Association of Polar Early Career Scientists

News from and about the wider APECS Network. If you have an article to contribute, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or submit via our reporting forms for APECS National Committees

Call for Abstracts now open for the APECS International Online Conference 2018

Online Conference logo 2018 3 no dayThe Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is proud to announce the 4th annual APECS International Online Conference to be live-streamed on 16 May 2018. This year’s theme, “Butterfly Effect: Small Changes, Big Impact,” challenges polar scientists to communicate the impacts of changes occurring in and connected to polar and alpine regions, including their environment, local communities, science methods, and policy and education.

The Poles are dynamic and complex regions, vulnerable to the effects of climatic and other changes, and inextricably linked to the rest of the globe. The concept of the butterfly effect was originally coined by Edward Lorenz to illustrate how a tornado could be affected by minor changes, such as the flapping of butterfly wings far away and several weeks earlier. This concept also has broader applications. For example, a change in the mid-latitudes can effect changes at the Poles and vice-versa; minute temperature changes can significantly impact local communities or ecosystems; the development of new scientific methods and technologies can generate answers to outstanding questions and open new fields of research; in the wake of shifting global politics, a small alteration to a document can modify treaty impacts and lead to significant consequences; a small act in your community, such as sharing your science at a local school, can inspire and mold future visions for our planet.This year, APECS challenges the scientific community to make an impact by presenting the large and the small of their research ideas, methods, and outcomes: a short presentation in our one-day virtual event can have a significant impact, both on you and the audience of the 4th APECS International Online Conference!

Abstract submission is now open until 2 March 2018 at 22:00 GMT. More detailed information on the call for abstract, the presentation formats, abstract guidelines as well as the abstract submission form can be found on the APECS International Online Conference 2018 website.

We will award three prizes this year for the best Oral Presentations (Arctic and Antarctic) and the best Innovative Communication!

POLAR2018 ECR Poster Awards (and judges!)

apecs logo web

iasc webSCAR logo white backgroundAPECS, SCAR and IASC are organizing an Early Career Research Poster Award. If you would like to be included in this competition, please fill in this form. There are no strict definitions of 'early career'; SCAR and IASC generally consider early career to be within 5 years of a terminal degree, but we trust your judgement! You will be judged on both the visual AND oral presentation of your poster, and you should therefore plan to be present at your poster during the relevant poster session.

In order that the poster competition is a success, we require the help of volunteer judges (of all career stages, as long as you are not entered in the competition!). As a judge, you will be asked to evaluate and provide constructive feedback on a handful of posters using a set of defined criteria. Your help would be very much appreciated by the ECRs! Please also fill in this form if you would be able to help at one or more of the poster sessions.

Travel Awards available to attend POLAR2018 - Apply by 28 February!

apecs logo webSCAR logo white backgroundiasc webPOLAR2018The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) in cooperation with the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) are pleased to announce the availability of travel support for the POLAR 2018 Conference  (15 - 26 June 2018, Davos Switzerland)

Travel support via this process is currently available for:

  • Early career researchers up to 5 years past PhD with an Arctic and / or Antarctic and / or Cryospheric research focus (an allowance will be made for career breaks such as parental leave)
  • Indigenous researchers of all career stages (defined as researchers who are of Arctic Indigenous heritage, in particular those represented by the Arctic Council Permanent Participants)

APECS will be administering the funds provided by IASC and SCAR and will coordinate the application and distribution process of the funds on behalf of these organisations. We are continuing to work with other polar organisations to raise additional funds and encourage our partner organisations to get in touch with the APECS Secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you want to take advantage of having your early career travel funds for the conference distributed via this APECS-led application process.

These travel awards will only be able to cover part of your travel costs and the costs will be reimbursed after the meeting based on receipts that you provide (unfortunately, upfront payment is not possible).

Please read the more detailed announcement text and requirements for the funding and submit your application via the online form on the APECS website.

Application deadline for the Travel Awards will be on 28 February 2018 at 23:59 GMT. Late applications will not be considered. No exceptions will be made.

If you have any questions please contact the APECS Secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

UK-Russia Arctic Research ECR Collaborations

UK Russia Workshop2018The National Committees of APECS in Russia (APECS Russia) and the UK (UK Polar Network), NERC Arctic Office, The Faculty of Geography Lomonosov Moscow State University, Marine Research Center of Lomonosov Moscow State University in partnership with the UK Science and Innovation Network in Russia and the British Embassy in Moscow will held the UK-Russia ECRs workshop devoted to the Arctic research priorities and collaborations on 1-2 March 2018, at Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.

