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 Portugal Workshop 2016

APECs Portugal Workshop2016 2 copyThe VII Workshop of Career Development of APECS Portugal took place on October 26th in Lisbon, under theme “POLAR QUESTS – Policymaking: Science strikes back”. This year the aim of the workshop focused on policymaking and science in the polar regions.

The morning session focused on talks regarding science and policy in Arctic and the Antarctic regions, by José Xavier (British Antarctic Survey) and João Canário (Arctic), after a broader approach to both regions by Renuka Badhe (European Polar Board). The after session starter with tips and hints from Ariel Brunner (Birdlife International), followed by practical exercise and a... jedi jam session! Renuka Badhe from European Polar Board Renuka is presenting the work of European Polar Board work in merging science, communities and policymakers... and gave the amazing example of "Aliens in Antarctica" as a successful case of how policymaking and science cooperated together.

APECS Portugal Workshop1 copyJose Carlos Caetano Xavier unfolding the progresses in policy and science collaboration since the early beginning of explorations in #Antarctica. Great explanations of the background that lead to the creation of the Antarctic Treaty.

João Canario our "bi" polar scientist is explaining how did he engaged with both polar regions, and his important role at one of the major International Arctic Science Committee IASC 

APECS Portugal Workshop 2016 3 copyJoão Canário and Jose Carlos Caetano Xavier showing how two similar regions are yet so different in terms of policymaking, geopolitics and how science can operate there. Both regions have different approaches, different political organizations and scientific committees - yet both demand a thigh collaboration and public engagement!

Ariel Brunner from Birdlife International and currently based in Brussels, gave valuable tips and lifehacks solutions in regards to communicate science for policymakers. The participants engaged afterwards in a small debate.

After the speech from Ariel Brunner and using his tips, we went for a Practical exercice! Our participants were trying to convince our "policymakers" - brought exclusively by José Carlos Caetano Xavier and Renuka Badhe excelent - and funny roleplaying, on how they science is meaningful and should be funded.

Apply by 4 December - INTERACT and APECS are seeking for a INTERACT Transnational Access Evaluation Board member for 2017-2018

European Commission LogoHorizon2020 LogoINTERACT LogoThe International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (INTERACT) and the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) are seeking an early career researcher (minimum postdoc level) for an INTERACT Transnational Access Evaluation Board member for 2017-2018.

INTERACT is a consortium of 47 partner institutions in Europe, Russia and North-America, funded 2016-2020 by the EU H2020 as well as further 31 observer institutions. The network currently consists of 78 terrestrial research stations, 43 of which offer Transnational Access.

INTERACT seeks to build capacity for research and monitoring in the European Arctic and beyond, and is offering research groups Transnational Access to conduct research free of charge at 43 terrestrial research stations located in the Arctic, northern alpine and forest areas in Europe, Russia, US and Canada. The sites represent a variety of glacier, mountain, tundra, boreal forest, peatland and freshwater ecosystems, providing opportunities for researchers from natural sciences to human dimension.

The applications for Transnational Access (both physical and remote access) undergo a scientific evaluation made by a Transnational Access Evaluation Board (TA Board) that consists of six experts external to INTERACT and six representatives of stations in particular geographical regions. INTERACT is now seeking for an external early-career expert to join the TA Board. Applicants should be early career researchers (up to 5 years since PhD, excluding career breaks) who already have completed their PhD (minimum post-doc level). A specialization in geosciences (paleo-ecology, geomorphology etc.) is preferred, but specialists on other fields of research with an Arctic or northern focus are also welcome to apply.

The tasks of a TA Board member include participation in the scientific evaluation of the submitted Transnational Access applications and attendance at the related TA Board meetings, both held annually (with a possibility for 1-2 additional, specified, TA calls). TA Board members do not receive financial compensation for their membership, but the travel and accommodation costs to the meetings, as well as daily allowance, are reimbursed by INTERACT. An early career scientist participating on the INTERACT TA Board will benefit from working with distinguished scientists at an international level, from gaining valuable experience and insight of the evaluation process for future expert positions, and becoming aware of new projects and contacts.

