Last question: Who gets funding?

On the return trip from Svolvær to Tromsø, the YSF participants finally got the answer on the last, open question of the course: Which project gets funding from the imaginary “ARCTOS research council”? Head of the council, Jørgen Berge, presented strengths and weaknesses of each of the four proposals and announced that both “LIGHTHOUSE” and “FOUL-BARENTS” would be ranked on a shared first place. Congratulations to both of them!
However, it was a very close race. All projects were really well thought through and presented themselves convincingly, and thus we may conclude that also in the instance of the YSF “the journey is the reward” – and it was great that every single YSF participant was part of it.

So, it is just left to say thanks to everybody for sharing these great days and someday, somewhere, somehow we meet again! 🙂

 Results of proposals

(Text: Ingrid Wiedman)


Finally, we all hit the deadline and had to deliver our more or less complete 1-page project proposals to the “ARCTOS research council” committee consisting of Jørgen, Rasmus, Elina, Michael and Gloudina. Each team also got 15 minutes to present their proposal for the committee and the other groups, followed by a the 10 minutes interrogation by the committee. Though it was “only” a course, Daniel’s guard dog barking (“time our”) was highly appreciated by several participants as it set an end to the “grilling”.

The teams came up with four quite different projects…
1) LIGHTHOUSE asked the ARCTOS research for money to conduct a PhD workshop in Lofoten to link scientific questions with the needs of the society in this region
2) FOUL-BARENTS applied for funding to conduct a study on the toxic effect of antifoul in the Barents Sea and analyze a possible implementation of regulations into the Norwegian and Russian regulation system
3) FUTURE wanted to conduct a fish study in northern Norway and Russia based on echo sounding and try to find out how climate change may affect the migration of the fish and the implications to the local communities
4) TWISTER applied for funding to run a satellite based study, which should analyze the consequences of enhanced polar low occurrence in the Barents Sea and their effect on petroleum activities and shipping

Despite the different approaches, all teams did a very good job in linking the natural and social science part and the group work between the doctoral students from so many different countires worked very well. Therefore, we think the following evening program (relaxing in the Jacuzzi and bar was aboard the coastal steamer “Trollfjord”) well-deserved for everybody!

Congratulation to a very successful course and thanks so much for a great time together!

(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann, photo: Miriam Marquardt)

Deadline approaching

After working desperately with our proposals and the final presentation on Tuesday morning, the course mentors almost kicked us out of the hotel to get some fresh air and clear the heads for the last hours of working: Deadline 19:00.

Some sun and some snow was waiting for us outside and the little trip to the breakwaters gave us the possibility to see a bit of the Svolvær surroundings. A quite special experience for the many foreign PhD students were probably the fish racks (“hjell” in Norwegian) to dry both fish fillets and fish heads.

Monday evening: Music and dancing

Though Scott’s lecture on the “art of the art” was very entertaining, many of the young scientists felt a bit stiff after a lot of sitting during the last days… Therefore some music and dancing was exactly the contrast program we needed: Michael and Clare did a great job by providing the instrumental part – THANK YOU SO MUCH – but we also would like to thank all evenings’ soloists, among others Anna, Jordan, Maxime as well as the Russian and German “choir”. In addition, Clare and Jordan spontaneously invited to a Scottish dancing class – but see yourself…


Clare and Michael: The Svolvær dancehall band

Jordan’s Scottish dancing class with live band

About horsedroppings and art

Scott Thoe, a local artist, vistited us on Monday evening and introduced us to some of his art. His paintings are mainly inspired by the local surroundings, the Hurtigrute, and people/ children in the North, but he has also more “applied” projects: By using color and forms, he tries to converts “sad, concrete” standard buildings into something special…

If you are intersted to see more of Scott’s art, you can visit his Gallery 2 website here.

Besides just showing his art, Scott motivated us also to give creative solutions more space in our own work and life… and as a small example, he came up with the following picture after being asked to draw a horse:

You ask what this is? It is of course horse droppings – the horse just went away a minute ago. 🙂

(Text and pictures: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Life in the Lofoten capital

The day began productive once more: Gloudina started with a short presentation on her work in Equador ( and how this small organization manages to get funding. In the following, Elina addressed the time planning fallacy – something we all knew very well, but with a rule of thumb (estimate the time and the multiply it by 1.5) we may improve this situation in the future. Some time for group work followed, and the different proposals start to get more detailed, but there is still much to be done. To get some fresh air and the head a bit free of all the science “stuff”, we visited the LofotAkvariet  with the seals and the otters and the Gallery Espolin, where we got a short introduction to the pictures of this artist inspired by the Lofoten.

