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International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INTERACT (International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic)

Reporting period: 2018-04-01 to 2019-09-30

INTERACT is uniting research stations operating in harsh and remote areas of the Arctic where climate change is amplified and more than double the global level, to monitor, understand and predict future environments. The magnitude of these impacts is likely to result in local and even global challenges for society and therefore requires a better flow of information among research station leaders, scientists, local and indigenous peoples, and decision makers. Consequently, INTERACT will provide a single entry point for all relevant stakeholders while being proactive in bringing groups together. To ensure that the next generation is better equipped to research and plan adaptations to a new Arctic environment, INTERACT is investing in educational resources and mentoring of early career scientists. Specifically, INTERACT aims for a geographically comprehensive and excellent state-of -the-art terrestrial research infrastructure throughout the Arctic and adjoining forest and alpine regions to identify environmental change, to facilitate understanding and prediction of future change and to inform decision makers about societally-relevant impacts. INTERACT is the fundamental building block and one-stop-shop for EU and international projects, programs and organizations requiring access to northern lands, data and services. INTERACT aims to be a hub providing a rapid response capability to potential environmental hazards. INTERACT is pan-arctic, multidisciplinary and crosses EU call domains by linking to forest, coastal, marine and atmospheric communities. INTERACT is also geographically comprehensive and interacts at a global scale. INTERACT uniquely unites 86 research stations in a Station Managers' Forum that aims to ensure inter-comparability of information and excellent science support. A Data Forum improves availability of data by bringing data providers together with data users. Physical pan-Arctic Transnational Access is offered by 43 stations and virtual access will be offered by 29 stations. An innovative TA User Community stimulates new collaborations and improved information flow while new state-of-the-art educational resources encourages young scientists. Joint research activities ensures close cooperation between the Arctic Council’s biodiversity monitoring program and station activities; develop new drone technology together with industry to enlarge the research stations’ environmental observing footprint; and produces guidance for local communities to adapt to change.
During this first and second reporting period, INTERACT provided pan-arctic access to the world’s scientists and equipped station leaders around the Arctic to enhance their science support. Highlights of the first and second reporting period include:
-TA and RA calls resulting in more than 300 applications of which 55% were funded to 42 research stations
- a new state of the art web site including INTERACCESS (programme for submission and evaluation of TA/RA applications) has been developed
- new educational material that has reached thousands of students while teachers’ and scientists’ requirements for additional resources have been gathered
- a guidebook on zero-emission to aid station managers to reduce their environmental impacts has been produced
- a field work planning handbook and a practical field pocket guide have been published as a resource to improve safety when doing field work in the Arctic.
- identification of current and complex data flows among the INTERACT research stations increase data availability
- material to guide station managers and users of research stations how to deal with data management have been produced
- the development of a system's approach to provide a rapid response capability to potential environmental hazards
- two trial runs have been completed to test INTERACT rapid response system and learn for the future
- comprehensive guide books on how to use drones in the Arctic have been published
- a workshop that gathered researchers, indigenous and local peoples and decision makers to formulate best practices for overcoming future environmental challenges
- working with representatives of high level organisations such as the Arctic Council's working group CAFF to implement planning of biodiversity monitoring
- engaging with regional and national governments to derive added value activities and facilitate science diplomacy
Externally, INTERACT is now seen as the major terrestrial research infrastructure of the North and is constantly engaged in supporting national, regional and global organisations as well as informing governments. In addition to integrating, harmonizing and improving research and monitoring at research stations around the North, one of INTERACTs greatest impacts, based on international research agendas, is transforming words to action!
- Bringing 86 research stations together to cooperate and harmonize their activities is unparallelled and beyond the state of the art and generate many impacts.
- By uniting new and old research stations, INTERACT has gathered best practices for operating research stations and has even supported development of new research stations. The combined experience and expertise of 86 research stations results in excellent station operations beyond the previous state of the art. INTERACT’s work towards zero emission research stations will have significant impact on reducing environmental damage with beneficial societal consequences.
- It is beyond the state of the art to identify the complex and multiple data flows throughout INTERACT. Once this is achieved, harmonization of data flow can be implemented and individual stations’ data will become more accessible. Increased availability of data from a sensitive and rapidly changing area will have a significant global impact.
- By the end of the project, and including the first phase of INTERACT (2011-2015), approximately 1000 scientists from around the world have used TA to carry out excellent science. In our experience, this achievement is unique! and has huge societal benefits.
- For the first time, it is possible to offer a one-stop-shop to identify and respond to potential environmental hazards (e.g. spread of diseases). A system's approach is used to connect field observations with sample analyses and information release to society. The impact for local and even global communities of increasing awareness of potential hazards is likely to be enormous.
- INTERACT has brought together researchers, indigenous and local peoples and decision makers to identify issues in relation to a changing northern environment. It seeks to move beyond the state of the art to improve communication to resolve these issues. While the impacts and societal relevance will be local and specific, the process will have much wider impacts.
- New technological possibilities are used to empower future generations to solve problems of environmental change. INTERACT reaches thousands of students from schools to university by developing mass online outreach courses and an interactive i-book. A new generation of more informed societies is an impact that is a fundamental part of INTERACT's legacy.
- The high level of international collaboration achieved by INTERACT has been acknowledged by numerous Ambassadors. The continuing cooperation is now being facilitated by local governments and national Embassies as a sign of the great success of INTERACT Science Diplomacy.
INTERACT is a Pan-Arctic network of 86 terrestrial research stations