If you are a post-doctoral researcher working on one of the themes mentioned above and are interested in this great opportunity to join the INTERACT Transnational Access Evaluation Board, please e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. including your statement of interest noting your research interests and experience (no more than one side of A4) and your CV (no more than two pages of A4) in a single PDF-file by 4 December 2016. The position of a TA Board Member sought now is for a two-year period in 2017-2018, with an option for additional two years. The applicants will be notified about the decision by mid-December 2016.

For more information about the position, please contact Dr. Ruth Vingerhagen (outgoing APECS representative on the INTERACT Transnational Access Evaluation Board) (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Dr Hannele Savela, INTERACT Transnational Access Coordinator, hannele.savela(at)

Antarctica Day 2016 on 1 December!

AntarcticaDayLogoThe Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), together with Our Spaces - Foundation for the Good Governance of International Spaces, Polar Educators International, PolarTREC , the International Polar Foundation, Gateway Antarctica, the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operations, the UK Polar Network and the British Antarctic Survey are once again proud to support Antarctica Day commemorations on 1 December 2016. This event was created to celebrate the spirit of international peace and scientific cooperation that signified the signing of the Antarctic Treaty in 1959.

Antarctica Day 2016 is an international effort to share knowledge about Antarctica. APECS is proud to take part, helping to inspire a new generation of polar researchers. The day is for everyone, so take some time to celebrate with your co-workers, family and friends!

This year will see many events and classroom activities take place, centered around Antarctic science and exploration. Who goes there? What happens in Antarctica? And why is Antarctica important to the planet as whole? We look forward to having these discussions all over the globe.

Are you planning to organise something for Antarctica Day? See all of what is happening at the APECS Antarctica Day website, and add your event to the list of activities for Antarctica Day 2016.

To include your support for Antarctica Day 2016 you can also insert your information in our map.

Join Antarctica Day on Facebook.

Happy Antarctica Day 2016 from APECS!

APECS Annual Report 2015-2016 released

Title page Annual Report 2015 2016APECS has released its Annual Report 2015-2016 for the period of October 2015 to September 2016! Read about:

  • the APECS leadership and National Committees in 2015-2016
  • APECS event highlights
  • reports about APECS projects, webinars and other online activities and publications
  • and much more!

The full report can be accessed here or in our APECS publications database. We hope you enjoy reading it!

A special thank you goes to the Research Council of Norway, the UiT The Arctic University of Norway and the Norwegian Polar Institute for supporting and hosting the APECS International Directorate in Tromsø!

Thank you also to the many dedicated members and mentors who volunteered their time over the past year to help us achieve continued success in shaping the future of polar research!

Early career researchers motivated for proposal writing during 1st APECS Germany Workshop

APECS GER VSavaglia 013 2"Don't give up" is Mirko Scheinert's final message to Germany's polar early career scientists, when it comes to proposal writing.

September 14th 2016 marks the day when Germany's National Committee of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS Germany) organized their first workshop in Rostock.

Held prior to the annual coordination workshop by the German Priority Research Program on Antarctic research, 19 participants joined the workshop - most of whom were new to APECS. They benefited from five mentors in polar research giving their secrets on how to increase chances for their proposals to be a success. During the panel discussion, Sonja Berg (University of Cologne), Mirko Scheinert (Technische Universität Dresden), Inna Sokolova (University of Rostock), Charlotte Havermans (University of Bremen) and Florian Leese (University of Duisburg-Essen) answered questions on how to receive feedback, how to approach colleagues or simply advised to celebrate a success when it happens!

What APECS Germany will be up to in the coming year was introduced by Caroline Coch and Heike Link representing the APECS Germany Board. Overall, the first APECS Germany workshop was a successful kick-off for further initiatives coming from Germany's polar early career scientists.


