Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

Not all non-academic career researchers started out as such, and their paths are as diverse as the exciting work that they do. The researcher profiles featured here consist of a series of short bios and interview responses that help to illustrate the myriad ways in which one can become involved in a non-academic career path, as well as what those careers might entail.

Profile 1: Lawrence Hislop - CliC

Lawrence Hislop.pngLawrence Hislop is from Montreal, Canada and has more than ten years of international experience leading UN and EU funded projects, and has produced many environmental assessments and related communications products. From 2009-2014, Lawrence led the Polar and Cryosphere programme at GRID-Arendal in Norway and collaborated on projects with the Arctic Council, University of the Arctic and UNEP-linked activities in Polar and mountain regions. He was also on the management team of the Himalayan Climate Adaptation Programme (HICAP) from 2011 - 2014 and initiated long-term research on environmental impacts in Nepal, India, Pakistan and China. In addition to his research work, Lawrence also produces documentary photography, films and infographics.

Profile 2: Laura Forsström - Academy of Finland

LauraForsström.jpgLaura Forsström is a Science Adviser in the Biosciences and Environment Research Unit at the Academy of Finland. She has a Ph.D. in hydrobiology from the University of Helsinki (2007) and worked as a post-doctoral researcher during 2007-2013, focusing on carbon flux and the role of organic matter in arctic freshwater ecosystems. Her field work covered Finnish Lapland, Komi Region in Russia, NE Greenland and Northern Quebec, Canada. She has also worked as a Senior Officer at Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment, Uusimaa, Finland, and as a Conservation Officer at WWF. Laura is a member of the Freshwater Expert Network of CAFF’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Programme and has been a visiting teacher at Arctic Winter Limnology field course in Svalbard, The University Centre in Svalbard, for several years.

Profile 3: Evan Shaun Richardson - Environment and Climate Change Canada


Evan Richardson Western Hudson Baycr.jpg

Evan Richardson is a Polar Bear Research Biologist with the Wildlife Research Division in the Science and Technology Branch of Environment Canada. Evan is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba where he completed his undergraduate degree in Zoology at the University of Manitoba. He began working in western Hudson Bay as an undergraduate student doing research on arctic and red fox den site selection. Evan began working on polar bears in 2001 for his MSc. and continued studying polar bears for his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta. He has been involved in polar bear research in several of Canada’s polar bear subpopulations including the western Hudson Bay, southern Beaufort Sea, northern Beaufort and Viscount Melville polar bear populations.

Evan’s research interests are broad and include understanding the evolutionary ecology of polar bears, their mating systems, population genetics, habitat selection and the influence of stressors (e.g. contaminants, climate, industrial development) on polar bear populations. Evan also works with aboriginal organizations to try help integrate Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into polar bear management. He has been a member of the IUCN/SSC Polar Bear Specialist Group since 2013.

Profile 4: Vicki Sahanatien - Nunavut Wildlife


Vickihead1.jpgVicki Sahanatien has lived and worked in the Arctic since the mid-1990s when she moved to Inuvik, Northwest Territories to work in Ivvavik National Park and be the first female Chief Park Warden in Canada. Since that time, she worked in the environmental and wildlife research fields from the Alaska border to Baffin Island and north to Ellesmere Island.

Her most recentresearch effort was completing her Ph.D. (2015, University of Alberta) on the Polar Bears of Foxe Basin, Nunavut, Canada, where she studied polar bear sea ice habitat, space use and movements. As part of her doctoral research, she also interviewed Inuit elders and hunters about polar bear behaviour, distribution and habitat use. Throughout her career, Vicki has worked with indigenous people incorporating their traditional knowledge in land management, monitoring and research programs.

Vicki is the Director of Wildlife Management of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board (NWMB). The NWMB is an independent tribunal established by the Nunavut Agreement and is the main instrument of wildlife management and regulator of access to wildlife in the Nunavut Settlement Area. It makes decisions on total allowable harvest, quotas, non-quota limitations, basic needs levels, and habitat protection for terrestrial and marine wildlife species. The NWMB also provides advice on marine management the offshore areas adjacent the Nunavut Settlement Area. The NWMB vision is “conserving wildlife through application of Inuit Qauimajatuqangit and scientific knowledge.”

Vicki is a member of the Range States Human-Polar Bear Conflict Working Group, Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS-Canada), and City of Iqaluit Recreation Committee. Vicki has been based in Iqaluit since 2000. She loves the arctic wilderness and particularly enjoys the 7 month ski season on Baffin Island where she lives.

Profile 5: Clive Desiré-Tesar - WWF

Clive TesarClive Tesar is an educator and contractor in Arctic communications and policy. He worked for more than a decade as a journalist, starting in print, then working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a reporter, host, and editor mostly in the Canadian north.

After journalism, he worked as a contractor, mostly specializing in Arctic and Indigenous issues. During this time, Clive worked for the Indigenous Peoples’ Secretariat of the Arctic Council, Canadian federal and territorial governments and NGOs. He delivered research and designed strategies and communications products that produced measurable benefits for his clients, improving public education on issues, and achieving changes in policy.

This left Clive with a good understanding of Arctic issues, and the perspectives of national and regional governments, the NGO sector, and Indigenous peoples’ organizations. For nine years, Clive was the Head of Communications and External Relations for WWF’s Global Arctic Programme.

Profile 6: Gwénaëlle Hamon - WCRP and CliC

Gwen Hamon Gwénaëlle Hamon is the Executive Officer of the World Climate Research Programme’s (WCRP) Climate and Cryosphere Project (CliC), hosted at the Norwegian Polar Institute ( in Tromsø, Norway. She has more than eight years of experience in environmental project management and holds a Master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Studies from the University Paris-Sud XI in France. Her first experience working on international environmental projects was through a marine bio-prospecting internship at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in 2007. From 2009 to 2014, she worked as a project officer at the Global Ocean Forum, a non-governmental organization, based at the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy of the University of Delaware in the USA, where she coordinated activities related to ocean governance. After her first visit to Tromsø in early 2014, Gwen knew that she would be back in the Arctic eventually!

In September 2014, she joined the CliC office in Tromsø to work with the team on the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis project as well as other CliC activities. She became the CliC Executive Officer in January 2015.

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