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

APECS Delegates in Romania or how we met amazing people

IMG 4299On 20-25 February Romania has hosted the first for the last few years National Symposium Criosfera 2013 in Piatra Neamt. APECS International and APECS Polska were invited to share opportunities and experience on how to establish the national committee of APECS in Romania. During this symposium we have explored an amazing history of polar research in Romania starting from Emil Racovita and remembered the great Romanian Polar explorer and scientist Teodor Negoita, who was also one of the most supportive APECS mentors and headed the first permanent Romanian research and exploration station in Antarctica, the Law-Racovita Station, which he established in 2006.

Our team consisted from Poland delegates – Maja Lisowska, Bartosz Lisowski, Michal Wegrzyn and from APECS Executive Committee - Yulia Zaika. We’ve met students and young scientists from different corners of Romania and have successfully started APECS Romania. A lot of interesting questions and discussions went our way and we hope that we answered all of them.

We want to thank our new friends and we hope they will become great mentors for those enthusiastic young scientists in Romania – Dr. Dumitru Murariu (Preşedinte Comisia Antarctică a Academiei Române), Constantin Lacatusu (Clubul Montan Român), Christian Lasku (Editor-in Chief, National Geographic Romania),  Dr. Roxana Bojariu (Administraţia Naţională de Meteorologie), Dr. Petre Popescu (Institutul Astronomic al Academiei Române), Dr. Petru Urdea (Universitatea de Vest, Timişoara) and one of the most wonderful organizer we have ever met Stelian Grigore (Director of Casa de Culture Piatra Neamt)!

IMG 0305Last but not least, we have met an amazing teacher – Cosmina Dragomir, who is trying to explore the polar world together with school kids in Romania but more to come later…

We are looking for our further collaborations with Romania and are very much impressed with Romanian hospitality!

Wang Yuzhe to Represent APECS at EC-PORS Meeting

Wang Yuzhe 1The Executive Committee on Polar Observations, Research, and Services promotes and coordinates relevant programmes that are carried out in the Antarctic and Arctic regions by nations and by groups of nations.  It interfaces with all World Meteorological Organization programmes and other related programmes throughout the world, meeting global needs and requirements for meteorological observations, research and services in the polar regions. 

The upcoming EC-PORS meeting will be held in March 2013 in Lanzhou, China. APECS will be represented by APECS member Wang Yuzhe. In his words:

"I'm a masters student at State Key Laboratory of Cryospheric Sciences, Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou City, China. I'm working on the glacier volume changes of Mt. Qilian, in northeast Tibetan Plateau during the early twenty-first century. The goal of this research is to calculate the regional mass balance and how much glacier mass has changed in the recent decade and try to link the glacier volume change to regional climate change and glacier runoff. I use satellite data (i.e SRTM, ICESat, Chinese ZY-3) and field survey GPS data.  I will graduate in May this year. This is a good opportunity for me to shape my successive doctoral direction of polar studies. The meeting will be held in Lanzhou and I can provide the local service for APECS' friends."

Communication: Two minutes to impress

APECS Mentors consistently tell APECS Members to have their "elevator speech" practiced - to share their science, to network at conferences, and to get a job or funding! Nature Jobs takes on the subject with an article on the subject. "With ruthless revision, researchers can compose a punchy 'elevator speech' to sell their science to a neighbour, potential employer or politician." See the whole article at

Antarctic Day - over 100 Antarctic flags from Brazilian students!

APECS-Brazil together researches from Penguins and Skuas project ( read more) carried flags of Antarctica produced by Brazilian students during Antarctic Day activities celebrated on December 01!

Thanks to all teachers and students that worked togheter us to contributed to Brazil have more than 100 flags sent by around Antarctica!

It was really amazing and we hope that all that participated to do a wonderfull Antarctic Day in 2012 could help us to do a briliant Antarctic Day in 2013!

Erli Schneider Costa, Moacir Silva, Juliana Silva Souza and Dayana Almeida (APECS-members and Penguins and Skuas project)


News from the APECS Council

The first quarter of the APECS Council 2012-2013 term  is over and the APECS Council Reports were full of exciting news. International collaborations amongst APECS members and mentors are spanning the globe in multiple directions, and there are many tangible outcomes from these cooperative interactions. To name a few activities: a working group for traditional knowledge was started, planning for the APECS Workshop at the Arctic Science Summit week continues, a virtual balloon launch and a webinar from McMurdo station were organized as part of Antarctica day in December and Research Highlights was added to the APECS webpage. For the full list of Council activities during the past quarter, see the summary of the Council Term Reports which can be found here.

