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 Antarctic Treaty Summit Contest

In line with thIn line with the objectives of the Antarctic Treaty Summit to establish broad public awareness around the world about the visionary goals, strategies and achievements that have emerged from the Antarctic Treaty as well as to discuss lessons learnt from the Antarctic Treaty System over the past five decades, the essay competition encouraged young researchers to critically assess specific aspects of Antarctic politics and share their vision and recommendations for the future of the Antarctic Treaty System.

We received 15 thoughtful high-quality submissions, which made it extremely difficult for the review panel to select one winner. All contestants’ submissions did not only broaden our horizons but instilled in us a great hope in the new generation of polar researchers.

Kate Harris, a graduate student currently based at MIT, was selected as the overall winner of the essay contest. She convinced the reviewers with her application of the principles of the Antarctic Treaty's Article IV to the Siachen glacier in the disputed region of Kashmir. Kate will receive a full travel scholarship to attend the Antarctic Treaty Summit. We want to take this opportunity to congratulate Kate again for her innovative and thought-provoking essay.

Our heartiest congratulations go also to Indi-Hodgson-Johnston, Australia, and Jaehee Kim, South Korea, as the two runners-up in the essay competition. Hodgson-Johnston's essay called for the application of the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) principles to the high seas. Kim's essay cautioned about the spread of commercial exploitation into Antarctica through bioprospecting and suggested that an "Antarctic Science and Research Organization for Biological Prospecting" (ASROBP) could help to keep this in check.

Our sincere thanks go to Paul Berkman and the International Board for the Antarctic Treaty Summit, with whom it was a pleasure and privilege to collaborate.

Furthermore, we wish to thank the review panel, Jason Davis, Andriy Fedchuk, Daniela Liggett and Preston Scott, who put in many hours of work to assess the submitted essays.

Biosketch - Kate Harris:

Kate Harris, 27, is a young explorer, scientist, and writer hailing from Georgetown, Ontario. She studied biology and geology as an undergraduate Morehead Scholar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Next she completed a Master's degree in the History of Science as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University, where she wrote her dissertation on the history of scientific peacekeeping. Now she is a graduate student in the department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kate has led or participated in scientific or endurance expeditions on all seven continents, including Antarctica. She hopes to ultimately translate her passion for polar and glacial places into a life of adventure, exploration, writing, and public advocacy for the preservation of the world’s cold, icy wildernesses.



UKPN Atmospheric Sciences Workshop - A Great Success!

uk polar network logoThe UKPN Atmospheric Sciences Workshop, held at the British Antarctic Survey from 29th April - 1st May 2009, was a huge success. Thirty five early career polar researchers from around the world came together to present their own research and listen to talks by senior scientists on their career and on science in the polar regions.

Group discussions on the future of polar research with senior scientists and members of the BAS board of directors gave those who will go on to shape the future of polar research a chance to ask questions of those who have been doing just that for the last few decades. Career development discussion groups with polar scientists at various stages of their career allowed for an informal discussion and an insight into an academic career in polar research.

Instrumentation lectures, practical sessions and informal discussions on measurement techniques above the poles provided a broad timetable for those interested in field measurements. A computer modelling practical session, combined with talks on climate, meteorology, extreme weather and the use of statistics, gave some hands-on experience of computer modelling and encouraged a greater understanding of models in use.

The posters presented by the participants were truly outstanding, with congratulations to Ingrid Cnossen (BAS), Roisin Commane (University of Leeds), Jonathan Barichivic (UEA) and Valerie Livina (UEA) for winning prizes.

We would like to thank all the speakers and panellists for helping to make the workshop such a success, and we look forward to seeing you at UKPN workshops, network days and educational events in the future, details of which can be found on the website:

We would also like to thank NERC, the British Antarctic Survey, The Royal Meteorological Society, The Royal Society of Chemistry and Grimm Aerosol for supporting the event.

