Today NArFU hosted a meeting of the BEAC Joint Working Group on Education and Research. The group unites 15 universities and research institutions from the northern territories of Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden, aimed at solving crucial problems of scientific and educational cooperation expansion in the Barents Region. NArFU has been co-chairing the group since 2011.
Representatives of 9 universities of Northwest Russia and Norway (Northern Arctic Federal University, Northern State Medical University, Murmansk State Technical University, Syktyvkar State University, Petrozavodsk State University, Syktyvkar Forest Institute, Ukhta State Technical University, UiT – the Arctic University of Norway) participated in the meeting.
The meeting traditionally started with on overview of the current state of affairs and the results achieved by the universities in their international activities. Despite the current economic and political challenges, the universities continue to work actively for partnership enhancement, new educational program implementation, staff and student mobility development, as well as the launch of new international scientific and educational projects in the key regional fields.
The JWGER Chair Marina Kalinina presented the results of the group's work over the past year. In August 2015 the Barents PhD School, a summer school for graduate students, took place, and a joint project with the BEAC Working Group on Environment on advanced specialist training for the development of a cleaner production methodology was completed. In addition, the participants presented suggestions to the Communiqué of the Finnish chairmanship at the BEAC, and a number of projects were launched in cooperation with the BEAC Working Group on Youth Policy and the International Barents Secretariat, as well as a project aimed at strengthening cooperation between the thematic groups of the Barents region. In her presentation the Chair also highlighted the potential of the University of the Arctic – a network consisting predominantly of BEAR universities – as a tool for cooperation development.
An important issue on the agenda was the discussion of the Barents universities’ role in the implementation of the Russian BEAC Chairmanship objectives (http://en.beac-russia.com/). In particular, the universities are expected to participate actively in the implementation of the Joint Barents Transport Plan, which is scheduled for signing during the meeting of the Barents countries’ transport ministers in the upcoming June in NArFU. Universities have a powerful scientific and educational potential and networking experience and are ready to contribute to the implementation of regional projects, reflecting the complexity of the challenges that the region is currently facing in the fields of ecology, climate change, transportation, sustainable economic development, energy efficiency, safety and others.
At the meeting’s conclusion, the group members discussed the issue of chairmanship transfer for the next period. The partners unanimously decided to prolong NArFU’s chairmanship for the next two years. Marina Kalinina, Rector’s Adviser on International Cooperation, shall continue her work as the JWGER Chair.
The next JWGER meeting will take place in September in the framework of the UArctic Congress in St. Petersburg.