A moment during "Societal Relevance of Polar Research"
A moment during "Societal Relevance of Polar Research"

How can polar research help create a knowledge-based society, concerned about Arctic and environmental issues? On November 27-28 2018, a conference and workshop on “Societal Relevance of Polar Research” was held in the Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences in Sopot, Poland to answer this and other questions. The event was organized under auspices of the IASC, IASSA, the University of Arctic and with kind financial support from IASC.

The main objective of the meeting was to bring together researchers from different fields of natural sciences, social science and humanities to investigate and discuss the significance and impact of their polar research on society. The underlying hypothesis to be tested was that if polar research was “attractive” to the wider public, it would help create a “knowledge based society” and foster public concern on topics such climate change and environmental protection.

During the first day, attendees identified key issues in leveraging societal relevance of polar research, which were identified as:
- Roles of different sets of knowledge,
- Effectiveness of diverse science communication channels and education, and
- Quantity and quality of massages about the developments taking place in both polar regions.

During the second day, participants brainstormed on research projects aiming to better understand how polar research is perceived and understood by different communities, by decision makers, by media, and by thought-leaders in national and international scales, both in the Arctic and beyond. The topic is innovative and naturally interdisciplinary. Despite some initial challenges in identifying specialized scholars, 40 were able to join, and the debate became a source of many interesting exchanges of scientific perspectives, practical insights and personal experiences. Attendees agreed on the following outcomes:

1. Education and policy-making are the main dimensions of the societal relevance of Polar research
2. Effective translation of results of polar research is a key to achieve better understanding of its relevance
3. Transnational comparisons can offer better understanding how societal relevance of Polar Research could be better developed.

This event is expected to develop into a long-term research project and a peer-reviewed publication. More information will follow on the project website and iasc.info.

Available Material:

Conference Program


Arctic as a territory of the Russian-Poland dialogue. (A. Fedotovskikh, pdf)
Arctic in Russia: trends of scientific research and public perception. (M. Gantsevich, pptx)
What do youngsters know about the Arctic? Results from the EDU-ARCTIC survey. (A. Goździk, pdf)
Science and tourism: towards coproduction? (M. Lamers, pdf)
Life of the native inhabitants of the Arctic through literature. (Z. Lyčka, pdf)
Some remarks about political relevance of (doing) Arctic research in non-Arctic nations. (M. Łuszczuk, pdf)
Paradoxes of anthropopression. Human presence in polar regions. (H. Mamzer, pdf)
Polar science in Lithuania. First steps. (S. Olenin, pdf)
Societal relevance of polar psychology researches. (A. Skorupa, pdf)
What Poles have to do with the Arctic? (J. M. Węsławski, ppt)

Report for IASC