By the way: All talks will be available for download after the end of the workshop!

Enjoy some impressions yourself!

Continue the workshop on the «water»

On HurtigrutenWhile the coastal steamer “Vesterålen” slowly steams southwards, the workshop continues with a lecture by Rasmus. Jordan presentingHe tells about his own experiences with funding applications, and one of his main statements for success is to “apply for the right funding at the right time”. More student presentations, group work, discussion of approved and rejected proposals of our course mentors fill the day, interrupted by a massive amount of goo
d food and some sunny coffee breaks on deck. In Stockmarknes we use the short call to port for a visit to the Hurtigruten museum or just a little walk.
We arrived in a snowstorm in Svolvær in the evening, and after some confusion about the which way to go, Daniel managed to navigate the group safely along the 500 m long walk to the Svolvær hotel. The scheduled “evening off” turned out to be an “evening off for groupwork”, a detail the organizers forgot to mention. With some help from the bar, the struggle for the perfect proposal lasted until late in the evening.


In Svolvaer

(Text and pictures: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Brainwork on Saturday

On Saturday our official program started with a lunch at Fram Senter, before Rasmus held his lecture on transports through the Arctic, both in form of ships and data traffic. This section was followed by a lecture of Michael on innovative data presentation on posters, presentations and in publication, and another round of student (poster) presentation. This lead to very good discussions among the PhD students, almost too good as the pizza started to get cold when we finally finished. Few hours later we left Tromsø with the Coastal Steamer “Vesterålen” and headed south towards Svolvær, where we will arrive on Sunday evening. Some of the participants made a very wise decision, and went to bed, while others mingled in the bar, and had a liquid “breakfast” already at 3 a.m. in the morning.

(Text and photo: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Workshop part II

Following the quote “after the show is before the show”, we almost seamlessly switched from the end of the Arctic Frontiers conference 2013 on Friday afternoon to part II of our workshop: proposal writing and evaluation. After a introduction lecture by Jørgen Berge on the “art of proposal writing”, the participants of the YSF got divided into four groups. Until Tuesday evening each group has time to put together a strategy on how to answer the (fictitious) call for proposals by the Research Network ARCTOS (see below)… and then we will see who gets funding. Good luck and team spirit to all teams!


(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Science banquet on Thursday evening

Maxime, Ingrid and Daniela enjoying their dinner

Spending the whole day listening to very interesting lectures in science or policy talks makes you hungry, but fortunately the science banquet at the RICA Ishavshotel was waiting for us as a last program point on Thursday evening. After the aperitiv, an amazing buffet and some comments of a quite funny toastmaster, we finally had time to lean back and have a relaxing conversation with old and new friends .

Only a small choice from the dessert buffet

APECS (the Associsation of Polar Early Career Scientists) also used the Science banquet to announce this years Poster Award: And the first price went to Moritz, a YSF participant! CONGRATULATIONS!

(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Wednesday evening: Portuguese Fish and Music in the Arctic Cathedral

The Arctic Cathedral in Tromsø

After one first exciting day on the science part of the conference, where conclusions were drawn about the mystery of the polar cod and the fate of the Arctic spring bloom, we continued the evening at Driv, the local student house. Bacalao, a Portuguese dish made from Norwegian stockfish, was this evening’s conference dinner: Bacalao is the Portuguese word for Cod (or in smart: Gadus morhua), and the dish is normally served with potatoes in tomato sauce.
After finishing the predator – prey interaction at Driv, all Arctic Frontiers participants were invited to listen to some beautiful music at the Arctic Cathedral – one of the most famous landmark´s in Tromsø – the Arctic Cathedral. We had the pleasure to listen to some amazing musicians and singers of the now-upcoming Northern lights festival.

(Text and pictures by Miriam Marquardt)

AF program on Thursday: YSF participants stay active

Also on day 4 of the Arctic Frontiers conference, YSF participate actively to the program… so STAY TUNED!

