The award is named after Frederik Paulsen who for decades has been a prominent supporter of scientific research and collaboration on the polar regions. The award is designed to recognize scientific and academic initiatives that are action-oriented and hold potential for addressing the challenges and critical needs posed by climate change. The prize comes with a 100,000-euro unrestricted grant that is intended to help develop the ideas through outreach, engagement, and communication.

The PermaMeteoCommunity project focuses on building a real-time response system which connects direct observations from boreholes and small-scale meteorological stations with an online platform that receives and displays all the data in near real time. The system can be used for decision making and meaningful action by local authorities during operational evaluations and extreme weather events, and also in designing local infrastructure and overall land area planning. In addition to serving authorities, the data is highly beneficial for the students and researchers living in Svalbard.

The project is currently underway in Longyearbyen at the University Centre in Svalbard, the home institution of the two winners. The resulting response system will be possible to adopt in other polar or cold-climate areas with permafrost or seasonal frost, i.e. areas that are most sensitive to climate change. As an area that has already seen severe landslides, Longyearbyen is an excellent test site for developing such technology. It also functions as a showcase for how to handle climate change to provide safer and better living conditions for the inhabitants; a challenge faced by many high-Arctic environments.

Jonassen and Christiansen are honoured to see their efforts receive recognition in the form of the FP Award. “It is extremely nice and important that what we are developing here for the main settlement of Longyearbyen in Svalbard, with respect to handling the effects of climate change on permafrost and its potentially hazardous impacts on society, is recognized as an important action.”

”I am pleased to support this project. It has a clear objective in advancing climate change research and mitigation, and it is also beneficial to the local community through concrete action and collaboration with them. This is highly important in creating real impact,” Paulsen concludes.

The Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award is a collaboration between Arctic Circle and UArctic.

“We are proud that two excellent researchers from the by far northernmost university, which is also a UArctic member, are able to present innovative solutions to a major community problem,” says UArctic President Lars Kullerud.

The winners are celebrated on the evening of October 14 in a special award ceremony and reception as part of the Arctic Circle Assembly program starting at 19:30. Jonassen and Christiansen will speak in the Assembly plenary session on the afternoon of October 15 at 14:05 and present their winning project in a session of their own at 15:55.

The Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award provides high-level recognition for innovative ideas that transform knowledge into action to help address the impacts of climate change in the Arctic. The prize comes with a 100,000 euro unrestricted grant that is intended to help develop the ideas through outreach, engagement, and communication.

Arctic Circle is the largest network of international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic and our planet. It is an open democratic platform with participation from governments, organizations, corporations, universities, think tanks, environmental associations, Indigenous communities, concerned citizens, and others. It is nonprofit and nonpartisan.

UArctic is a network of nearly 200 universities, colleges, research institutes, and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the Arctic. UArctic builds and strengthens collective resources and infrastructures that enable member institutions to better serve their constituents and their regions. Through cooperation in education, research, and outreach UArctic enhances human capacity in the North, promotes viable communities and sustainable economies, and forges global partnerships.

Media queries

Hanne H. Christiansen
Marius O. Jonassen

Arctic Circle:
Matthildur María Rafnsdóttir

Lars Kullerud
International Secretariat

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