A primary goal of the Nuuk workshop was discussing ways to increase and maintain high quality U.S.-Greenland collaborative projects, especially in the natural sciences. The group identified solutions for increasing collaborative work (Figure 1), with recognition that social scientists, and to some extent, biologists, have successfully completed co-produced research.
This diagram outlines the core barriers to successful collaborations. Five solutions (S1 – S5) were provided, many of which support multiple drivers of successful collaborations.
S1. Organize workshops, events, and scholar exchanges
The number one discussed solution for increasing and improving U.S.-Greenland research collaborations was to develop opportunities for face-to-face meetings. Individual connections at meetings, especially if they can be at regular intervals (e.g., annual or biennial), are effective at advancing collaborative work. Greenland workshop participants noted that they often provide letters of collaboration after an initial phone or e-mail contact but that there is often no follow-up. U.S. researchers note that they have had difficulty finding and getting responses from researchers in Greenland within their discipline. In person meetings are great for initial introductions, advancing ideas, defining project roles and funding allocations, and building relationships and trust, essential elements of successful collaborative projects (Figure 1).
Some specific recommendations:
- Host workshops in Greenland- It is expensive and time consuming to travel to meetings from Greenland and Greenland researchers may have less flexibility in their schedule and fewer resources for travel. This is also true for Greenland students who may have difficulty in traveling to foreign venues due to travel costs and family obligations.
- Organize and lead sessions at international meetings that feature research in Greenland- Researchers often travel to national and international conferences to present about their work in Greenland. These conferences offer the opportunity to lead interdisciplinary sessions/symposia that feature research from particular areas of Greenland (e.g., AGU session about research around Kangerlussuaq or the Greenland Ecosystem Monitoring program sites) or focused on particular topic areas (e.g., the Greenland Ice Sheet). These events may attract a diverse group of researchers who could also participate in side meetings in advance of or after the main conference event. Organizers of these sessions should ensure that invitations are sent to researchers from Greenland to keep them connected to the broader research community.
- Workshops and sessions should include diverse representation- Include academic and government researchers with representation from the diverse communities in the U.S. and Greenland, early-career to senior researchers, students, and balance participants by gender. Interdisciplinary workshops that include stakeholders are essential for developing collaborations that produce a novel understanding of the Arctic as a system and identifying research priorities. This will help to leverage resources among different countries, research groups, agencies, and communities for better science (e.g., combining large-scale aircraft surveys with land- and ocean-based ground-truthing).
- Develop scholar exchanges- Short-term fellowships and teaching opportunities in Greenland for U.S. researchers, and vice versa, will create time for project planning, building relationships, and working with students. These can be planned year-round and could occur during the academic year (approximately September through May) because the summer months, when U.S. researchers are in Greenland, are quite busy with field work and holiday schedules. For exchanges based in Greenland, there is also the potential for visits to and project planning with local communities.
S2. Develop and maintain research networks and online information portals
The use of listservs and networking-focused websites can facilitate introductions to potential collaborators from different disciplines, agencies, and institutions (Figure 1). Interested stakeholder groups and community members should be encouraged to participate in these online networks. These websites can also provide information about ongoing projects, funding, logistics, and infrastructure. This is important for increasing the transparency of research in Greenland and so that researchers are aware of the breadth of research and research locations. These should be an initial starting point for any researcher wanting to embark on a new project in Greenland. The following four websites provide information about ongoing research in Greenland:
1. Isaaffik: The Arctic Gateway (www.isaaffik.org): Anyone engaged with Arctic research, education, infrastructure, and logistics may join Isaaffik, a web platform in support of research and collaboration.
2. Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) Collaborations (www.iarpccollaborations.org): This U.S.-based website brings together scientists from Federal, State, academic, NGO, industry, indigenous and international organizations to share their work and team up to solve complex Arctic issues.
3. Arctic Research Mapping Application (www.armap.org): This interactive web map, designed for funding agencies, logistics planners, research investigators, students, and others, shows information about hundreds of projects around the Arctic.