Auditorium 3 (Marine Production)
09:00 – 10:30     Miriam will be one of the chairs of the session
10:45 – 12:05     Jordan and Daniela take over as chairs
13:05 – 14:55     Jordan and Daniela continue as chairs
14:35 Daniela gives her talk on the effects of food and light on the physiology of Calanus glacialis during different seasons in the Arctic

…and between 16:00 and 18:00 there will be the poster session with several contributions from YSF participants!

(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Twitter workshop with Tom Fries (from The Arctic Institute)

Tom Fries (The Arctic Institute)

As a side event to the conference, Tom Fries from the Arctic Institute hold a 1h workshop on social networks. He focused on microblogging, 140 signs and hash keys – Twitter.
Therefore, a tweet like summery for you:

– Increasing number of twitter user: > 500 mill (Oct 2012)
– Twitter can facilitate your Arctic conversation
– How to do a good tweet? Think visually and share good, useful information
– Wanna join the party? Enjoy arcticfrontiers, ARCTOSnetwork and ArcticInstitute

(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

AF program tomorrow: YSF participants get active

After two days of listening to various interesting speakers, the YSF participants get active on Wednesday…

Auditorium 1 (Geopolitics in a Changing Arctic Securtity in a Global Context)
12:30 – 14:10 Katrin will be one of the chairs
15:20     Katrin talks about the Arctic security community
16:20     Stefan asks if emergency response management in the Arctic is a driver for cooperation

Auditorium 2 (Marine harvest in the Arctic)
16:40     Clare speaks about the fate of the Arctic spring bloom

Auditorium 3 (Marine Production)
13:30     Marianne talks about larval polar cod & sandlance trophodynamics in the Bering Sea
13:50     Maxime will ask for an answer to the mystery of the missing polar cod


(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

A special presentation: Emerging Leaders

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATwenty one young people from industry, consulting and academia met under the Emerging Leaders program in conjunction with the Arctic Frontiers 2013 conference. The Emerging Leaders listened to lectures and presentations on governance, policy, industry, science related to the Arctic region during their 2.5-day trip between Bodo and Tromso. They were challenged to think about the future of the Arctic in 2050 and to make presentation on the topic. Fruitful brainstorming and discussions resulted in 20 min performance during the second day of the Arctic Frontiers conference. You can watch the presentation here [update October 2015: Video not available any more]. In this ironic time travel, we meet the (now old and well established) Emerging Leaders at the Arctic Today Show in the year 2050. A completely different type of presentation after 2 days with political talks…

(text: Alexey Pavlov and Daniel Vogedes)

A short summary of Arctic Frontiers – Day 1

So, here is a little summary of the opening and first day of Arctic Frontiers conference 2013.  Today was a huge learning experience for me. And I am still reeling a little from new information and the experience of a completely geopolitical perspective.

First up we had welcomes from the Rector of Tromsø University followed by Egil Olli who is President of the Norwegian Sami Parliament.  His emotional talk emphasised the importance of nature to the indigenous people who call the Arctic home. He was also to my great surprise, the ONLY speaker to mention any kind of renewable energy with a brief mention of the fact that extensive wind farms would threaten traditional reindeer grazing lands. I congratulate the organisation of the order of the speakers in having a Sami spokesperson first as it only underlined the fact that Arctic stories must always begin with the people that depend on it directly. It was Espen Barth Eide (Minister for Foreign Affairs) that followed and we learnt that the Arctic council was formed in 1996 to discuss decisions made by the IMO (International Maritime Organisation).  Interestingly, Espen noted that the only Arctic country not to join the Arctic council was the U.S.A., a point that was eloquently addressed to Mead Tredwell, the Alaskan governor, after his speech later by Hans Corell, the former Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs and the Legal Counsel of the United Nations. After Espen Barth Eide, the chair of the Arctic Council and Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt spoke and made clear that he was very much on the same page as Espen and emphasised the achievement of the Arctic council in creating a task force which meant that the eight countries in the council explicitly agreed to deal with oil spills in the Arctic. And so continued the theme of the day: Oil. Following this, Leona Aglukkaq, a Canadian Inuit from the settlement of Gjoa Haven a remote town in the heart of the Canadian Arctic at 68 °N and also the Minister of Health and the Canadian Northern Economic Agency told a fitting tale of Amundsen’s crucial training in this very settlement in 1903 which ultimately led to his success in reaching the South Pole in 1911. On a final note: Steiner Vaage. The President of ConocoPhillips tried to convince us on the gleaming success of oil and gas exploitation in the high north. He did not address renewable options or sufficiently answer the question asked concerning the plan in case of accidental spillage.

