Edinburgh will be the host location for the next Arctic Science Summit Week and the Arctic Observing Summit in 2024, the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) announced this week. This is the most important annual gathering of Arctic Research Organisations and will attract around 1,000 Arctic researchers from around the world to the city.
Arctic Science Summit Week
Events will take place from 21 – 29 March 2024 around the capital, including at the University. Edinburgh’s bid to host was put forward by the Scottish Arctic Network, with support from the Scottish Government, SAGES and MASTS, after the invitation was accepted by the IASC to hold the events in the UK. The original proposal came from the NERC Arctic Office and the UK Arctic and Antarctic Partnership (UKAAP), with the support of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
Henry Burgess, President of the IASC and Head of the Natural Environment Research Council Arctic Office, who will chair the local organising committee, said:
It is more important than ever that researchers across the Arctic are able to meet to develop new partnerships to understand the breadth and depth of change. So I am delighted that Edinburgh will be the host for our Arctic Science Summit Week in March 2024. This will be a fantastic opportunity to showcase all that scientists across the city, Scotland and the United Kingdom bring to Arctic science. I know that international researchers will receive a really warm welcome and I look forward to working with all the event’s partners to deliver a very special event.
Scotland's strong links to the Arctic
Scotland is the closest part of the UK to the Arctic with strong research connections. It is also acknowledged for its valuable contribution and cultural relevance to the Arctic.
Professor Finlo Cottier, Chair of Scottish Arctic Network commented:
“Scotland is the closest part of the UK to the Arctic and shares a lot of the historic and cultural ties with Arctic communities. Over the years Scottish universities have made a significant contribution to the UK activity in the Arctic, working closely with Arctic nations and sharing expertise and knowledge. The community of Arctic researchers in Scotland, through the Scottish Arctic Network, is excited to support Edinburgh as the host venue for Arctic Science Summit Week 2024.”
Scott Wightman, Scottish Government Director for External Affairs, added:
“We’re delighted that Edinburgh has been chosen to host Arctic Science Summit Week in 2024, showing Scotland's strong links to the Arctic region and our longstanding tradition of Arctic research, including in relation to the climate emergency. The Scottish Government looks forward to working with the Scottish Arctic Network and partners to welcome the world’s Arctic research community to Scotland.”
Within the research community, there is an appreciation of the importance of the events in the city and what they represent.
Dr Anna Gebruk, Vice President, UK Polar Network 2021/2022, who was an author of the application to host the events, commented on what the successful bid means:
“Hosting such a big and important international scientific event as is the ASSW24 in Edinburgh is truly exciting for the community of early career researchers with polar interests. Not only does it allow us to meet and connect with the world-leading experts in the field, but also it provides opportunities to get involved in the running of the event behind the scenes through volunteering and helping the organising committee, which is always a fun and enriching experience”
From Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, Dr Richard Essery shared his thoughts:
“The University of Edinburgh has strong terrestrial, marine, cryospheric and cultural research interests in the Arctic and draws on broad experience, nationally and internationally, through the Scottish Arctic Network, the UK Arctic and Antarctic Partnership, UArctic and the International Arctic Science Committee. We are excited to welcome international Arctic scientists to our beautiful home city for ASSW 2024.”
More about the organisations
More about the events
To find out about the events or to get involved contact Tessa Bell.
Building Arctic connections through UArctic
The University of Edinburgh is growing its engagement in the Arctic. It became a member of The University of the Arctic (UArctic) in 2021; a cross-regional network of universities, colleges, research institutes, and other organisations related to education and research which are linked to the North. With over 200 member organisations, the network aims to develop knowledge to address local and global challenges of relevance to Arctic peoples and societies.
Research staff from Edinburgh’s Schools of Geosciences, Social and Political Studies and Literatures, Languages and Cultures are particularly engaged with UArctic.
UArctic network objectives include:
- enhancing and promoting educational opportunities for northerners through academic collaboration and exchange
- sharing knowledge through collaboration in research, science and Indigenous / traditional knowledge
- strengthening recognition of circumpolar higher education
- securing funding and other resources to effectively strengthen capacity and capabilities for the Arctic.
One of the actions with the partnership so far is the University of Edinburgh creating a Scottish framework for mobility with UArctic to enable Scottish participation in UArctic mobility; the North2North mobility programme. The project is investigating models with the existing frameworks that could provide opportunities for Scotland, and aligns with UArctic’s goal of supporting circumpolar education and research that benefits northerners, northern communities, and the region as a whole.