APECS 10th Anniversary Logo Contest!

apecs logo webWe are celebrating ***APECS 10th anniversary*** in 2017!

In order to spread the good news and to emphasize the achievements of our organization, we would like to use a special APECS anniversary logo during the coming months. We would like to invite all members to design and create an APECS logo which features the 10th anniversary in 2017!

Send us a logo in .jpg, .tif or .bmp-format until 14 November 2016 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.! The APECS Executive Committee will vote for the best logo, which will be used on APECS materials and the website over the next year. The winner will also receive a 200 Euro travel award to a conference of their choice within the next year.

The APECS logo in various formats is available on the APECS website. The orange colour is (RGB 241, 106, 34) and the Blue is (RGB 0, 77, 140), and the font used for the text is Optima Bold.

For questions, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Finnish-Japanese early career polar scientist workshop

Finland Japan Workshop 2016 1APECS Japan and Finland welcomed early career polar researchers in Helsinki on October 17th 2016 for a workshop on sharing research projects, career advice and future connections. The meeting kicked off with presentations from four Japanese early career scientists about their current research projects. The Japanese guests came from Hokkaido and Tohoku University and their research topics covered terrestrial, marine and social sciences. In the second and third session, early career researchers from several departments at the University of Helsinki (UoH) talked about their research also covering many interesting areas. The audience included other staff and students from UoH who always had some interesting questions following the talks.

In the afternoon, Associate Professor Marius Jonassen from the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) talked about his research projects in meteorology and led over to sharing his own experiences transitioning from his PhD into the position of Associate Professor at UNIS. After hearing about career opportunities on Svalbard, Yasushi Fukamachi and Matti Leppäranta continued talking about inspiring research projects and sharing useful career advice. The focus was on the importance of gathering international experiences and creating networks with other researchers. Our workshop was just the right opportunity for that!
After that, Eero Rinne concluded the career session by some inspiring words about “surviving the European academia”. The informal talk brought up many comments and questions from young researchers about their thoughts on succeeding as a young scientist.

Lastly, the participants of the event discussed possibilities for continuing the connection in the future. Among these were research exchange visits and future workshops together.

Overall, the meeting was a success and we received positive feedback from the audience.

Finland Japan Workshop 2016 2

Poster Workshop at the Challenger Conference for Marine Science 2016

uk polar network logoAt the Challenger Society for Marine Science conference in September 2016, the UK Polar Network ran a workshop for early career scientists on making and presenting good scientific posters. The event was attended by over 50 people and we had a panel including Dr. Yvonne Firing (National Oceanography Centre Southampton) and Dr. Sian Henley (Univ. of Edinburgh). The workshop began with a few hints on what makes a good poster; attractive, clear visible title, easily readable without large amounts of text, clear diagrams and not overcomplicated. We then showcased some examples of winning posters. Sian Henley bravely slipped her poster into the session for anonymous criticism. It became clear during this that while there are many different opinions on what makes a “great” poster, there was aspects which people didn’t like. It is important to consider the type of conference you are at (Is your poster up all week?) and your audience. The UK Polar Network also provided two poster examples, one which was obviously “bad” and the other which was an improved version of the same (fake) research about moving polar bears to the Antarctic to cope with a declining sea ice environment and loss of food. You can see both of these examples below, hopefully which one is bad and improved is obvious to you.

Before our panel discussion we went through a few other ideas for making a great poster, some of these are:

  • Keep text to <800 words
  • Have handouts available (also if you print your poster on A4 you should be able to read it)
  • Avoid dark backgrounds and consider colour blindness!
  • Use other media tools, if you have a video think about having a tablet

There were also some good tips for presenting a poster, a few unique suggestions also:

  • Keep hands out of pockets and don’t chew gum
  • Talk to your audience, not to the poster (it doesn’t care)
  • Keep sweets or chocolates with you, it will draw people in
  • Make a t shirt advertising your poster, or even put your most interesting figure on it
  • Don’t wear sunglasses inside, people will assume you are hungover, high or both

During the panel discussion a lively debate occurred on the consumption of alcohol during poster sessions. Some were in favour, some were not, however everyone agreed that over-consumption was bad, and you shouldn’t be slurring and spilling drink on your poster (or worse your audience)! Overall, the event went well with plenty of discussion and participation from the audience. We hope that people take away some of the hints and tips provided, and we look forward to seeing some excellent posters at the next Challenger Conference! For further information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Read the summary also on the UKPN website. 