Helen Atkinson and Tom Bracegirdle

IPY Polar field school – selection process now complete

The IPY Polar field school organizers, Elise Strømseng (IPY Norway/UNIS/ UArctic), Liz Thomas (APECS) and Melissa Rhode (APECS) met at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge between the 31st March to 2nd April for the difficult task of selecting participants for the three week field course to be held in Svalbard this summer. We had a staggering 297 applicants and just 24 places available making the selection process extremely difficult. 

Applications were evaluated on a competitive level, based on the completeness of the application (which needed to include a CV, academic referee and university transcripts), ranking due to GPA (academic merit), career level and the letter of recommendation from supervisors/professors. After an exhausting three days the final 24 were selected and the successful candidates have now been notified.

We would like to congratulate the successful students and look forward to welcoming you to Svalbard in June!

More information about the field school programme will be made available soon on the APECS Svalbard 2009 web-page.

Global interest in the field school:

In total we had 297 applications (54% women) from undergraduate and master’s students from 51 nations, including many non-traditional polar countries.  The largest number of applications came from the following: Britain (39), Canada (37), America (33), Germany (22), Norway (22). Spain (13), Russia (12), Netherlands (11), India (9) and Brazil (8).

If you were not selected for the field school please do not feel disheartened, we would have liked to invite all polar enthusiasts to take part in the field school but unfortunately financial and logistical constraints would not allow this.  We encourage you to get involved with future APECS events (workshops, field schools and national committees) and wish you luck in you polar careers.

Unfortunately due to the exceptionally high number of applicants, individual evaluation is not possible. However, here are a few hints and tips that may be useful in the future.

•    When official transcript of records are requested, make sure you attach/send an official version issued or stamped and signed by your educational institution. Transcripts written in word documents are not eligible.

•    Always check that your academic referee has written and sent your letter of recommendation (sadly we only received a third of the letters we needed).

•    Never leave the application until the last minute – it’s easy to make mistakes if you are rushing.

•    Keep CV’s clear and concise; include your academic history, work experience and relevant experience.

•    Always stick to the page/ word limit.

•    Answer every question on the application form.


Application Information - The Application Deadline has passed.

Eligibility Applicants should be upper-level Undergraduate or Master students, with a minimum of 2 years in the physical and/or natural sciences.

Cost The cost of the course is 200 Euro which includes all on-site costs (food & accommodation) throughout the duration of the field school; however, students will be responsible for their travel to UNIS located in Longyearbyen, Svalbard. The estimated cost from Oslo to Longyearbyen is 380 Euro. There are some travel grants available for those students that require financial assistance.

How to Apply Interested students will need to complete the online application form where they will be required to upload a one-page CV and a copy of their university transcripts.

A letter of recommendation from an academic referee (tutor, advisor or lecturer who you have worked closely with) is required for each student.


APECS Launches New Website

Thanks to the generous help from the Arctic Portal located in Akureyri, Iceland, we have built a new and improved website!  This new site features a fully searchable membership directory to find colleagues and for prospective employers to search for new hires. There is also a new and improved discussion board that we foundly refer to as the APECS Student Lounge.

This website is a constant work in progress and we are still in the process of updating everything and doubling checking to make sure everything works. If you find errors or have suggestions, please let us know!

Thanks again to the great folks at the Arctic Portal for helping us to make this happen!

APECS April 2009 Newsletter

Welcome to the latest edition of APECS Newsletter.  I'm starting this month’s edition with a short comment on the Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW) in Bergen. First of all, I would like to thank all APECS members for participating in our short workshop. Thanks also to Martin Bergmann, Odd Rogne and Nick Owens, our mentors, who answered many of our difficult questions and encouraged us to pursue our careers as a polar researcher with passion and dedication. The 10th Arctic Science Summit Week provided also an opportunity to meet leading scientists and participate in eight scientific sessions, which summed up the latest findings in Arctic science and discussed plans for future research projects. The second part of summit consisted of management and business meetings. One of the most important events was the announcement of the new structure of the International Arctic Science Committee, which aims to become more integrative and facilitate international consultation and cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research.
We hope that our further cooperation with IASC will be even better than so far.
Anyway, let's move on to the APECS news of the month - there are plenty new items to explore this month.