 We are also happy to welcome our new council members; Dagmar Obbels, Michael Laiho and Sarah Crowley. Dagmar started her PhD in 2009 on the AMBIO (Antarctic microbial biodiversity) project at Ghent University. In 2010 she obtained an IWT scholarship which focuses on the adaptation of drought and salinity stress in Antarctic filamentous cyanobacteria. Her latest contribution to APECS has been through APECS Belgium National Committee, where she has been very active. Michael is a second year PhD candidate who works with the EU's influence in Arctic governance: energy and environmental security issues at the Arctic Centre, based in Finland's Arctic city, Rovaniemi. In February he will start a research exchange in Prague, at the University's European Institute and IR Institute. Sarah currently works as an education project manager for the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States in Fairbanks, AK. She manages PolarTREC, a teacher-­researcher experience program. Sarah develops and implements teacher trainings on climate change and polar science for online platforms and in-­field experiences. Most recently she has worked tirelessly with partners such as APECS to build Polar Educators International; a professional network for those who educate in, for, and about the polar regions. To read their full bios, check out the webpage for the 2012-2013 Council.

We are looking forward to working with our three new Council members and to all of the exciting activities planned for the rest of the 2012-2013 term!

Sanna Majaneva & Christie Wood

APECS at Arctic Frontiers 2013

The Arctic Frontiers conference on Geopolitics and Marine Production in a Changing Arctic for 2013 was concluded last week. It was an exciting event with a number of outstanding presentations during both the Policy and Science sections (available online now). It also brought many opportunities for Arctic early career researchers. The Emergent Leaders program and Young Scientist Forum were run in conjunction with the conference and brought together young people working in various realms of Arctic science and industry. A great addition to the conference was the Podcast series organized by Tom Fries (The Arctic Institute). This was coordinated in cooperation with Arctic Frontiers, the Arctic Institute and the GeoNorth program.

It was a fantastic week for APECS as well. We organized three events – the joint Fram Centre – APECS reception entitled “Arctic Games”, APECS Discussion Panel, and Outstanding Poster Awards for early career researchers.

Arctic Games reception at the Fram Centre

arctic games 2013The Arctic Games reception was organized as a joint effort between the High North Research Centre for Climate and the Environment (The Fram Centre) and APECS, and with the help of the Climate and Cryosphere project (CliC) on January 22nd . This event brought more than 200 conference participants together for a lively mingling and networking with the overall goal to foster communication between experts, scientists, politicians, industry representatives and early career scientists working in the Arctic.


Meet Arctic Frontiers Poster Award Winners

APECS is pleased to announce winners of the Arctic Frontiers Outstanding Poster Awards coordinated by APECS and supported by the organizing committee of Arctic Frontiers. Winners were officially announced during the conference dinner on January 24th. We thank judges for their reviews.

Moritz Schmid & Jordan Grigor
Takuvik Joint International Laboratory, University Laval (Canada) & CNRS (France)
Poster Title: In situ imaging of mezozooplankton in order to assess scale spatiotemporal variability


Malte Humpert & Andreas Raspotnik
The Arctic Institute & University of Cologne (Germany)
Poster Title: From “Great Wall” to “Great White North”: Explaining China’s Politics in the Arctic  


Gen Nakamura
Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (Japan)
Poster Title: Needs of oesteological comparison between North Atlantic minke whales with North Pacific minke whales to clarify for their taxonomic statu


APECS Discussion Panel on Traditional Knowledge during Arctic Frontiers

aft panel tk 2013APECS hosted a Discussion Panel entitled “Local knowledge and research and policy: bridging the past and present with preparations for the future” in the afternoon on January 25th, which was the final event of the Arctic Frontiers conference 2013.

In keeping with the conference theme, “Geopolitics and Marine Production in a Changing Arctic”, the subject of the discussion panel was the collaboration of local knowledge with science and policy, and touched several important questions, such as: How to integrate local ecological knowledge into research practices, as well as what are the ways to validate this knowledge; ethical questions of working with local communities; insights on future synergies between northern communities and researchers. Panelists included Grete K. Hovelsrud (CICERO), Mario Acquarone (NAMMCO/UiT), Camilla Brattland (NIKU), Einar Eythórsson (NIKU), and Ole Mathis V. Hætta.