So, for today that is my summary of day 1! Tomorrow’s speakers will focus on marine production and I’m sure we will all continue to gain from this widening of perspectives on all fronts.

(text by Clare Webster)

Live Radio debate on the Norwegian Radio – Day 1


Live Radio Broadcast from the Arctic Frontiers Conference

The largest auditorium at the University of Troms was almost filled to the last seat when Salve Dahle opened the conference on Monday morning. Among the many speeches from national and international politicians, a debate round was broadcasted live on the Norwegian radio program Ekko (P2). You find the podcast (in Norwegian) as mp3 here (see “21.1.2013, Viten – Arctic Frontiers”). Moderator Torkild Jemterud succeeded well to make ministers, scientists and representatives of interest organizations speak on an understandable level, and this made it both easy to listen and interesting at the same time. Among the many aspects, they discussed, I would like to share one particular with you: At least for me it was new that China, India and Singapore applied for an observer position in the Arctic Council, and in the first moment this status may appeared slightly farfetched, especially in the case of Singapore, which is located on 1° northern latitude. However, as one of the debate participants stated: “They are all located on the »right side of the globe«. 🙂

(Text and photo: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Art meets science

After the official opening of the Arctic Frontiers conference at the Polaria, the YSF participants met Helene Sommer and Sigbjørn Bratlie at the Tromsø Center of Contemporary Art (page here in Norwegian).

These two young artists accompanied a scientific cruise to the Arctic during the last year and used this “extraordinary studio” to produce some special pieces of art. Helene put together a 26 minutes movie using both historical film material and shots from the cruise and wanted to contrast “real” Arctic impressions and the view that people have on the Arctic through media. Sigbjørn used a completely different approach: He established “The Schnork Institute for Arctic Research”, which uses “advanced hermeneutics” – a self-developed method rooting in the ancient traditions using the random fall of chicken bones on a pattern on the floor… Probably a rather special method for scientists, but who knows, perhaps it really works…? 🙂

(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Arriving in a Blizzard

After a stint across Scandinavia I made it to Tromsø! Only one flight missed for me but I fear that for our Canadian contingent of young scientists the journey is proving a little longer… I’ll leave that story for them to tell!

Last night most of us met for the first time and shared some pizzas while we chatted about our Arctic specialities whether they be geopolitical, biological or somewhere in between.


Today was the city of Tromsø’s first glimpse of the sun over the horizon and it made for a beautiful sunrise and sunset – the fastest I’ve ever seen. Most of us are now working hard at last minute preparations and are excited (and a little nervous!) for the official start of the workshop tonight and the conference tomorrow.

The sun is back in Tromsø

The sun is back in Tromsø

(Text and pictures by Clare Webster, YSF 2013 participant)

A musical-ecological-linguistic description of Arctic Frontiers 2013

YSF mentor Michael Greenacre used the main words of the speakers in the scientific meeting in a slightly different way and put together a musical-ecological-linguistic description of Arctic Frontiers 2013 (you find it here on youtube). He uses correspondence analysis in the way it was originally developed in 1961 by the French mathematician and linguist, Jean-Paul Benzecri (who analysed word counts) and demonstrates the slightly different use of key words by scientists from different regions. Enjoy!

1h YSF workshop on social media – still possible to join!

On Wednesday, 23rd of January, there will be a one hour seminar on how to use social media, in particular Twitter, to make your research more visible. The seminar will be held by Tom Fries, who is also doing the podcasting from Arctic Frontiers (see previous post). It will take about one hour (starting at 12:00) and there are still places available. The seminar is open to everyone. A free registration is required, more info and a registration link here. [edit October 2015: removed link]

Arctic Frontiers goes podcast

For the first time this year, podcasts are available from the Arctic Frontiers conference (check out here): Tom Fries from the Arctic Institute interviews speakers and participants at the conference about their work and their personal Arctic hot-topic issues. Among others, you can find interviews with the YSF participants Kathrin Keil and Ingrid Wiedmann as well as YSF mentor Rasmus Bertelsen right now… and several others will be available soon.
(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

The “whole” world is travelling to Tromsø

In the last blog entry, this year’s YSF mentors presented themselves, and reading their background made me curious meeting them. However, it also made me thinking a lot more about the other YSF participants: From where will they soon start their travel to Tromsø?

