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Northern network

UArctic: education and research in and about the North

By Janet Harron

Memorial University has released its first report on its engagement with the University of the Arctic (UArctic) and other member institutions across the North.

A number of large chunks of ice, with one larger chunk in the centre with a wave crashing over it and a turquoise colour underneath it.
Memorial University has been an active member of UArctic since 2004.
Photo: Submitted

“Memorial has been an active member of UArctic for many years, so it’s wonderful to collect and showcase the significant amount of work being done on behalf of northern education, research and public engagement,” said Sheila Downer, strategic northern liaison, Harris Centre, and vice-president, northern community engagement, UArctic.

Read it here.


UArctic is a network of universities, colleges, research institutes and other organizations concerned with education and research in and about the North; it builds and strengthens collective resources and infrastructures that enable member institutions to better serve their constituents and their regions.

The daily operations of the network are managed through a secretariat based at the University of Lapland in Rovaniemi, Finland.

Supported by Global Affairs Canada’s Global Arctic Leadership Initiative, Memorial University, UArctic and Yukon College help foster collaboration with northern Canadian institutions to build circumpolar academic co-operation.

As research plays an important role in informing decision-making for issues affecting northern regions, Memorial manages two funds that encourage partnerships between UArctic members in Canada and internationally: the Indigenous and Northern Collaborative Research and Education Engagement Fund and the Indigenous and Northern Relationship Development Fund.

Academic drivers

UArctic chairs implement and drive actions in research and education among members and networks and with the broader Arctic community.

There are two UArctic chairs at Memorial University: Drs. Bing Chen and Kirk Anderson.

A yellow man in his early 50s wears a lab coat in a laboratory.
Dr. Bing Chen
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

Dr. Chen, of Memorial’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, is UArctic chair in marine and coastal environmental engineering.

Dr. Anderson, of Memorial’s Faculty of Education, is UArctic chair in school effectiveness and school improvement.

Dr. Kirk Anderson, an Indigenous man in his mid 50s, wears a suit while sitting at a desk and smiling.
Dr. Kirk Anderson
Photo: Submitted

Numerous projects

Several Memorial University projects are highlighted in the report.

One project is Labrador Campus’s Dr. Scott Neilsen’s collaboration with Innu Parks, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, the University of Saskatchewan and Yukon University regarding place-based learning in the North.

Dr. Scott Neilsen, a white man in his late 30s, standing in woods that are out of focus.
Dr. Scott Neilsen
Photo: Dave Howells

The campus’s faculty and their community partners are gaining first-hand experience in the co-development and co-delivery of land and place-based schools and will participate in the co-creation and publication of comparative case studies.

They will serve as relevant teaching materials for northern and Indigenous study programs globally.

Another project is the Faculty of Education’s Dr. Anne Burke’s partnership with Memorial’s Climate Collective and Atlantic Canadian-based charity Brilliant Labs.

Dr. Anne Burke, a white woman in her mid 40s, rests her right hand on a library book shelf. Several books are seen on shelves.
Dr. Anne Burke
Photo: Rich Blenkinsopp

A collaboration between Memorial University, University of Lapland and Leeds Beckett University, the project fosters connections among diverse youth and Indigenous students in Grades 7-10.

By collaborating on monthly online meetings, they are working to address climate change’s impact on local communities and emphasize the symbiotic relationships between living things.

Adopting a “radical collegiality” approach, the group plans live and digital exhibits across northern communities, fostering narratives, celebration and comparison of climate-related initiatives.

Upcoming webinar

Based in Memorial University’s Harris Centre at Signal Hill Campus, Lisa Goulet is UArctic’s Canadian membership engagement co-ordinator.

The position is funded by the Global Arctic Leadership Initiative to address network engagement, participation and visibility across UArctic’s Canadian membership.

Ms. Goulet and Ms. Downer will hold a webinar next month to further inform the wider Memorial community about how to get involved in UArctic.

A group of people in winter clothing outside a wooden building with snow on the ground. A driftwood sculpture is to the left.
UArctic representatives at a previous conference.
Photo: Submitted

The annual UArctic Assembly will take place during the Arctic Congress in Bodø, Norway, in June 2024.

If you would like to receive more information about UArctic, please contact Lisa Goulet via email.

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