APECS Representative in the Interim Planning Group for ICARPIII

Over the past two decades, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) has been organizing forward-looking conferences focused on international and interdisciplinary perspectives for advancing Arctic research cooperation and applications of Arctic knowledge. Indeed, the IASC Founding Articles call for IASC to host such a conference periodically in order to "review the status of Arctic science, provide scientific and technical advice, and promote cooperation and links with other national and international organizations." In 2015, it will have been 10 years since the 2nd International Conference on Arctic Research Planning (ICARP II in 2005) and it is time for ICARP III (together with IASC 25th anniversary celebration will be held during ASSW 2015 in Japan). The final product of ICARP III will be a consensus statement identifying the most important Arctic research needs for the next decade.

Sanna Majaneva is honored to have been nominated to represent APECS in the Interim Planning Group for ICARP III. She is now finishing her doctoral thesis project at the University of Helsinki in collaboration with the University Centre in Svalbard and the Finnish Environment Institute / Marine Research Centre. In her thesis, she is working on a better understanding of the role of gelatinous zooplankton populations in the Arctic Ocean and Baltic Sea and how different aspects of the changing climate could affect these communities. Furthermore; the overall goal of this project is to indicate that more emphasis should be placed into the gelatinous part of the plankton community to be able to adequately model the community interactions and changes.

Sanna has been an APECS member since its early stages 2007 and has served on the APECS Council since 2011 and is now one of the two APECS council co-chairs for 2012-2013. She is also co-founder of APECS Finland for which she currently acts as co-chair. Outside of her scientific pursuits, she is also active in enhancing communication of the Arctic issues. She is looking forward to the planning of the ICARP III and the opportunity to participate in defining an interdisciplinary vision for future Arctic research.

APECS at ISAR3 (Tokyo) and Hokkaido University (Sapporo) - a growing interest in APECS in Asia

During the Third International Symposium of Arctic Research (ISAR3) in Tokyo, Japan (14-17 January 2013), an APECS career development panel was organized. Such a panel aims to break the ice between senior scientists with an extensive career and young students who can benefit from the experience and perspectives of mentors.

dscn5214 opt 1The panel was composed of five mentors (from left to rigth):

Dr. Hans-Wolfgang Hubberten, head of the AWI Research Unit Potsdam with the Section of Periglacial Research and professor for Isotope Geology at the Potsdam University

Dr. Larry Hinzman, director of the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks

Dr. Volker Rachold, Executive Secretary of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC)

Dr. Atsuko Sugimoto, professor at the Faculty of Environmental Earth Science at Hokkaido University

Dr. Kazuyuki Shiraishi, director-general of the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR)

About 50 polar researchers, young and older, Japanese and international, attended the panel and asked several questions to these mentors. Questions such as: “How do you find a good mentor to guide you through your scientific career?” were answered, and accompanied by practical tips.

Dr. Volker Rachold: “I found it quite interesting that most experts had the same tips.”

dscn5206 optdscn5212 opt 


After moderating the panel with Neurasimuguli Alimasi, Ines Tavernier, APECS Vice President, gave an introduction about APECS at the University of Hokkaido (Sapporo) upon request of professor Atsuko Sugimoto. First, a student seminar was held, followed by the talk on APECS.  

Professor Ralf Greve, Glacier and Ice Sheet Research Group, Sapporo: “I know APECS from the beginning and thought of them as just another organization. But it is absolutely amazing to see how they have grown over the past years.”

8398016740 663c185ed1Ines gave a general introduction of APECS and the people running this organization on a day-to-day base. She told her personal story of how she was introduced to APECS, how APECS Belgium and APECS BeNeLux (Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg) were formed, what Frostbytes are and most importantly: what APECS does for young researchers and how they can be involved.

Rei Fujiyoshi, student at Hokkaido University: “I strongly wish that a similar organization would exist for students not active in the polar regions!”

Professor Atsuko Sugimoto definitely does not need to be convinced of the importance of APECS for her students and of the possibilities their involvement would create, so we do hope the number of members in Japan will increase in the future and that they will engage themselves to become an active group of enthusiastic young polar researchers. 

Antarctica Day 2012 celebration in Bulgaria

Antarctica Day BG small

With the support of the Bulgarian Antarctic Institute APECS Bulgaria organized in Sofia in the last November and December several activities to celebrate for the first time the Antarctica Day.  

During the celebration about 200 students were actively involved. Several activities were conducted - lectures in schools, virtual balloon launch, creation of flag designs for Antarctica, interviews in newspapers and radio, photo exhibition etc.

·        20 November - Photo exhibition of Iglika Trifonova entitled “Antarctica – the cold south” in the National Library. Great success with the presence of former Prime Minister Mrs. Reneta Indzhova, former Rector of Sofia University and famous writer prof. Boyan Biolchev, the Director of Bulgarian Antarctic Institute prof. Christo Pimpirev and many guests. The exhibition remains in the National Library till 2 February 2013 and later will tour some of the Bulgarian cultural institutes in Europe.

