Arja Rautio has been working in the field of circumpolar health since 2006 at the Thule Institute and the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu. She has also served as lead of the Health and Wellbeing in the Arctic Thematic Network. Her research interests are on health and wellbeing of populations living in the changing Arctic, marginalization, indigenous health and wellbeing, research ethics and human-environment relationships. She has been the Lead of international Master’s and Doctoral programs. Dr Rautio is a member of the Human Health Expert groups of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme and Sustainable Development Working Group (Co-Chair 2017-19), Social and Human Sciences Group of the International Arctic Science Committee, a board member of the International Union of Circumpolar Health and Chair of the Nordic Society of Circumpolar Health.

Arja outlined her views as on the role, "The main goal as Vice-President Research is to find new ways to support the current collaboration and actions of the Thematic Networks for increasing activities and number of joint projects, and this way gain even stronger and more interdisciplinary voice in the Arctic research and education. I hope that we could have more collaboration with the other actors and organizations working in Arctic for supporting sustainable development of the communities and populations living in rural and urban regions in the Arctic."

The agreement also extends Oulu's support of Thematic Networks coordination through the Thematic Networks and Research Liaison Office and the position of Director of Thematic Networks, Kirsi Latola.