4. The U.S. National Science Foundation’s Arctic Data Center (https://arcticdata.io/): U.S. researchers are required to submit their data here within two years of collection, or by the end of the award, whichever comes first.
Some specific recommendations:
- Make it a requirement for U.S. researchers to register their Greenland projects at Isaaffik- Knowledge about who is where and doing what would be helpful in sharing logistics, data, and ideas, which seeds collaborations, reduces costs, and increases efficiency. This also is highly relevant to Greenland Search & Rescue, who would be able to see projects within Issaffik.
- Create and maintain a listserv of U.S. and Greenland researchers interested in collaborations- The base of this group is the 2018 Nuuk workshop participants (Participant List) but anyone interested in collaborations could join this listserv that could be a starting point for collaboration on ideas, projects, announcing new publications, and requests for assistance.
- Use online platforms to host webinars, post funding opportunities as well as share data, reports, and publications associated with Greenland research projects- These platforms provide potential for organizing project information and outcomes in an easily-accessible format.
S3. Design new funding programs and mechanisms to support collaborative work
Workshop participants repeatedly stressed the importance of funding mechanisms for collaborative work (Figure 1). Participants discussed how funding from the U.S. or Greenland could be used to support time and effort of foreign researchers. Participants offered the following ideas for funding and development:
- Develop pooled funding sources (across countries, agencies, institutions) that require or incentivize full participation by researchers from Greenland and the U.S.
- Government agencies and institutions in Greenland should develop a mechanism to give government researchers release time for participating in research and outreach beyond government mandates
- Ensure U.S. support for collaborative work by budgeting for sub-awards that support time and resources from local Greenland research organizations
- Organize a research coordination network that could support longer-term projects
- Develop a research hub (see S4) that includes facilities for U.S., Greenland, and international researchers to set up collaborative research spaces
S4. Become familiar with infrastructure and institutions in Greenland
One significant outcome for the U.S. workshop participants was learning about the various agencies and organizations in Greenland that support research (see Greenland and U.S. Research Institutions). This is an essential starting point for identifying facilities and collaborators.
Briefly described at the workshop was an International Arctic Science Hub to be located in Nuuk. The Ministry of Higher Education and Science in Denmark and the Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Research of Naalakkersuisut are working to establish the hub to facilitate Arctic research on behalf of the Kingdom of Denmark. The headquarters will be placed in Nuuk with satellite hubs around the Kingdom of Denmark. The hub will serve as a main access point for researchers interested in collaborations. Ideally, each major town or settlement in Greenland will have a point of contact for researchers to connect with partners/students/researchers in Greenland.
S5. Co-develop research priorities, codes of conduct, and best practices for collaborative work
Future workshops can lead to the development of joint U.S.-Greenland statements of research priorities, codes of conduct, and collaborative research best practices (Figure 1). These statements and the workshops themselves will build relationships among collaborators and lead to high-quality future projects.
- Research Priorities- U.S. research in Greenland is driven by a diverse academic research community whereas Greenland research is mandated by the government to be relevant to society and is often directed at natural resource management and extractive industries. These are not mutually exclusive. Participants recommended development of joint research priorities and a requirement for U.S. researchers to consider how their work is relevant to and of benefit to Greenland society. This would make it easier for Greenland researchers to participate in U.S.-funded projects.
- Codes of Conduct and Best Practices- Communication from start to finish is essential for equal and successful partnerships. Idea and hypothesis generation should involve researchers from the U.S. and Greenland and stakeholders/institutions in Greenland (e.g., local communities, Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), Ilisimatusarfik, the Hunter and Fisher Association (KNAPK). Methods should be jointly developed. Resources should be pooled to overcome logistical issues (e.g., community members doing field sampling, institutions doing lab work). All research participants should discuss how to share results and be involved with some aspect of dissemination (outreach, reports, publications, and presentations).