Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Meaning of Ice awarded the inaugural Mohn Prize

The Mohn Prize was established in collaboration between Academia Borealis, The Academy of Sciences and Letters of Northern Norway (NNVA), the Tromsø Research Foundation (TFS) and UiT, The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). 

The objective of the prize is to recognize research related to the Arctic. Furthermore, it aims to put issues of particular relevance to the future development of the Arctic on the national and international agenda. 

From the press release:
The research group behind the Meaning of Ice consists of 13 researchers and indigenous experts from Alaska, Canada and Greenland. The project The Dynamics of Human-Sea Ice Relations: Comparing Changing Environments in Alaska, Nunavut and Greenland was implemented from 2006-2011. The project involved more than 40 participants, an overwhelming majority of which were indigenous experts with unrivaled experience-based knowledge of the Arctic.

About The Meaning of Ice

Excellent research and groundbreaking knowledge
An excerpt from the award justification states that: “This project made groundbreaking contribution to our understanding of Arctic ice-dominated systems via a highly innovative combination of natural science, social science and indigenous knowledge.”
A leader in his/her/their field
An excerpt from the award justification concludes that: “This project exemplifies a major development in Arctic science that will stimulate others to make use of similar procedures to address a wide range of topics in the coming years.”
Relevance to the future development of the Arctic
An excerpt from the award justification states that: “Changes in the Arctic environment are now verified independently by both scientific methods and observations of the Arctic residents. Inherent to a sustainable Arctic is resilient local communities continuing their use of ice-dominated environment based on established knowledge systems, culture-based values, and indigenous languages.”
Based on these three criteria, the Scientific Committee strongly recommended that The Meaning of Ice should be honored as one of the laureates because the consortium is a unique example of “collaboration between academics and indigenous experts which has given us new knowledge of and understanding about the Arctic, and has developed an advanced understanding of the dynamics of the Arctic sea ice”.

The importance of an Arctic prize

The term ‘High North’ (or alternatively ‘Circumpolar North’) is often used to describe the area between the North Pole and the Arctic Circle. Through the Mohn Prize, NNVA, TFS and UiT wish to honour knowledge builders who have contributed groundbreaking new insights in the Arctic and the High North. The Scientific Committee believes the Mohn Prize has the potential to set the standard for outstanding research connected to the Arctic and the High North. Arctic research has been taking place in, and based out of Tromsø, for more than a century. For nearly 50 years, the research environments in Tromsø have developed world leading competence in Arctic natural and social sciences. The international interest in the Arctic is largely motivated by climate changes that are clearly expressed in the region, and by the rich natural resources found here.

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