The Workshop will get together 50 participants including 40 early-career researchers to discuss the ongoing bi-lateral research projects and future priorities for joint scientific collaborations, and possibilities to build longstanding partnerships.

Links to APECS Russia:
Links to UKPN:

APECS Norway is seeking a logo

APECS Norway logo competitionThe Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) aims to stimulate interdisciplinary and international research collaborations in polar research. APECS Norway is a newly formed chapter to connect those based in or interested in activities in Norway.

In order to share this exciting news and the role of our broader organization, we would like find a new APECS Norway logo. We would like to invite all members to design and create an APECS Norway logo which reflects the polar regions, and with a bit of Norwegian 'inspirasjon'.

We invite all APECS members to send us a logo in .pdf .eps .jpg .png or .tif-format by Tuesday 20th February 2018 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.! All entries will be uploaded to the APECS Norway facebook page after this date where the public can see and vote for their favourite until 6th March (note, that you don't have to be a facebook member in order to vote in the poll). The top 5 will be reviewed by members of the APECS Norway National Committee who will choose the best logo! The design will be used on APECS Norway materials so plenty of future glory for the winner.

The original APECS logo in various formats is available on the APECS website. N.b. the orange colour is (RGB 241,106,34) and the Blue is (RGB 0,77,140), and the text font is Optima Bold. Though you are encouraged to be creative - check out the various other National logos.

Any questions: please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

Lykke til/Good luck!

Erica Oberndorfer and Thomas Lameris are the Inaugural CAFF-IASC Fellows!

CAFF-IASC Fellows in 2018 Erica Oberndorfur and Thomas Lameris
Thomas Lameris
and Erica Oberndorfer are the inaugural CAFF-IASC Fellows!

The Conservation of Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) welcome Thomas Lameris and Erica Oberndorfer to the inaugural CAFF-IASC Fellowship in 2018.

CAFF and IASC have teamed up together to provide Fellows with an opportunity to identify an area of interest and expertise, participate in and contribute to CAFF’s work, and produce at least one peer reviewed publication and/or deliverable report to the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials.

The selection process was organized in cooperation with the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), who managed the applications and coordinated the work of independent, volunteer reviewers to evaluate and recommend the highest quality candidates. The final selection was made in consultation with CAFF and IASC.

Lameris and Oberndorfer will begin their Fellowship by attending the CAFF Board Meeting February 6-8, 2018 in Fairbanks, Alaska. After this initial introduction, they will delve into their respective projects and continue with appropriate meeting(s), and advance the work of the groups on which they will focus. In addition, they are expected to contribute to the program of the Arctic Biodiversity Congress, 2018.

Lameris will focus his activities on CAFF’s Arctic Migratory Birds Initiative (AMBI) and Oberndorfer will focus on CAFF’s Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program’s (CBMP) Terrestrial work.

Lameris is a bird ecologist, mainly focusing on the impacts of climate warming on phenology and reproduction of Arctic migratory birds. During his MSc at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands (2013), he studied the effects of anthropogenic land use changes on breeding birds. He shifted in focus to climate warming effects during his PhD, where he studied barnacle geese that migrate from wintering grounds in Western Europe to breeding grounds in Arctic Russia. He is currently finishing up his PhD thesis, and starting his post-doc work on the effects of climate warming on the growth of red knots that breed in the Russian Arctic.

Oberndorfer received her PhD from Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada) in 2016 and is a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Labrador Institute in Happy Valley-Goose Bay (Labrador, Canada), where she lives. Her work is guided by plant mentors in the Inuit Community of Makkovik (Nunatsiavut), with a view to understanding how plants are integrated into daily life in the region, and how plant communities express the ecological legacy of cultural practices in Labrador. She is currently working on the Makkovik Plant Book, a community book focused on the teachings of Makkovimiut plant mentors.

CAFF and IASC welcome Lameris and Oberndorfer and thank APECS for helping to promote the Fellowship and securing the successful candidates.

USAPECS Workshop: Making Your Communication More Effective

b_670_446_16777215_00_images_news_2018__DSC4913_Large.jpgYou may have heard some version of the phrase “If I had more time, I would have written a shorter letter.” This statement has been accredited to many great people from Mark Twain to Cicero to Winston Churchill, but it was actually Blaise Pascal - a French mathematician, theologian, physicist and inventor - who penned the original that has been paraphrased for nearly 400 years.

Although Pascal championed his way through many fields of science in the 17th century, his wit still offers a good lesson in humility to scientists today when it comes to communicating their research. Putting complex ideas into simple, direct language can take a lot of effort, as a group of us recently learned.

