The Association of Early Polar Career Scientists (APECS) held its first world summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, from June 6-8, 2015.
Sixty-six early career scientists and APECS members, representing 25 countries and 20 APECS National Committees (NCs) participated in the event. In addition, 12 senior scientists and professionals attended the summit (2 of them remotely), supporting APECS as mentors. The diversity of the summit participants was not only characterised by their origin but also academic field and profession. Yet, all participants had a sincere interest in the Polar Regions in common. The APECS World Summit was considered a bi-Polar event, equally committed to the Arctic and the Antarctic.
The programme of the summit constituted three full days and was structured into 4 workshops:
- Training workshop on Data Sharing and Open Science in Polar Research
- Workshop on The Future of Polar Research
- Workshop on Science Communication
- Workshop on The APECS Network and Future Directions
Workshops included presentations by invited mentors as well as the APECS leadership and NC representatives, breakout sessions, a panel discussion, and consultations and discussions within the plenary. The full program, including list of mentors, participants, and sponsors is at: http://www.apecs.is/events/upcoming-event-highlights/apecs-world-summit-2015.html.
In the evenings during the summit, several social events took place; an icebreaker reception on the night before the opening of the summit, an informal dinner with traditional Bulgarian dance performances, and the conference dinner. These events fostered interactions between participants. Mentors were also invited and joined the social events.
The summit was generally perceived as a great success. APECS is planning to continue convening world summits on a regular basis, every 2 to 5 years.
Major outcomes of the Summit included: an understanding of the importance of open data, and how open science can be accomplished through the use of databases, data standardization, and data publications, a vision of the future directions of polar research, which includes increased understanding of the global impacts of what happens at both poles, and a focus on human interactions and warming in the Arctic and changes in the Southern Ocean and to ice in the Antarctic. In addition, Letters of Agreement were signed between APECS and National Committees from Canada, India, Switzerland, the United States, and Russia. Welcome to our new National Committees!