On September 27, Umeå University was visited by a delegation from the British Embassy in Stockholm headed by Judith Gough, who is Ambassador to Sweden. At a morning meeting hosted by Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson, the topic of Arctic research and some of its challenges was broached by professor Niklas Eklund, director of the Arctic Center (Arcum).
The task of the British Embassy in Stockholm is to forward British interests in Sweden but also to play a vital role in international cooperation and initiatives. Last Wednesday, a delegation from the embassy paid a formal visit to Umeå University. They were treated to a general overview of the university and its many activities in different areas of research, teaching and innovation by Vice-Chancellor Hans Adolfsson. Short presentations areas were also given by professor Erik Elmroth (Department of Computing Science), professor Oliver Billker (Department of Molecular Biology) and professor Niklas Eklund (Department of Political Science).
In his role as Director of Arcum, Niklas Eklund gave a brief overview of the Arctic Center and its network of associated researchers across all faculty areas. He also focused upon some of the current generic challenges for Arctic research, for example how significant funding for Arctic research in Europe tends to wind up in countries outside of the actual European North. Another area pertained to definitions, among which there is still an uneasy conceptual relationship between polar and Arctic research. A third area was changes to security in the Arctic as a result both of climate change and rapidly changing concerns among global actors.
Challenges for Arctic research were discussed
Ambassador Gough showed a keen interest in Arctic issues and brought some interesting thoughts of her own to the table. Unfortunately, the time for discussion was severely limited and both the ambassador and the presenters had to press on. As the Arctic Center welcomes an open dialogue and input from a wide array of social actors, we hope to continue this dialogue at some other point in time.