Daniel gave me a tiny, tiny “backstage” insight and told me where you – this years’ YSF participants – are coming from. Since I assume you are similarly excited to know more about the other workshop participants, I would like to share this information with you… 🙂
Have a good travel and see you in very few days in Tromsø!

YSF participants 2013 come from 10 different countries to Tromsø

(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

The mentors for the 2013 workshop present themself

Here is little introduction to the mentors participating in the YSF PhD workshop this year:

Jørgen Berge (Workshop responsible):
Jørgen Berge is a professor in marine biology at University of Tromsø and adjunct professor at the University Centre in Svalbard. He was worked for more than ten years ion Arctic marine ecosystems and effects of a reduced ice cover (direct effect of the current warming of the Arctic). He has long experience as project leader on various external financed projects. Web: Jørgen Berge at ARCTOS   Jørgen Berge at UiT


Michael Greenacre:
Michael Greenacre is a Professor of Statistics in Barcelona, and has been working in various ecological projects and teaching in northern Norway for more than 20 years. He can help you with your stats and give you good advice for your research.  He is also a musician and composer, with one published CD and another presently being produced. Web:


Rasmus G. Bertelsen:
Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen is an international relations scholar at Aalborg University (Denmark) working on questions of security, state building, human capital, natural resources, learning and competences in the North Atlantic. His Arctic interest is based on growing up in Iceland and later studies and work in Reykjavik making this Danish political scientist deeply interested in independence politics and state building in Iceland, Faroe Islands and Greenland.

Elina Halttunen:
Profilbilde_Elina_HalttunenI work as part researcher and part educator. My research interests are in aquatic ecology and life-history theory, and through my PhD I have come to know and love Atlantic salmon and it´s spawning behaviour. As an educator I coordinate and teach on several PhD-courses on transferrable skills. I´m especially involved in the courses on communicating and popularizing science.
Web: Elina Halttunen at UiT


Gloudina Greenacre:
Gloudina_GreenacreGloudina Greenacre is a naturalist who has been involved in wildlife conservation projects in Ecuador since 2002. Starting as a wildlife veterinarian assistant, and having directed various animal rehabilitation centres, she is now mainly involved in managing a newly created NGO in the Ecuadorian Amazon. In search of income resources for the activities of the organisation, she and her team have put into practice a variety of funding models which she will be delighted to share during the conference.

Daniel Vogedes:
Daniel spends his time trying to finish a PhD in marine biology with focus on Arctic zooplankton and sea birds. He spent 10 years on Svalbard and moved south to Tromsø in 2009. Besides working on his PhD, he works part-time as secretary for ARCTOS, which puts him charge of the workshop logistics and many other administrative tasks for the network.
Web: Daniel Vogedes at ARCTOS   Daniel Vogedes at UiT

Tromsø is waiting for you!

webcam_20130110Winter holidays are over, the sun is soon back at 69°N (you may check yourself and another very good reason to finish hibernationon is approaching: Arctic Frontiers – the annual conference on the Arctic presence and future hosted by the University of Tromsø (which is by the way the northernmost university of the world). During the last years, I attended only single lectures of Arctic Frontiers and helped out as a volunteer, but this year’s conference is a rather special one for me: For the first time in my beginning scientific carrier I attend Arctic Frontiers as a regular “active” participant. In addition, I will also join the associated Young Scientist Forum (YSF), a PhD workshop on proposal writing – as the only Tromsø “local”. Therefore, my travelling is quite short :-), and in contrast to all the other YSF participants, I have no other choice than to try to sit down and wait, though I am very excited to get to know all the other YSF participants soon.
(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)

Doomsday – canceled! YSF 2013 still counting down

Only four weeks until Arctic Frontiers and Young Scientist Forum workshop 2013! This time we have 25 participants from 10 countries, from both social and natural science. The hotels and the cabins on Hurtigruten are booked, a program is in the making and we are looking forward to exciting 10 days in Tromsø and on Lofoten. This blog will be updated by Daniel before and after the workshop and during the workshop Ingrid will be in charge of supplying news and pictures on a daily basis. Eventually it will be archived for all eternity, so forthcoming generations will see what a great time we had!
(Text: Ingrid Wiedmann)