Overall Goal

The Arctic continues to be a global hotspot not only of the changing climate on the planet, but also of the extractive industries, as a lot of the fossile fuel and mineral resources are in the polar regions. The links between the circumpolar North and the rest of our planet will further increase as well as the public impact of industrial development, not least on companies as well as states' reputations and most significantly on the populations which live in the Arctic. It is known that economic activity and business development play a crucial role in ensuring welfare and employment in the North. Petroleum and other extractive industries can contribute to increasing capital, and employment opportunities in the Arctic; however, successful establishment of these industries requires further focus on the social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts from the local to the global level, and building competence and skill-sets needed for all actors involved: the industry, the authorities, and local people who deal with both impacts and benefit of Arctic extractive industries. Over the past several years, the need has become apparent to create a systematic means for generating new research (both theoretical and practical) in the field of Arctic Extractive Industries.

This Thematic Network unites a number of interested scholars working towards minimising detrimental impacts and enhancing opportunities of industrial development for local people in the Arctic. We approach this overall goal from angles as different as human security studies, indigenous territoriality, reindeer herding, analysis of environmental and social risks, studies of benefit sharing and other angles.

Main Activities

The Thematic Network started with a Pan-Arctic Extractive Industries PhD programme in the Social Sciences related to extractive industries. This was (one of or THE?) UArctic’s first concerted PhD programme that awarded a certificate by UArctic as an addendum to PhD students’ degrees. The programme ran from 2011-2018. The courses were all over the Arctic, in North America as well as Greenland, Fennoscandia and Russia, and gave students the additional comparative insights that are often missing when they study at just one University. Thanks to our generous funding in two projects by SIU from Norway, (project numbers HNP-2014-10042, and _NNA-2012-10152), headed by Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv from UiT, we were able to fund massive PhD student mobility in this programme for many years. This led to a total of more than 100 participants in this programme.

The format was that a limited number of PhD students from partner universities (usually not more than 15) met intensively for a week with world-class specialist Professors to discuss extractive industries social sciences in the Arctic. Courses consisted of a lecture series, and discussion sessions where the PhD students works are analysed together among all course participants. After 2014, the programme was extended by initiative of Aytalina Ivanova (NEFU Yakutsk) to also including field-based components where the participants got familiar with local extractive industries in the places where the courses took place, for example in Neryungri, Mirnyi (Yakutia, Russia), Fairbanks (Alaska) and Kirkenes (Norway). The TN offered two such courses per year, organised by partner institutions within the TN (list of courses, topics and experts on the PhD programme’s archived website (arcticextractiveindustries.wordpress.com). PhD students that attended three of these courses and completing the required assignments could get a certificate issued by UArctic that certifies their expertise in Arctic Extractive Industries research and that they can use as an addendum to their PhD degree.

Current and Planned Activities

Since 2018 we have more focused on research in this thematic network, particularly in two research projects. If you have questions concerning any of this, please write the PI's.

"Live, Work or Leave? Youth well-being in (post) industrial Arctic cities" (AKA grant number 314471 and RFBR 18-59-11001, PI's Florian Stammler and Aytalina Ivanova , 2018-2020) (www.arcticcentre.org/youthwellbeing)

"Challenges in Arctic governance" (RCN grant Number 257644/H30, PI Gunhild Hoogensen Gjørv) (2016-2019)