INTERACT was proposed by the existing SCANNET network of field stations situated in all eight Arctic countries. The cooperation has a long history especially between the European members, resulting from EU-funding in 2001-2004 within the 5th Framework Programme. However the bottom-up network has expanded during the last 6 years with new members from Russia and North America to become a true circumarctic network of terrestrial field stations. These developments without resources, together with a greatly increasing demand for information on environmental change in the North as exemplified by IASC activities and also the Arctic Council’s SAON project, require a new initiative with appropriate resources
This project has a main objective to build capacity for identifying, understanding, predicting and responding to diverse environmental changes throughout the wide environmental and land-use envelopes of the Arctic.
Important parts of the INTERACT PROJECT
The Consortium as a whole
The consortium is designed to balance and integrate the major activities of research, monitoring and assessment that integrate user requirements to provide a greatly improved understanding of environmental change in the Arctic and its impacts on local and global communities. The inclusion of Station Managers, research experts in technology development, the wider scientific community and major international organisations as well as the educational establishments provides a construct in which all components are truly integrated, complementary and well balanced. Further, the suitability and commitment of the actors has already been demonstrated by the success of the SCANNET Network, that operates INTERACT and many of the infrastructures within it.
The Interact project provides a platform for exchange of information between research station managers and other participants. This is done through the Station Manager Forum. It is used to provide information from the different Infrastructures to the Network and its external partners and users. The Station Manager Forum facilitates knowledge exchange, and collect and disseminate information from participating research infrastructures related to ecosystem monitoring, station management and administration.
The Forum has produced a number of deliverables:
- Station Managers Forum meetings
- Reports concerning 'Research and Monitoring at INTERACT sites'
- Reports concerning ‘Abilities of the stations within INTERACT’
- Reports concerning ‘Best practises of Station Management and Administration at Arctic Research Infrastructures’
- Interactions with local stakeholder communities
The consortium has identified that major gaps are related to methods for automatic data collection, methods for studies of ecosystem feedback to climate change and methods for coordinated storage of data from many sites. The specialists has operated the Joint Research Activities and in close cooperation with the Station Managers developed and tested techniques for data collection and storage in relevant fields of research that particularly needed improved methodology and observation.
The trans-national access component is crucial to building capacity for research in the European Arctic and beyond. It has given new opportunities to researchers throughout Europe to work in the field in often harsh and remote locations that are generally difficult to access. In return, the input of new researchers has led to cross fertilisation, comparative measurements at different locations and new research directions at the individual infrastructures.
A Trans-national Access Board has ensured that the calls has addressed themes of relevance for (i) the scientific community, i.e. the most important pending science questions to be addressed according to a number of international assessments like SWIPA and ICARP III, (ii) the different stakeholders, and (iii) the network as a whole. In this way the Trans-national Access Board has secured optimal synergies with the networking and joint research activities within the project and relevant actors outside the project.