- Matt Strzelecki, APECS Vice-President

P.S. In the name of APECS ExCom and Directorate I wish you a Happy Easter.

In this month’s newsletter…

APECS News and Updates
- Welcome to Angelika Renner, new Council Member
- Amazing Opportunity from SCAR to review Antarctic Climate Change Review
- Council Call Schedule Announced
Message from the Director in Norway
Message of Appreciation from Rhian Salmon, IPY Education and Outreach Coordinator
Important News From APECS partners
- The Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) is announcing the launch of its 2009-10 Fellowship
- Proceedings from the 5th NRF Open Assembly, Anchorage, Alaska “Seeking Balance in a Changing North”
Upcoming Meetings, Workshops and Conferences

APECS recognized as the preeminent organization for young researchers working in the Arctic, Antarctic

8-11 July 2008 was a great week for polar science. It was the first time the two major international polar science organizations (SCAR - the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research and IASC - International Arctic Science Committee) held a joint conference focusing on science in both Polar Regions. This conference was also an important week for the recognition of APECS and all the effort we have put into our organization over the past 2 years.

During the Opening Ceremony for this conference, President Iversen, together with IASC President  Kristján Kristjánsson  and SCAR President Chris Rapley signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreeing to work together to support early career polar researchers. This is an important step in recognizing our organization as an equal partner in the Polar Research community and a major step forward in involving more young researchers in the science planning activities of these organizations.

Excerpt from the MoU:

"SCAR, IASC, and APECS recognize the importance of fostering the next generation of researchers that will be faced with increasingly critical challenges due to the impacts of climate change on these regions and their global significance. This agreement recognizes APECS as the preeminent organization for young researchers working in the Arctic, Antarctic, and Cryospheric regions that strives to provide a continuum of leadership in polar research.

This MoU identifies a joint commitment to the professional development of early career polar researchers and the need for a continuum of leadership in polar researcher as important mutual aims of all Parties. Examples of activities through which this joint commitment may be pursued include, but are not limited to:

  • Working together to ensure representation of early career researchers in all aspects of the Parties respective organizations, including but not limited to, participating in business, strategy, planning, and other meetings and activities;
  • Communicating to each Parties members updates, newsletters, and other communications of interest;
  • Providing endorsement, support, and dissemination of information on activities, projects, requests for participation, etc.;
  • Agreeing to representatives of IASC and SCAR serving as members of the APECS Advisory Committee to offer assistance and guidance; and representatives of APECS being available to IASC and SCAR for early career perspectives."


The Northern Research Forum and APECS Collaboration

The Northern Research Forum (NRF) held its fifth Open Assembly “Seeking Balance in a Changing North” in Anchorage, Alaska on September 24-27, 2008. The NRF provides an open assembly biennially for policy-relevant discussion on the role of research in addressing issues relevant to the Circumpolar North.  The NRF funded, through a competitive process, twenty NRF Young Researchers (YRs) from throughout the Circumpolar North to participate in this year’s Assembly.

NRF and APECS Young Researcher Career Development Workshop Invited speakers. From left to right, Ms. Patricia Cochran (Alaska Native Science Commission), Dr. Susie Crate (Assistant Professor, George Mason University), Dr. Žaneta Ozoliņa (Professor, University of Latvia), Dr. Lassi Heininen (Senior Scientist, Lapland University), and Dr. Steven C. Bigra (Canadian Polar Commission)

The NRF Young Researchers took part in a variety of activities starting with pre-assembly workshops that included team-building activities and an APECS and NRF jointly organized Young Researcher career development workshop. The career development workshop featured six speakers from the United States, Latvia, Canada, and Finland. They spoke with the NRF YRs about opportunities available through APECS and the NRF and offered their experiences with pursuing careers in the public sector, building networks between academics and local communities, and Native perspectives on science and what that means for the career development of Native and non-Native Early Career Scientists.  The speakers also discussed how to balance following your own research interests with engaging the research issues that matter to the local communities you work with and funding agencies.  The YRs and panelists engaged in lively discussion as many questions were discussed on the topics presented and other issues important to the Young Researchers.


