Preparations Underway for the 2016 Arctic Science Summit Week and Arctic Observing Summit

By: Kristin Timm, International Arctic Research Center, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Preparations Underway for the 2016 Arctic Science Summit Week and Arctic Observing Summit

It may be a year away, but planning for the 2016 Arctic Science Summit Week (ASSW2016) and Arctic Observing Summit (AOS) is well underway. Scheduled for 12-18 March 2016 in Fairbanks, Alaska, the week includes several separate but related activities to strengthen international coordination in Arctic science and policy. Beyond ASSW and AOS, there will be meetings of the Arctic Council Senior Arctic Officials, U.S. Arctic Research Commission, European Polar Board, Model Arctic Council, and several other side meetings and workshops.

Initial program development and outreach to potential conference participants has been central to the organizing effort. The new ASSW 2016 website was launched in mid-April and is the hub for news, travel information, program updates, side meetings and more. Information is currently available for organizations scheduling side meetings and a sign up form for requesting meeting space during the Summit is available online. The University of Alaska Fairbanks will be hosting most of the conference activities and has a range of meeting spaces, library resources, food and beverage service, and nearby attractions like the University of Alaska Museum of the North.

Coordinated by the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC), the Arctic Observing Summit (AOS) is beginning to take shape and themes have been identified. AOS is a forum for solutions-oriented discussion, planning and priority-setting to link stakeholder needs with Arctic observing systems design, data collection, analyses, and the creation of audience-appropriate data products. The upcoming Summit builds on the momentum, themes, and recommendations from previous Summits and includes six overarching themes: 1) international frameworks and national strategies for funding and support, 2) technology, 3) global linkages, 4) stakeholder engagement and needs, 5) private sector, and 6) traditional knowledge and environmental science.

In addition to formal conference activities, the Local Organizing Committee is planning a series of informal networking opportunities to promote conversation between meeting participants and with other Arctic and Alaska research, industry, and indigenous groups. They have also been working closely with the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau to arrange field trips so that conference participants can experience Alaska, local research stations, and local attractions such as ice carving, hot springs, and the northern lights.

To learn more and subscribe for updates, visit the ASSW2016 website.