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I received a MobilityDK grant to visit UiT – the Arctic University of Norway and the Arctic Frontiers conference on 19–24 January 2014. I heard about the grant opportunity from Professor Lassi Heininen at the University of Lapland. In light of the extremely limited travel funding available to Danish university academics from their universities, we are completely dependent on external additional funding in order to do research at an international level and develop and maintain international research collaboration. These grants make it possible for Danish researchers to develop their circumpolar Arctic thinking, as is clear from my experience.

UiT – the Arctic University of Norway is a key institution for Arctic research, and the Arctic Frontiers conference is the most important European Arctic conference. It is unique in its ability to bring together in dialogue well over 1,000 participants such as decision-makers from politics, business and civil society, and researchers. The conference supplies an intense and effective program of cutting-edge presentations from politics, business, society and research with lively plenary and face-to-face debate.

Danish Arctic research is Greenland-oriented and would benefit from a broader circumpolar perspective. Participation in Arctic Frontiers gave me the opportunity to engage with e.g. Saami civil society leaders, Norwegian research leaders, US-Alaskan research leaders, and Norwegian and Finnish business executives for developing collaboration which can contribute to broaden Danish Arctic research. I took part in the University of Lapland whole-day event on the EU and the Arctic which was very informative as Denmark is less involved in the EU Arctic policy and engagement. I also met with Nordisk Atlantsamarbejde (NORA) in the Faroe Islands, where I gave input to developing their topic for 2014. I met Danish and Greenlandic politicians, civil society and media personalities, and the Associated Press also interviewed me.

Arctic Frontiers is so intense that it is difficult to highlight just one thing. The value of the conference is the very privileged access to central individuals from politics, business, civil society and media from all Arctic nations, and other nations engaged in the Arctic.

The mobility contributes to develop my circumpolar Arctic awareness and think about broad circumpolar Arctic questions and developments, and also gives me the contacts and information to work on these topics. The experience has strengthened my ability to work more broadly in my Arctic research and teaching, which will contribute to Arctic teaching and research at Aalborg University.

Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen
PhD (Cantab), Assistant Professor, Aalborg University

photo by Aalborg University

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MobilityDK is a pilot model for providing financial support for teacher, researcher and student exchange. MobilityDK is a part of the UArctic Danish Mobility Project, the goal of which is to support mobility for the Kingdom of Denmark’s Arctic education activities, and mobility from the Kingdom of Denmark to Arctic educational activities in different areas of the Arctic through the UArctic network. The program is supported by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.