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Published: 2021-10-01 Updated: 2023-02-22, 13:46

Head of the Arctic Research School

PROFILE On 18 May 2021, the Vice-Chancellor of Umeå University decided to grant funds for an Arctic Research School with focus on sustainable development under the auspices of the Arctic Centre at Umeå University. On October 1, 2021, Linda Lundmark, Associate Professor at the Department of Geography, will assume the new position as head of the Arctic Research School.

Image: Linda Lundmark

The head of the Arctic Research School, Linda Lundmark, has been conducting research in and about the Arctic region throughout her career at the Department of Geography at Umeå University. She has gained insights into both the dailylife conditions in and research about the Arctic.

Linda completed her PhD in 2006 with a thesis entitled "Restructuring and employment change in sparsely populated areas: examples from Northern Sweden and Finland" at the Department of Cultural Geography. After her PhD, she worked on a variety of research projects, but also made significant contributions to teaching and pedagogical issues in her role as Course Director and Programme Coordinator for the Masters programme in Tourism.

Interdisciplinary themes in her key research revolve around tourism and mobility, policies, natural resources and climate issues. She has worked in nationally as well as EU-funded interdisciplinary projects and has gained considerable experience in project management. Currently, she is also involved in course activities linked to The University of the Arctic (UArctic).

The University of the Arctic (UArctic)

Is an international cooperative network with more than 200 members in the form of universities, institutes and other organisations with an interest in the dissemination of research and education in the Arctic.

Most of its members are in the Northern Hemisphere, but UArctic also has members from China, Japan, Korea and other non-Arctic countries.

For Linda, interest in the Arctic also partly stems from regional economic and resourceissues, revolving around questions like:

  • What is a resource?
  • Does this resource change in step with climate change?
  • Can the view of what constitutes a resource change in order to provide new opportunities for people living in a region?
  • How can natural resources be used in a sustainable way for development, and what does development actually mean - is it all about growth?

She wants to understand how the conditions for living in the Arctic are changing, and how people and societies respond to this change, whether through struggle, strategies or innovation. Understanding geography is key, because place based conditions are important for societal development, and even within the Arctic there are wide geographical variations in terms of sparsity, infrastructure and living conditions and for operating within national frameworks.

The Arctic Research School

During the fall semester of 2021, Linda will conceptualize and establish the Arctic Research School, with the aim to co-fund 16 doctoral positions, evenly distributed across the University's faculties from 2022 on.

The overarching aim of the new research school is to strengthen multidisciplinary Arctic research through the development and coordination of Arctic postgraduate education. Through an interdisciplinary sustainability perspective on Arctic issues, the Research School will contribute to Arctic Centre's general mission, which is to demonstrate how much international researchers can learn from a seemingly peripheral area such as the Arctic.

by collaborating more, I believe we can go even further

"The research school also contributes to a strengthening of the research profile of the university and to increasing the visibility of important research carried out here. For PhD students and researchers, who are otherwise guided by the scientific expectations of their respective disciplines and departments, I believe that an interdisciplinary environment can not only offer huge benefits by promoting diversity, by strengthening scientific arguments in relation to problems within a research field, but also clarity towards different stakeholders in society", Linda says, and continues:

"I believe that through interdisciplinary thinking, we as scientists can reconnect with the public's concerns and questions, because their realities do not follow any disciplinary folds, but instead cover many fields at the same time."

The assignment as head of the research school is half-time. The other half of her work time, Linda will continue to spend at the Department of Geography where among other things she is currently doing research in the project Climate Change and the Double Amplification of Arctic Tourism: Challenges and Potential Solutions for Tourism and Sustainable Development in an Arctic Context. The project aims to provide new knowledge on the role of tourism in community development and land use conflicts, ultimately to find a place for tourism in Northern regional policy and planning. Linda is also a board member of the Gösta Skoglund International Foundation and chair of CERUM's Scientific Council.

Linda Lundmark


What was the last thing you scribbled down on a piece of paper?

green deal

Which radio station do you prefer to listen to?

P1 and Rockstar

What is your favourite place?

Bjännsjö, where I live with my family!

Challenges and opportunities

When asked what the challenge will be as head of the Arctic Research School, Linda replies:

"Since the research school is new, and not yet fully developed, there are certainly many pitfalls, but beyond that I think it is good collaborations that are needed to lift an environment that little bit extra, to motivate those who are active in the environment. It's a challenge but also what feels especially important to me."

She continues:

"Arctic research at UMU is broad and encompasses all faculties, and there are many outstanding researchers working on Arctic issues. By collaborating more, I believe we can go even further."

Arctic Centre warmly welcomes Linda who starts her assignment today.

Head of Arctic Reseach School

Linda Lundmark
Other position, associate professor