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UAF Joins with Dartmouth College to Form Fulbright Arctic Initiative


Scholars at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire have joined forces with those at the University of Alaska Fairbanks to lead in a new Fulbright Arctic initiative. The new program was created to provide scholars an environment to research and study arctic issues. 

The program is overseen by the state Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  The participants will be selected by Dartmouth College and Myers Family Professor of Environmental Science Ross Virginia and UAF vice chancellor and professor of Arctic policy Mike Sfraga.  Scholars from the Arctic Council will be selected, that includes Canada, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russian Federations, Sweden, the US and Denmark. 

The researchers will be focusing on climate change, water, energy, health and infrastructure. Virginia says the initiative will be looking to build an interdisciplinary team.

“So we’ll focus on new issues in the Arctic. So researchers from across the Arctic nations can apply to this program. Each one of these people are able to do research that’s relevant to the Arctic. Our job is to go through these applications and look for scholars that are doing innovative work and then build a team of 16 to 20 researchers from those that apply.”

Virginia says the timing of this initiative is not coincidental.

“The US is assuming the chairmanship of the Arctic Council in late April of 2015. The state department has been developing a set of activities and programs that would enhance the effectiveness of the US as chairing the council. One of the premier programs within the state department is Fulbright, which is a program for international exchange for scholars and educators and is really a place where really high quality interdisciplinary research happens.”

The Fulbright Program is the US government’s flagship international education exchange program.  Those scholars chosen for the Arctic Initiative will be working on advanced research for 18 months starting in May of 2015.