to think about time at the Station in your plans for 2020. If you are interested in using the Station lots more information on the facilities and other practical information is available here: We strongly encourage you to contact the Station Manager, Nick Cox, as soon as possible if you are interested in using the facilities. We will be running another NERC Arctic Station Day in early spring 2020 before the start of the season. All are welcome and it’s a fantastic opportunity to find out how the Station can support your research and meet researchers who have worked there and who will be going there in coming season. Details of the day will be publicised soon. For researchers based outside the UK, the Station will be included within the next phase of INTERACT and fully funded opportunities to use it will be available through that route.

IASC Medal – nominations still open

The IASC Medal is awarded in recognition of exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic. It is normally presented during the Arctic Science Summit Week. The deadline for applications is 31 December. The nomination process is not complicated and if you know of someone who you think deserves this award the form and further details can be found here:

Arctic Office website Blog

Interested in writing a Blog?  As well as sections on research, the NERC Arctic Station, and resources, the NERC Arctic Office website hosts a Blog section. We very much welcome offers to contribute to this Blog with guest authors drawing on their research, visits or conferences or other interesting developments. Please get in contact if you have ideas –!

Contact details

Henry Burgess, Head, NERC Arctic Office Tel: 01223 221426

Nicola Munro, NERC Arctic Office Tel: 01223 221468

Nick Cox, NERC Arctic Research Station Manager