Looking North -- A Note from the ARCUS Executive Director

Robert H. Rich, PhD, CAERobert H. Rich, PhD, CAE

Facilitating and supporting connections within and beyond the Arctic research community is what ARCUS has been doing for you for more than 20 years. We do it through specific programs such as SEARCH, the Sea Ice Outlook, PolarTREC, and the Sea Ice for Walrus Outlook, and more broadly through workshops, strategic planning, and cooperation-building between researchers, policymakers, Arctic residents, and other stakeholders. The staff, board, and volunteers work together to provide this key interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and international connectivity that enables and leads the best research and understanding. In today's climate, we need to continue to build upon that legacy, and take it to the next level.

That is why I was so excited to be asked by the ARCUS Board to begin serving the Arctic research community as Executive Director last month. I come to this position from a career as a PhD scientist leading scientific organizations in support of the potential of research and education to improve people's lives. I know that there is enormous potential for Arctic research to benefit people, within the region and around the globe. Hopefully, together we can realize that potential.

The Arctic is a hot topic of conversation these days in Washington, D.C. Numerous government agencies and not-for-profit groups are asserting interests in a better understanding of the region. From the White House on down, there is much desire for cooperation, collaboration, and understanding the changing Arctic in a systematic way. Such connections, in terms of relationships and in terms of thought, are needed now more than ever. To best enable connections, I'll be based in Washington, DC, where we've set up an office within the Consortium for Ocean Leadership's community of geoscience organizations. Think of me as ARCUS' voice in the science policy and funding conversations taking place here.

This summer, I will be exploring the nuances of research in the Arctic and how it can advance. You may see me up on the North Slope, or in Fairbanks, Anchorage, and some coastal communities. Later this year, I'll be working with the Board to refine our priorities to be of most value in support of our Vision: 'ARCUS envisions strong and productive linkages among international Arctic researchers, educators, communities, and other stakeholders that promote discovery and understanding of the Arctic and inform sound decisions related to the Arctic.'

As I get familiar with the Arctic research landscape, I'd love to hear from you. What do you think are the most important priorities for ARCUS to pursue? How can this consortium be of most value to its members and the broader research enterprise? What do you think have been the strongest contributions we've made, and where should we do more? You can reach me at bob [at] arcus.org, during our events at the American Geophysical Union meeting this December, or out and about in the D.C. research community.

Have a great summer and thank you for everything that you do in support of Arctic research.

Robert H. Rich, PhD, CAE
Executive Director, ARCUS