For three days in August 2017, thirty-two researchers from around the world (the majority of whom were early career) gathered at the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA for a workshop to improve their skills at “Communicating Polar Science". Sponsored by NSF and NASA, and co-organized by IGS, APECS and USAPECS, this event was led by science communication professionals.

The first two days focused on oral communication, led by instructors from the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University. Using role playing exercises and games from the world of improvisation, we learned how to connect with a range of audiences by finding common ground, telling stories, and painting evocative pictures.

Our first lesson was that communicating well requires listening and thinking from the perspective of your audience. Our instructors illustrated this point by noting how reading a scientific paper for a layperson is like someone with no knowledge of baseball trying to read a technical newspaper account of a game. In a parallel to oral communication, we performed an improve exercise in pairs in which one person had to precisely mirror the motions of the other. When in the role of the leader, we realized we had to adapt the speed and complexity of our motions so that the copier could follow, in the same way that a great communicator reads and adapts to the reactions of their audience. We also practiced techniques to better get to know and understand our audience. For instance, asking questions to establish their level of understanding, or breaking an opponent’s views down into shared core values (e.g. equality, honesty) when in a debate to reveal their line of reasoning.

Another key skill we honed at the workshop was how to engage an audience and convey a foreign concept using metaphors and analogies, along with movie quotes and song lyrics. Learning by doing, we practiced giving TV interviews; each being filmed and then critiqued by the group. Feedback covered tone (e.g. show more passion), clarity (e.g. shorter sentences, repeat key points) and body language (e.g. more eye contact, stay present). This collaborative format nurtured team building, too: participants began to coach one another, and as the paths of communication opened up, everyone became more animated and confident. We also learned the power of putting your key message up front and then using repetition to embed it in the minds of your audience. Other highlighted techniques included stating something surprising about your research, or showing how it relates to your audiences’ lives to create intrigue, and revealing why you care about what you study to generate rapport.

DHIEfx-V0AA9QgQ.jpgThe final day of the workshop focused on written communication. Dr. Max Boykoff and his team from the Center for Science and Technology Policy at CU Boulder provided new perspectives on how to develop different writing styles for different media, from academic journal articles to social media posts. We learned how to build a Twitter following by finding your niche tweeting topic, along with sharing parts of your non-scientist personality, like external interests. Studying examples, we saw how photographs (e.g. animal encounters), short videos (e.g. interviews) and graphics can make a critical difference in achieving a wide reach. Comparing and discussing articles in groups, we saw how keeping language free of jargon, using a frame (e.g. adventure journalism), and incorporating characters and human interest (e.g. food) could be employed to great effect.

The workshop provided many opportunities to step outside one’s comfort zone and to develop the skills to talk effectively with the wider public. Participants practiced using the ‘Yes, and…’ exercise when confronting an opposing viewpoint. Instead of responding ‘no’ and setting up a debate where we remain opposed, we started with ‘yes, and…’ to build positive momentum on what someone else thinks, creating a bond by agreeing with something they find important. After they understand you’re listening, they are more willing to hear what you want to say. This simple technique can be used in everyday in both formal and informal settings. Participant Robin Matthews said, “I came away with a deeper understanding that communication should have a clear purpose. Now, instead of jumping straight into the show of my communicating, I first ask myself - what do I what my audience to think, feel or do?”

Christian Wild, a PhD candidate at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, put his training to use even before leaving Boulder. “I was thrown in at the deep end when I joined a panel discussion on science communication at the IGS symposium immediately after our workshop, along with workshop participant Michaela King and two more senior scientists. During this discussion and the question session from the audience, I was particularly thankful for the improvisation techniques that we learned from the Alda team just a few days earlier. Paying close, dynamic attention to others, reading their body language and nonverbal cues helped me to shift my focus from what I was saying to what the audience was receiving.”
This workshop report from “Communicating Science for Polar Researchers” was written by Robin Matthews, Paul Rosenbaum, and Christian Wild who, as international participants, received funding from the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) to attend the workshop. The workshop was organized by Alice Bradley, Ellyn Enderlin, Mahsa Moussavi, and Allen Pope and funded by the NSF Office of Polar Programs (Award #1720574) and the NASA Cryosphere Program (Award #NNX17AK61G).

USAPECS Board applications until 21 January

USAPESC newWith the start of a new year, USAPECS would like to announce a call for applications for its executive board for 2018. Members of the USAPECS Board are expected to work together to develop and execute activities that they think will be of interest and beneficial to APECS members living in the US. The activities can include anything you're passionate about, from organizing social events or panel discussions at meetings to running a Reddit AMA session or organizing a webinar. This past year we ran a super successful science communication workshop at the University of Colorado Boulder and we would love to have new Board members organize something similar in the future! We'd also love volunteers to continue our Polar Film Festival in September and organize a panel and social at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in Washington DC in December.

