The University of Aberdeen hosted the signing of a landmark document that will strengthen long term Scotland-Arctic mutual collaboration, with the establishment of a University of the Arctic (UArctic) Regional Centre operated by the Scottish Arctic Network (ScAN).
A first for the UK, the Centre will provide support for academic collaboration throughout Scotland, with a focus on the Arctic and the North. It will also encourage engagement in UArctic activities and communities.
Following the launch of the Scottish Government Arctic Policy Framework in 2019, several Scottish UArctic member universities and institutions got together to create the ScAN network. Supported by Scottish Government funding, it is focused on building and strengthening collective resources across a number of areas from education, research and innovation to clean energy, sustainable economic development and rural connections.
Members of the UArctic Regional Centre are made up from Scotland-based scientists, academics and Early Career Researchers (ECRs) that share Arctic and North interests.
International delegates and Scottish-based academics met in Aberdeen on 16 March to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between ScAN and UArctic. Their aim is to progress Arctic and North cooperation and aid international academic collaboration over the next three years.
The agreement was signed by UArctic president Lars Kullerud and ScAN’s outgoing chair, Professor Finlo Cottier of the University of the Highlands and Islands.
Dr Daria Shapovalova, senior law lecturer at the University of Aberdeen, has been elected as ScAN’s new chair. With a focus on energy and environmental law, she is co-director of the Centre for Energy Law and co-ordinator of the Just Transitions Lab. Daria has also published extensively on Arctic governance, regulation of petroleum production and climate change law.
Commenting on her appointment she said: “I am honoured to have been selected to chair the network in the year to come and look forward to continuing to enhance discussion, collaboration and information sharing among the partners.”
The meeting was held in anticipation of the Arctic Frontiers Abroad conference taking place in Aberdeen on 17 March, featuring representatives from Arctic States, the Scottish Government, academia, industry and third sector organisations.