The Arctic is warming three times faster than the rest of the world and scientists are finding out why. Canadian researchers continue to advance knowledge on a range of issues affecting the Arctic and the North, but the research landscape remains both complex and fragmented. A clear vision is required to ensure that Canada supports research that aids the self-determination and well-being of Arctic and Northern communities and responds to the needs and priorities of the people who live there.

At the request of a consortium of Arctic and Northern research organizations from across Canada, led by ArcticNet, the Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) has formed an Expert Panel to identify the key foundational elements required to create an inclusive, collaborative, effective, and world-class Arctic and Northern science system. The Panel will be co-chaired by Karla Jessen Williamson, PhD, Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations, University of Saskatchewan, and Ashlee Cunsolo, PhD, Founding Dean, School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies, Labrador Campus of Memorial University.

“The transformative environmental, social, and economic changes taking place in the Arctic have important implications for research,” said Dr. Jessen Williamson. “I look forward to exploring with Dr. Cunsolo and my colleagues how research efforts could be strengthened and enhanced to better meet the needs of Arctic Indigenous Peoples, Northerners, Canadians, and the international community.”

“The Arctic and the North are facing specific challenges that demand an equally distinctive approach to how research is carried out there — one that prioritizes and celebrates Indigenous and Northern sciences, priorities, and self-determination,” said Dr. Cunsolo. “I’m eager to work with the Expert Panel and Dr. Jessen Williamson to determine how Canada can strengthen its current foundation in Arctic and Northern research.”

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Drs. Jessen Williamson and Cunsolo will lead a multidisciplinary group with expertise in Indigenous and local sciences and knowledges, natural and environmental sciences, health sciences, and social sciences. The Panel includes experts from communities across Northern Canada and institutions which focus on the North. The Panel will answer the following question:

Based on an assessment of current knowledge and evidence, what are the key foundational elements to create an inclusive, collaborative, effective, and world-class Arctic and northern science system in Canada?

“We’re delighted that Karla Jessen Williamson and Ashlee Cunsolo have agreed to co-chair this Panel,” said Eric M. Meslin, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS, President and CEO of the CCA. “I’m especially proud of the Panel’s diverse expertise and am confident it will provide the ArcticNet consortium with knowledge it can use to inform decisions affecting Arctic and Northern communities and the development of a strong Arctic and Northern science system.”

More information can be found here.

The Expert Panel on the Future of Arctic and Northern Research in Canada
The expert panel:

  • Ashlee Cunsolo (Co-Chair), Founding Dean, School of Arctic and Subarctic Studies, Labrador Campus of Memorial University
  • Karla Jessen Williamson (Co-Chair), Assistant Professor, Educational Foundations, University of Saskatchewan
  • Richard Boudreault, FRSC, FCAE, Adjunct Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, École Polytechnique Montréal; Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Earth Science, University of Waterloo
  • Chris Derksen, Research Scientist, Climate Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada
  • Kimberly Fairman, Executive Director, Institute for Circumpolar Health Research
  • Bronwyn Hancock, Associate Vice-President, Research, Yukon University
  • Susan Kutz, FCAHS, Professor, Department of Ecosystem and Public Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Calgary
  • Gita Ljubicic, Associate Professor, Faculty of Science, and Canada Research Chair in Community-Engaged Research for Northern Sustainability, McMaster University
  • Rachel Olson, Director, The Firelight Group
  • Nicole Redvers, Associate Professor, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University
  • Dalee Sambo Dorough, Senior Scholar, University of Alaska Anchorage
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Featured image credit: Annie Spratt/Unsplash.


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