Volunteer opportunity regarding the Alpine Cryosphere and APECS

The new APECS council term has started, and we're seeking additional people to help with a new project group that is working on improving APECS' resources for early career researchers interested in Alpine and mid-latitude cryosphere environments. This includes research in the "Third Pole" region and other mountain regions.

An increasing number of APECS members do not work on the polar regions but rather in mid-latitude cryosphere and high-altitude environments. This project group will assess existing APECS resources and see where we as an organization can improve the resources for non-polar researchers. The group will also come up with ideas to address some of these gaps (e.g., webinars, articles, etc) and start implementing them.

If you are interested in contributing to this project, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we'll put you in touch with the group.

APECS at the EU PolarNet Town Hall Event in Brussels

EUPolarNet logo2The EU PolarNet was recently established as an umbrella organization for European polar research expertise and infrastructure. On 27th September a Town Hall Event was held at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences in Brussels to engage important stakeholders and discuss European polar research priorities for the coming years. APECS had the chance to participate and did so in person of Igor S. Pessi and Henrik Christiansen.

Now, many may think policy meetings are rather dry events. While this can hold true for some cases, it certainly didn’t for the EU PolarNet Town Hall. Here’s a brief and personal report of some highlights:

After registration you’re told to “just turn right after the dinosaurs”. So, briefly inspecting giant creatures that didn’t make it through extreme climate change related to a giant asteroid, and then further on to discussions of present day climate change (for which we can’t blame an asteroid). Kristina Bär and Nicole Biebow provided excellent organization and after a warm welcome by Nicole and an amazing video with greetings from various polar researchers from the field (both Arctic and Antarctic) compiled by Kristina, the first talks and discussions began. The theme of the morning was “The 1.5° C climate target – What does the European society need from polar research?”. Amongst others, Jannie Staffansson held an extremely impressive, emotional plea for renewable energy and for inclusion of indigenous people in Arctic research. Their knowledge can be invaluable and they should not just be used as ‘data source’, but actively engaged. Peter Gibbs from BBC followed suit with his experiences of documenting Antarctic research in action. A must-see for anyone interested in science communication (see link below).

In the afternoon discussions revolved around “European priorities for polar research”. Jane Francis, director of British Antarctic Survey, started explaining what international collaboration can achieve and emphasized repeatedly that it’s in fact largely the future of younger generations that is at stake. Therefore, young people should play a dominant role in shaping future polar research and may come up with important new ideas. Obviously, APECS couldn’t agree more and it’s also up to us to make our voice heard. During the discussions for the conference statement Tom Armstrong, CEO of Madison River Group and long time expert on global change in the White House, critically reminded everyone that 1.5° C may be a noble goal, but scientists should know that it’s not a very realistic goal, especially in a world that has already breached the 400 ppm CO2 barrier this year. Climate change particularly in polar regions leaves four choices: adapt, mitigate, intervene, or doing nothing. The latter is usually by far the worst. The mission of EU PolarNet to coordinate and strengthen polar research is hence extremely important given the challenges, but also opportunities of climate change.

This really is but a very short excerpt, many more relevant talks can be seen in the recordings of the event here. A protocol and a conference statement will be published soon as well. Watch out for that!

First APECS Balkan Meeting in October 2016

APECS Balkan Meeting 4 KopieThe first APECS Balkan Meeting was held from 1 - 2 October 2016 in Kardjali, Bulgaria. The forum was attended by representatives of APECS Bulgaria, APECS Turkey, APECS Romania (via Skype), APECS International (via Skype), Bulgarian Antarctic Institute, Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center, National Polar Research Center of Sofia University, Committee for Foreign Affairs – National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria and Municipality of Kardjali.

