ARCUS Brings Value to the Arctic Research Community

Recently an ARCUS member institution representative asked for my help in making the case for our consortium dues to his department dean. Together we successfully outlined the value that member institutions receive from their ARCUS dues. It is a message worth sharing more broadly.

ARCUS provides a number of services for the arctic research community that our members rate highly. Prime among them is publicizing significant research, events, and relevant policy news through ARCUS-sponsored vehicles; for instance, our ArcticInfo email distribution list, which has 6,500 subscribers; and this digital publication, Witness the Arctic, which also includes member institution profiles. The current issue features a member highlight for Sandia National Labs.

ARCUS is internationally recognized for the PolarTREC program: Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating. PolarTREC recruits K-12 teachers to spend two to six weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions. The teachers share the experience, excitement, and knowledge with their students. The researchers get a better understanding of and engagement in K-12 education. Two years ago NSF identified this groundbreaking program as "potentially transformative" for the way it helps integrate research and education and the way it strengthens and enriches outreach and dissemination of research.

ARCUS convenes workshops, conferences, and other face-to-face opportunities for polar researchers to collaborate. This work advances science and enhances understanding of the complex issues involved in a rapidly changing climate. In 2010, ARCUS convened the State of the Arctic conference. This all-hands meeting provided an international forum to discuss future research to better understand the arctic system and its trajectory. Tackling an issue as complicated as climate change requires diverse perspectives, specialties, and expertise. Because ARCUS stands as an independent entity, as the "Switzerland" of arctic research, we are able to ensure the right voices are sitting at the right tables at the right time.

ARCUS also serves as the research community's voice in Washington, DC, communicating regularly with NOAA, NSF, and other key agencies, relaying valuable information, and serving as a conduit between agencies and researchers. Increasingly, ARCUS addresses climate policy issues of national and international importance.

When asked in a member survey why they belonged to ARCUS, member institutions responded:

  • To be seen as one of the institutions with a significant arctic focus.
  • To be knowledgeable about, participate in, and be active in arctic policy matters.
  • To support ARCUS as a strong promoter and advocate for arctic research, education, and outreach. ARCUS membership is an asset to the institution.

In short, ARCUS connects and supports our member institutions in order to advance polar research conducted by an increasingly broad set of scientific disciplines. As an independent entity, we are uniquely able to bridge, unite, and amplify the work of each of our member institutions. As we enter our twenty-fifth year, we look forward to building on past success, recognizing that a sustainable future can only be achieved through collaborative partnerships. ARCUS is proud to be a strong partner in this strong community.

— Susan E. Fox
     Executive Director, ARCUS