It's a great opportunity to become more involved in the broader polar science community within the US. The activity (or activities) you help with are totally up to you! The time commitment varies depending on your level of involvement, but is typically an hour or so per month unless you are particularly involved in an activity (like running a scicomm workshop).

If you're interested in serving on the USAPECS Board in 2018, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your name, title of your current position (undergrad, Masters student, PhD student, postdoc, faculty, etc), where you are employed, and a few short sentences on activities you would like to help organize this year. Applications are due January 21st. We'll have an online meeting to welcome new members the following week.

I hope to see your applications!

APECS-Arctic Frontiers Panel Discussion: Adventures in the Field on 23 January

MariaMonteiro 2INTERACT LogoThe Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is currently involved in the EU Horizon-2020 INTERACT project, an Arctic-wide network of field stations. In relation to this work we are organising a panel discussion about 'Fieldwork in the Arctic' during the upcoming Arctic Frontiers 2018 conference in Tromsø, Norway.

The aim is to have a stimulating discussion about what it takes to plan and carry out field work in the Arctic, covering aspects such as logistics, safety, and how best to ensure fieldwork is as successful as possible. The hour-long discussion will comprise four panelists who will share their experiences and plenty of time for questions from the audience.


  • Alex Messerli, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Ingrid Wiedmann, Norwegian Polar Institute
  • Svein Mathiesen, International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry
  • Morten Rasch, University of Copenhagen

Date & Time:
Tuesday 23 January 2018, 17h00-18h00

Radisson Hotel Tromsø, Norway, Room TBD

Congratulations to the 2018 IASC Fellows

iasc webapecs logo webIASC and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) have the pleasure to announce the start of the 2018 IASC Fellowship Program. The Program received 135 applications for only 5 slots. During the selection process, APECS coordinated the generous work of our independent, volunteer reviewers to evaluate and recommend the highest quality candidates, and final selection was made in consultation with each of the IASC Working Group chairs.
The chairs and reviewers were certainly impressed by the record amount and excellent quality of the applications.

The 2018 IASC Fellows are:

The IASC Fellowship Program is meant to engage ECS in the work of the IASC Working Groups. More information about the IASC Fellowship Program can be found here.

2017 APECS Season's Greetings

Dear APECS members, supporters and friends,

2017 Seasons GreetingsAPECS had again a very successful year in 2017 and we wanted to thank all of our members, mentors, sponsors and partners for helping us shape the future of polar research!

Enjoy some of our best moments of 2017 in our APECS 2017 Season’s Greetings video.

Happy New Year to all of you! We are looking forward to a fantastic 2018!

Best wishes,

Hanne Nielsen, APECS President 2017-2018
Gerlis Fugmann, APECS Executive Director
on behalf of the APECS Leadership

APECS Italy celebrates Antarctica Day at the Climate Change, the Grand Challenge public outreach symposium at the University of Ca' Foscari Venice

This year, APECS Italy organized its third Antarctica Day event in conjunction with the ‘Climate change, the grand challenge’ public outreach symposium, held at the Zattere campus of the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari. In contrast to previous years, APECS Italy teamed up with a larger event to celebrate Antarctica Day, one that was focused on the use of art to communicate science. To this end, as well as to emphasize how the themes of polar research and climate change are in inextricably intertwined, the event was organized in two parts: after a brief introduction to the impacts of climate change in the Veneto region by Professor Roberto Pastres from the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari, the first half of the event focused on the use of art to capture themes of climate change. In this section, works by artists submitted to a competition for inclusion in the symposium were displayed and discussed by the symposium judges, as well as by the artists (when they were present). Works included painting, sculpture and poetry. The second part of the event was spearheaded by APECS Italy, more specifically addressing Antarctica Day by discussing topics in polar research and how they relate to climate change concerns. The presentations revolved around the theme of polar exploration in research, specifically, the confluence of the scientific aspects with the human experience. The ‘Protecting Ice Memory’ project was discussed, promoted by the University of Ca’ Foscari Venice, the CNR-IDPA in Venice and the LGGE in Grenoble. The final section concluded with a reading of the polar diary recently published by Federico Dallo, which sheds light on the human side of conducting polar research: the hardships, emotions and triumphs.

20171201 190539 APECS Italy Antarctica Day 2017

20171201 190612 APECS Italy Antarctica Day 2017 2

Contact APECS

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Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A45
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