NRF and APECS Young Researcher Career Development Workshop speakers and participants

The NRF YRs participated in various events and sessions throughout the Assembly.  Evening events, a local community excursion, and open assembly dialogue with dignitaries, policy makers, community leaders, and scientists gave the YRs opportunities to converse with a wide variety of people.  The numerous sessions at the Assembly provided the NRF YRs with an opportunity to present their own research as well as discuss critical issues, problems, and opportunities facing circumpolar peoples at the local, regional, national and international levels.

The YR presentations can be viewed on the Arctic Portal website.

APECS 2008 - 2009 Executive Committee and Council announced

On behalf of the 2007-2008 Inaugural APECS Executive Committee, I am happy to announce the election results for the new 2008-2009 APECS Executive Committee. The election results were certified in an Executive Meeting yesterday and we are very excited that these Fabulous Five has decided to help shape the future of this organization. We have an exciting year head, including a number of workshops and conferences, and much more.

Congratulations to:

Daniela Haase, University of Canterbury, NZ

Matt Strzelecki, Durham University, UK - representing Poland

Tina Tin, Environmental Consultant, France

Liz Thomas, British Antarctic Survey, UK

Jose Xavier, British Antarctic Survey (UK), CEBC-CNRS (France), and University of Algrave (PT) - representing Portugal

The new ExCom is working on a list of priorities for this next year. If there are things you would like to see APECS do, not do, or improve on - please let me know by October 15th as we will be setting forth our plan for 2008-2009 on that day. We will keep you informed on our current thoughts and ideas for this next year.

In addition, the following people have been approved to serve on the APECS Council for 2008-2009. It is great to see people returning for another year of service and a number of new APECS members have stepped up to this important leadership role for our organization. The Council is open, which means we are always ready to accept new members. You can learn more about these outstanding researchers on the council webpage.

Simposio Antártico 2008

IV Simposio Latinoamericano Sobre Investigaciones Antárticas Y VII Reunión Chilena de Investigación Antártica (IV Latin American Symposium and VII Chilean Meeting on Antarctic Research) was held from 3 - 5 September in Valparaíso, Chile.

From the organizers:

"During the last couple of years, the Antarctic Continent successively ceased being just a notable and remote area full of singularities. Triggered by the launch of a series of initiatives, the white continent today becomes more and more a land of opportunities. Thus, the general objective of this congress is to provide the Latin American scientific community with the tools to maximize scientific and technological competitiveness, set in the context of a globalized Antarctica as source of information and useful resources for further development."

APECS members from our two new national committees in South America, APECS Chile and APECS Brazil, met and discussed common research themes and future collaborations.




ICASS Nuuk Greenland Early Career Scientist workshop summary

The challenges and opportunities of polar early career scientists

August 25 & 26, 2008

The Early Career Scientist Workshop, co-organized by the Northern Research Forum (NRF) and APECS, at the International Congress of Arctic Social Scientists in Nuuk, Greenland took place August 25 and 26, 2008. It addressed the key challenges and opportunities APECS members face, and showed a way forward for organizations like APECS to improve polar science and enable polar researchers to reach their goals. The wonderful diversity in early careers scientists, from experience to skills to projects, presents a challenge for organizations to meet their varied needs. Improved funding, communication, mentorship, and networks were all identified as key parts of a strategy to help polar early career scientists succeed.

Communication was identified as an important focus for early career scientists. Technologies such as social networking websites, voice-over-IP, and list serves are key tools to bringing scientists together from across distances and disciplines. The need for effective communication extended to data sharing and management, with the advice that data should be considered very broadly and all types – quantitative, qualitative and informational – should be considered and shared. Furthermore, data sharing for regional interests and information, such as fieldwork logistics, would be valuable to many scientists.

The role of early career scientists in the larger arenas of community and policy was also discussed. Connections with the IPY program as well as outreach activities and non-academic careers are all valuable parts of the contribution of early career scientists. Workshops like this joint NRF/APECS one at ICASS are valuable forums for identifying the challenges to early career scientists and shaping the responses of organizations like APECS to speed the success of our work and people.

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A45
14473 Potsdam
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