Best Practices of Collaboration in Arctic Research: How to Succeed, or Fail, in Cross-Disciplinary Efforts

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Helen V Wiggins, ARCUS, Fairbanks, AK, United States
The rapid physical and social changes currently underway in the Arctic - and changes in the way in which we study and manage the region - require coordinated research efforts to improve our understanding of the Arctic’s physical, biological, and social systems. At the same time, policy-makers and Arctic communities need decision-support tools and synthesized information to respond and adapt to the “new arctic”. There are enormous challenges, however, in collaboration among the disparate groups of people needed for such efforts. A carefully planned strategic approach is required to bridge the scientific disciplinary and organizational boundaries, foster cooperation between local communities and science programs, and effectively communicate between scientists and policy-makers. Efforts must draw on bodies of knowledge from project management, strategic planning, organizational development, group dynamics, and other fields. In addition, collaborations between scientific disciplines face challenges unique to scientific culture.

This poster presentation will discuss best practices of building and sustaining networks of people to catalyze successful cross-disciplinary activities. Specific examples and case studies – both successes and failures - will be presented that draw on several projects at the Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS;, a nonprofit membership organization composed of universities and institutions that have a substantial commitment to research in the Arctic.