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Arctic Circle

The Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award

The Award celebrates action-oriented scientific initiatives that serve to promote and raise awareness of promising projects which address climate change through concrete actions and plans.

2023 Award Winner: Professor Minik Rosing

Polycrisis-addressing Initiative Wins 2023 Frederik Paulsen Award!

The third Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award (FP Award) has been awarded to Minik Thorleif Rosing in a ceremony today at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland. His initiative proposes to use glacial rock flour to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, improve global food security, and bring new business opportunities to Greenland.

The winning initiative is led by Minik Rosing, Professor of Geology at the GLOBE Institute of the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. The initiative proposes to use glacial rock flour to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentrations, improve global food security, and bring new business opportunities to Greenland.

As the world struggles with grand challenges, the glacial rock flour offers a solution to multiple problems. Abraded from the Greenland bedrock by the movement of the ice sheet, the rock flour is a plentiful and naturally occurring concentrate of mineral nutrients. Stimulated by heat and humidity, a process known as weathering releases the nutrients from the rock flour and simultaneously binds atmospheric CO2. Thus, when used to treat soil in tropical and even temperate climates, the glacial rock flour can help mitigate greenhouse-gas induced climate change and at the same time increase crop yield. In oceanic settings, the rock flour binds CO2 and also reduces the acidification of seawater. The glacial rock flour project offers a scalable solution which stimulates natural systems to consume CO2, strengthens the resilience of ecosystems, and can also provide economic benefits to Greenland.

“Globally, the Arctic has become the symbol of accelerating climate disaster; a frail, pitiful region in need of help and sympathy. I hope our project can redefine the Arctic as the go-to region for solutions to global problems and inhabited by peoples with agency and impact,” Minik Rosing states.

The winning project was selected from a shortlist of four nominations. “Minik Rosing works locally in the Arctic to solve global challenges. His research may influence local economy, reduce CO2 emissions globally, and induce increased food production in areas far from the Arctic. He is a respected scientist and a pioneer for the young generation in his homeland,” says Anne Husebekk, member of the Award Council and Vice-chair of the UArctic Board.

100,000 EUR Prize

The winning initiative receives EUR 100,000 and the opportunity to implement the project through the UArctic network.

A reception and a dinner is held in their honor following the presentation of the winning project at the Award Ceremony.

Shortlisted nominees for the 2023 Award

The call for nominations ran from February 1 to April 30. After a thorough review and evaluation, the UArctic Academic Advisory Board – the Award Evaluation Committee – has selected four candidates to be considered for the 2023 Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award, all with great potential:

  • Mary Albert, Toku Oshima, Lene Kielsen Holm (posthumous), Christopher Polashenski, Weiyang (Fiona) Li, Hunter Snyder, Alyssa Pantaleo: Community-led Investments in Climate & Food Security: An Inclusive Model for Arctic Energy Transitions
  • N. Stuart Harris: Temperature is a Vital Sign: Climate Change and Population Health in Alaska’s Northwest Arctic
  • Scott Hosking, Tom Andersson, Ellen Bowler, James Byrne, Alden Conner and the team: IceNet: AI Arctic sea ice forecasts for people and wildlife
  • Minik Thorleif Rosing: Glacial Rock Flour – a simple natural agent in mitigating the global polycrisis

Click here to read more about the nominees and their ideas

The winner will be announced in October at the Arctic Circle Assembly.

Purpose of the Award

The Arctic is warming at three to four times the global average. Shrinking ice and rising temperatures are having predominantly negative impacts on infrastructure, food security, water resources and quality, wildlife, health and well-being, and ways of living, particularly for Indigenous peoples. Changes in the Arctic are not limited to the Arctic; they affect climate, oceans, and access to resources globally.

It is not enough simply to hope that solutions to the problems caused by climate change will arise on their own. We must work together to solve the underlying causes of the ongoing transformation of Arctic systems and to adapt to rapid changes.

So far, many climatic actions have centered on measurements, information gathering and analysis; all of which are undoubtedly important. We must go a step further, however, to encourage action-based activities that would have a real impact on the Arctic, its residents and beyond through adaptation, mitigation, or even reversing the effects of climate change.

This requires the academic community to work together with residents of the Arctic and policymakers. We hope this award will encourage more action-based, collaborative research, and help bring creative ideas to fruition.

The Arctic Academic Action Award provides high-level recognition for innovative ideas that aspire to transform knowledge into action to help address the causes and impacts of climate change in the Arctic. Through this award it is hoped to bring together potential concepts for preventing, mitigating, adapting, and reversing Arctic climate change. The cohort of award recipients will form a powerful group of leaders whose ideas will be fostered to develop and implement meaningful solutions and projects to address Arctic climate change.

Background of the Award:

Two leading organizations have come together to address the greatest challenge facing the Arctic region: Global Warming.

Arctic Circle is the largest network of international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic.

University of the Arctic (UArctic) is a network of more than 200 universities, colleges, research institutes and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the Arctic.

Through this unique collaboration, a new forum and incentive for scientific action program has been created.

Solutions for tackling climatic change will not come from hope alone. They will also not be found solely in future technological or current regulatory innovations. We must work together to solve the underlying causes of the ongoing transformation of our Arctic systems. We must harness all resources at our disposal.

So far, many actions relating to the changing climate have centered on measurement, information gathering and analysis. Today, however, there is a strong interest in moving towards action-based scientific programs to mitigate and/or reverse the dramatic effects of climate change in a concrete way.

2022 Award Winners: Professor Hanne H. Christiansen and Associate Professor Marius O. Jonassen

Their winning project aims to develop an advanced permafrost and meteorological climate change response system in order to build resilience in Arctic communities. The PermaMeteoCommunity project focuses on building a real-time response system which connects direct observations from boreholes and small-scale meteorological stations with an online platform that receives and displays all the data in near real time.

The system can be used for decision making and meaningful action by local authorities during operational evaluations and extreme weather events, and also in designing local infrastructure and overall land area planning. In addition to serving authorities, the data is highly beneficial for the students and researchers living in Svalbard. The project is currently underway in Longyearbyen at the University Centre in Svalbard, the home institution of the two winners.

University Centre in Svalbard

2021 Award Winner: Dr. Trevor Bell

Dr. Trevor Bell, University Research Professor at Memorial University in Newfoundland was the winner of the 2021 Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award. Dr. Bell was nominated for his project SmartICE. SmartICE combines remote monitoring and traditional Indigenous knowledge to help Inuit communities to make sea-ice travel faster and more secure in increasingly unpredictable ice conditions.

Visit SmartICE

Frederik Paulsen

The Award is linked to the name of Frederik Paulsen who for decades has been a strong promoter of Arctic and Antarctic research and cooperation. He is a patron and crucial supporter of many Arctic endeavours which have facilitated the cooperation between experts and scientists from multiple nations. Frederik Paulsen has also demonstrated strong respect for the culture and the livelihood of Indigenous peoples. His support for Arctic Circle and the UArctic is also a contribution to our success.

The Frederik Paulsen Arctic Academic Action Award will serve to promote and raise awareness of promising projects which address climate change through concrete actions and plans.

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