The event was officially opened by the Mayor of Kardjali, the Director of Bulgarian Antarctic Institute (BAI), the Head of the Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center (ITU PolReC) and the Deputy-Chairman of The Committee for Foreign Affairs in the Bulgarian Parliament.

APECS Balkan Meeting 6 KopieThe panelists shared their professional experience and scientific results from various research projects and fields in Antarctica and Southern Ocean. General information on the activities of APECS Bulgaria and APECS Turkey was presented to audiences and scientists. APECS Romania and the International Secretariat also participated via video conference line. Best practices and experience were shared between the Bulgarian and the Turkish polar programs, including different educational activities, social awareness on the polar issues, work with students and media. Special attention was paid on the legal aspects of the Antarctic cooperation and the legal framework of the human activities on the Southern Continent.

During the workshop was signed Memorandum of Understanding regarding the academic and scientific cooperation between Bulgarian Antarctic Institute and Istanbul Technical University Polar Research Center. Exchange of scientists was arranged between the Bulgarian and the Turkish programs. Accordingly, it was agreed that 2 early-career scientists from Turkey will work in Bulgarian Antarctic Base during the 2016-2017 Antarctic season.

The results from the first APECS Balkan Meeting was presented in an Information Paprer at XXX Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in Beijing, submitted by Bulgaria and Turkey.

APECS Balkan Meeting 1 Kopie

Sharing Science with the Virtual Polar Film Fest


During Polar Weeks, which are week-long polar events held around the solar equinoxes, APECS members get creative about sharing science with their communities and the broader public. These events are often informal and meant to highlight the most fascinating aspects of polar science and the broader themes that make the subject globally relevant. This year, the USAPECS Board piloted a Virtual Polar Film Fest to harness the power of inspiring and exciting educational videos that are already available online and repackaged them for Polar Week in September 2016.

Video nominations were crowd-sourced from the polar research community. We received more than 100 submissions (already posted on Vimeo and YouTube) of both amateur and professional videos of varying lengths, some of which covered serious topics and others that were more light-hearted (e.g., “Happy Feet”). Videos were reviewed and organized into four themes, each of which was highlighted on a day of the Film Fest: Frozen Worlds, Partly Frozen Mostly Cute, Climate & Connections, and People at the Poles.

During Polar Week, APECS members hosted in-person and virtual watch parties where groups gathered to watch selected videos and/or playlists and discuss what they were watching with APECS experts. In-person watch parties were held in Boulder (CO), Fairbanks (AK), Orono (ME), Whitehorse (YT), Potsdam (DE), and Cambridge (UK). Virtual watch parties were hosted by Alice Bradley, Mia Bennett, Morgan Seag, and David Schutt on Twitter using the #PolarFilmFest hashtag. Playlists were also widely disseminated to APECS members, APECS partners (including Polar-ICE), and over social media.

Overall, Polar Film Fest videos racked up over 24,000 views, contributing an average of 8% to the total views on the films featured on the playlists. There were 184 tweets using the #PolarFilmFest during the week, with participants from around the world contributing. We hope to run the Virtual Polar Film Fest again, creating new playlists, including more languages besides English, and working with partners to host more exciting events that bring together the arts and sciences!

The 2016 Virtual Polar Film Fest was organized by Allen Pope, Alice Bradley, Ariel Morrison, David Schutt, Olivia Lee, and Alex Thornton with further help from the USAPECS Board and APECS members. If you would like to get involved in future events like this one, please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Contact APECS

APECS International Directorate
Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research
Telegrafenberg A43
14473 Potsdam
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our Sponsors

APECS Directorate Sponsor
AWI WortBildmarke Farbe RGB
Further Sponsors and Partners for APECS projects, activities and events