·        28 November-1 December - Lectures about Antarctic mammals given by the early career scientists Denitsa Apostolova and Iglika Trifonova in schools in 2 Bulgarian towns: Sofia and Svoge. The educators replied questions of children aged between 9 and 11 years and encouraged them to paint flags for "Antarctica Day Flags".

·        12 December – Twenty students from the Eco-Bio Club "Green Clover" of the 1st English School in Sofia made presentations on topics related to the poles. In the official hall of EU Information Centre the children aged between 16 and 18 years old talked about ice melting, penguins, scientific expeditions to the poles, marine world, auroras, polar flora and fauna, polar bears and pinnipeds mammals. Researchers from Bulgarian Antarctic Institute, early career scientists from APECS Bulgaria and students from the same school attended the 90 minutes lectures. It was extraordinary the enthusiasm of students discussing the importance of Polar Regions to conserve the planet and life as we know nowadays.

·        Children from several Bulgarian schools took a part with their paintings in the flagship activity "Antarctica Day Flags - From the Classroom to Antarctica.

IIn 2013 APECS Bulgaria continues to follow its long-term educational and outreach program willing to spread its knowledge and polar experiences in Bulgarian schools and Universities around the country.

Report on the WWRP Polar Prediction Project Steering Group Meeting

12-13th December 2012
European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (ECMWF) (Reading, England)

The World Weather Research Program (WWRP) Polar Prediction Project (PPP) is a ten year initiative aiming to promote cooperative international research into polar weather prediction at hourly to seasonal timescales. As part of this project plans are being made for a Year of Polar Prediction (YOPP) in 2017-2018, this will involve an intensive observation and modelling effort to improve polar prediction.

Ella Darlington and Jonny Day attended this meeting representing APECS, who are being consulted on project matters related to outreach and education. The meeting was mainly concerned with finalising the project implementation plan. During the discussion on how early career scientists could become more involved in and contribute to the PPP, the following ideas were discussed:

  • Invite early career scientists to PPP events (not just workshops; but also steering groups, etc.).
  • Run mentoring sessions at SG meetings and PPP workshops.
  • Involve early career scientists in informal social settings such as icebreakers where they are encouraged to meet and talk with senior scientists.
  • Run skills training workshops to ensure that early career scientists are familiar with tools as well as operational in-house systems (e.g., models, and diagnosis and verification systems) and can more readily run models or analyse operational centre data. (Existing examples include twice yearly WRF workshops and verification workshops run by JWGFVR.).
  • Run summer schools.

It was agreed to:

  • Invite local APECS representative(s) to take part in the next PPP-SG meeting (tentatively Boulder, Colorado, USA in October 2013).
  • Run a mentoring session in association with the PPP-SG meeting.  

In addition Jonny agreed to sit on the project steering group and YOPP planning committee to liaise with both the PPP steering group and APECS concerning the PPP education and outreach plan and its implementation.

APECS Seminar: Future of Polar Research in Finland

APECS seminar FinlandIt's always a great pleasure to work in person with amazing people who share the same interest to the Polar Regions. At the end of November APECS Finland held a multidisciplinary seminar with scientific talks and a career development workshop in Helsinki, Finland.

The beginning of the day with talks on strategies of polar research in Finland and in different institutes together with funding possibilities from Academy of Finland was full of new information for most participants and gave the day a great start. Talks by different groups doing Arctic and Antarctic science were interesting and inspirational, and opened up new research collaborations. The scientific seminar was a great success with the auditorium full of young scientists as well as interested senior researchers. Fortunately so much polar research is presently conducted in Finland that many groups were introduced among the very interesting poster session in the afternoon. Thank you for all the speakers and poster makers.

Early career scientists were particularly happy with the afternoon workshop on communication and the mentor panel. The major topics covered during the workshop and mentor panel were: How to communicate with Media both from researchers and media's perspective? How to make successful scientific presentation? How to communicate within research group? And How valuable communication with the research community is to a PhD students? APECS has actively worked on career development internationally throughout its history, and it was great to see that also early career scientists in Finland found these matters valuable. Many thanks go to the fantastic mentors who shared their experience and wisdom with us: Johanna Ikävalko, Jari Haapala, Noora Partamies and Janne-Markus Rintala.

Thanks you also to the organizing committee, Finnish Environment Institute and Finnish Meteorological Institute for their great support. The day was a big success! We look forward in working with you again in future.

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam
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