June 21, 2013

Science Policy Conference: ARCUS Arctic Forum Highlights Interagency Collaboration

Posted by Sam Brockway

The Arctic Forum track organized by the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) for the AGU Science Policy Conference will focus on interagency collaboration for arctic change research in the United States. Comprised of three sessions, all moderated by Dr. Brendan P. Kelly (Assistant Director for Polar Science, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President), the Forum will include remarks by science program directors from a range of agencies. Dr. Kelly is the Executive Director of the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC), which released a five-year Arctic Research Plan in February 2013.

Arctic

The sea ice off of Tigvariak Island, Alaska, Beaufort Sea. Photo courtesy of NOAA Photo Library.

The Arctic Research Plan identifies research areas that will benefit greatly from close interagency coordination. This focus on collaboration between government agencies comes at a critical time for arctic research. Rapid changes in the Arctic have far-reaching implications in areas such as human health, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and the economy; research into the causes and potential results is vital. But the finite availability of research resources forces funding agencies to make hard choices. Increased cooperation between agencies can facilitate the sharing of resources and also reduce overlapping efforts.

The first two Arctic Forum sessions will outline a vision for interagency collaboration, and include remarks from science program directors with the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Smithsonian Institution (SI). The third session will be a roundtable discussion with international and non-governmental organizations joining the conversation. Representatives from the University of Alberta, Battelle, the Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Association, and the U.S. Arctic Research Commission will examine topics such as gaps in arctic research, the U.S. government’s role in research, and opportunities for interagency collaborations to address challenges facing the Arctic.

-Kristan Uhlenbrock, AGU Public Affairs Coordinator