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 will provide a platform for exchange of information between research station managers and other participants. This is done though the Station Manager Forum. It will be used to provide information from the different Infrastructures to the Network and its external partners and users. The Station Manager Forum will facilitate knowledge exchange, and collect and disseminate information from participating research infrastructures related to ecosystem monitoring, station management and administration.
The Forum will produce 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 will operate Joint Research Activities and in close cooperation with the Station Managers develop and test techniques for data collection and storage in relevant fields of research that particularly need improved methodology and observation.
The leaders of the three relevant work packages (Work packages 5, 6 and 7) are all highly ranked scientists within their field of expertise. They have relevant experience that makes them eminently suited to successfully complete their objectives
The trans-national access component is crucial to building capacity for research in the European Arctic and beyond. It will give 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 will lead to cross fertilisation, comparative measurements at different locations and new research directions at the individual infrastructures.
A trans-national access board will be convened to define the science themes to be addressed in the calls for trans-national access. A major task for the Trans-national Access Board will be to ensure that the calls address 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 ACIA, ICARP-II and SWIPA, (ii) the different stakeholders, and (iii) the network as a whole. In this way the Trans-national Access Board shall secure optimal synergies with the networking and joint research activities within the project and relevant actors outside the project. The transnational access board will consist of Station Managers and independent science experts suggested by the International Arctic Science Committee. Thus, the board will be well suited to its task.