UArctic Research Office established in Arkhangelsk
The 2nd International Arctic Forum “The Arctic: Territory of Dialogue”, which took place at the Northern Arctic Federal University (NArFU) Sept 21-23, 2011, saw the official opening of the University of the Arctic's Research Office, also hosted by NArFU.
UArctic President Lars Kullerud sees the establishment of a research office as a critical step in creating a collective capacity for UArctic members to coordinate northern research.
President Kullerud noted that many of UArctic's members in the North are perceived as smaller actors, and risk being marginalized by larger institutions from outside the region when it comes to high level research projects. The new office will help to promote the collective capacity of these members and strengthen the role of northern institutions in Arctic research.
Kullerud recognizes that other key Arctic research organizations like IASC and IASSA do a fantastic job in Arctic research, and points to the Memorandum of Understanding that was recently signed between those organizations and UArctic to increase cooperation in this area. He states that the new Resarch Office will ensure that UArctic members are well represented in these efforts. Kullerud concludes that, "for the first time we will have real capacity for the Knowledge and Dialogue strategic area (Mimir). In the past it has been a challenge to realize the potential in this area. Now there is a better opportunity to show UArctic's capacity and engage more effectively with the working groups of the Arctic Council.
Establishing the Research Office at NArFU in Arkhangeslk is a clear demonstration of the strength of Arctic science in Russia. Marina Kalinina, Vice-Rector for International Cooperation at NArFU, remarks:
"It is a great honor for NArFu to host the UArctic Research office, and we appreciate the support that we have received both on national and international level. The idea itself to establish a research office of the University of the Arctic was first expressed in Arkhangelsk, during the Council of UArctic meeting there in 2007. Since NArFU was established, the Arctic focus on research and education turned to be the main one, a new federal university in the northwest Russia has to develop new fields of research in connection with the Arctic, and we recognize international collaboration as an important resource to receive new knowledge and competence. When serving the goals of the UArctic, the research office at NArFU will no doubt serve to institutional development."
On September 22, 2011, the Research Office will be officially opened during the Arctic Forum in Arkhangelsk organized by the Russian Geographical Society The Research Office will first host a small seminar the previous day with UArctic and key external partners to discuss potential opportunities. Kalinina explains, "The Forum 'Arctic - a territory of dialogue' is going to be a great event due to the coverage of topics and representation of participants and invited guests. It is a big honor for the Northern (Arctic) Federal University to become a venue of the Forum."
UArctic is thankful for the enthusiasm and energy shown by NARFU in moving this forward, and particularly would like to express out gratitude and support to NArFU Rector Elena Kudryashova and VIce Rector for International Cooperation Marina Kalinina.