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Published: 01 Apr, 2022

Four Arctic Five Chairs appointed from Umeå University scholars

NEWS Fifteen scholars from Universities in Northern Sweden, Norway, and Finland have been appointed as Arctic Five Chairs. These appointments will be key figures in a collective effort to address common challenges facing the Arctic region. Four of the fifteen researchers are based at Umeå University.

Text: Jonas Lidström

The Arctic Five is a partnership between five universities in the northernmost parts of Sweden, Norway, and Finland. The partnership includes

  • Luleå University of Technology
  • The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsö (UiT)
  • The University of Lapland I Rovaniemi
  • The University of Oulu.

The Arctic Five network aims to advance and share knowledge, develop education, and create innovations for the advancement of our region and a sustainable Arctic.

Together the five universities form a comprehensive alliance with their combined 10 000 researchers and teaching staff, and 90 000 students. The alliance was initiated in 2016 and Umeå University joined in 2017.

Deepened collaboration between universities in three countries

So far, the Arctic Five Network has resulted in joint courses on master’s and PhD levels, and an Arctic summer school for PhD students.

Now the cooperation is being further deepened as the Arctic Five institutions have collectively appointed 15 Arctic Five Chairs and soon will implement an Arctic Five Fellows programme.

”These appointments will help build a strong foundation for the Arctic Five alliance, and the collective efforts of our Chairs offer great potential for the stimulation and growth of cross-institutional and cross-disciplinary research and education” says Dan Avango, Co-director of the Arctic Five, and head of the Chairs initiative.

The fifteen Chairs represent a wide range of academic disciplines, from glaciology and public health to research on labour market and security. Each Chair is expected to form and strengthen collaborations and research networks that can both lead to societal impact and more transdisciplinary research projects.

Sámi health, future narratives, outdoor workers and archeological heritage

Of the fifteen appointed Chairs, four are based at Umeå University.

Malcolm Lillie is a Professor of Archaeology. As Chair he is looking to evaluate natural and anthropogenic impacts on archaeological sites and artefacts in the Arctic and Subarctic regions. His work focuses on how cultural heritage is affected by climate change, and what methods and strategies will be needed to preserve the heritage for the future? 

Janina Priebe is a Senior Research Assistant in Environmental History. As Chair she wants to explore how narratives and discourses about Arctic futures are being formed, how they are linked with Global sustainability agendas, and how they affect people’s conditions for imagining their own futures.

Hans Pettersson is a research fellow in occupational health. As an Arctic Five Chair he is looking to develop new knowledge and solutions to improve the health of outdoor workers in Arctic and Subarctic environments, together with scholars in Norway and Finland. The aim is to bring about models and tools that can be used both in education and at workplaces that are affected by with these work environment challenges.

Miguel San Sebastian is a professor in Public Health. His project as Arctic Five Chair aims to build improved strategic partnerships between Sámi health researchers at the Arctic Five universities in Sweden, Norway and Finland, support increased collaboration with Sámi civil society and health care providers and facilitate links with broader, international network of Indigenous health researcher and educators.

More Umeå university scholars involved in the initiative

Beyond the four appointed Chairs, many more University Scholars will be active within projects led by Arctic Five Chairs at the other four universities.

These research areas include skills supply strategies, security policy and disinformation, gender perspectives on academic knowledge production, and Arctic tourism.

Arctic Five Chairs

The position for each Chair is two years (2022-2024) with the possibility of an additional 1-year extension.

All appointments corresponding to this round will officially start on 1 June 2022 at which time the chairs will begin establishing and leading their respective transdisciplinary group of colleagues from other Arctic Five universities and beyond.

For more information about the Arctic Five Chairs and their projects, visit the Arctic Five Website: Arctic FIve Chairs