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AAU Arctic’s First Annual Meeting was a great success

AAU Arctic’s First Annual Meeting was a great success

AAU Arctic hosted its first Annual Meeting on the 6th of October 2017 at Aalborg University.

In total 34 Arctic scientists across different disciplines assembled together to share and discuss their current and future undertakings regarding Arctic -related research. All the Faculties of AAU were represented at the meeting, which alone tells us about the importance of strengthening cross-faculty collaboration on Arctic research.

The Dean of TECH Henrik Pedersen opened the meeting with an inspiring speech that emphasized the importance of doing research in the Arctic region and working with local people and stakeholders in the process.

The day was filled with good energy and many intriguing discussions. Lill Rastad Bjørst, the Platform Coordinator of AAU Arctic, says that “the annual meeting offered a valuable opportunity for all participants to meet and network with other researchers who are also working with the Arctic region. It was a great chance to establish relationships and offer proposals and ideas for future collaborations”.

Along the day, four internal researchers from different Faculties of AAU gave exciting power point presentations about their latest research projects and initiatives.

Ulrik Pram Gad from the Faculty of Humanities gave a presentation about "the Concepts of Sustainability in the Arctic” (related to the POSUSA project). According to him, the concept of “sustainability” is treated as a ticket to the Arctic by various actors. 

Rikke Becker Jacobsen from the Faculty of ICT and Design talked about the "Population Attitudes to the Role of Fisheries in Greenlandic Society". She asked the question: “what should fisheries do for the Greenlandic community?”.

Stig Andersen from the Faculty of Medicine presented the latest research of Arctic Health Research Centre, Aalborg University Hospital and AAU. He talked about the link between ethnicity, environment and BMI, among other things.

Niels Haldor Bertesen from the State Building Research Institute (SBi) and Aalborg University in Copenhagen gave a presentation about “Better building skills and architecture in the Arctic".

Frej Dichmann.

The Annual Meeting had also two external speakers. Frej Dichmann from the Polar Secretariat gave a presentation about the Kingdom’s current and future focus on Arctic research. He told that in the future the focus will be on 1) the potential of an international research hub in Greenland, 2) implementation of cooperation agreement, 3) Arctic Science Ministerial II and 4) EU Lobby action on Arctic.

Poul Hededal and Lill Rastad Bjørst.

Poul Hededal, the Chairman of Arctic Business Network, talked about the link between research and practice in the Arctic. He pointed towards three interesting research areas: 1) Corporate social responsibility and Greenland 2) Broader Greenlandic skills and 3) What - technology, logistics and IT infrastructure - solutions can be developed for Greenlandic relations? 

The so-called “speed-date” – networking session between participants.

The Head of AAU Arctic Anne Merrild Hansen also presented an interesting upcoming book project; an anthology that will collect articles and case studies from the researchers of AAU Arctic. The core purpose of the book is to collect experiences of conducting research in Greenland, and thus it can serve as an inspiration for other Arctic researchers. She reveals that there has already been a lot of interest towards the project. Call for co-authors will appear on the AAU Arctic’s website and Facebook.

Overall, the first annual meeting was a great success where lots of good ideas and proposals on how AAU Arctic can make a difference were exchanged. The feedback from the participants was very positive and there was a great interest in continuing to work across the university on Arctic matters.

Next, AAU Arctic will hold a strategy committee meeting in January.