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A decade of shaping the futures of polar early career researchers: A legacy of the International Polar Year

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 February 2019

Ruth S. Hindshaw*
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge, CB2 3EQ, UK
Heather Mariash
Wildlife Research Division, Environment and Climate Change Canada, 1125 Colonel By Dr., Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0H3, Canada
Trista J. Vick-Majors
Flathead Lake Biological Station, University of Montana, 32125 Bio Station Lane, Polson, MT, 59860, USA
Alexander E. Thornton
Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, 3535 College Road, Suite 101, Fairbanks, AK 99709, USA
Allen Pope
International Arctic Science Committee, Borgum við Norðurslóð, 600 Akureyri, Iceland National Snow and Ice Data Center, CIRES, University of Colorado Boulder, 1540 30th Street, Boulder CO 80303, USA
Yulia Zaika
Faculty of Geography, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1, 119991, Moscow, Russia
Josefine Lenz
Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Permafrost Research Section, Telegrafenberg A45, 14473 Potsdam, Germany University of Alaska Fairbanks, Institute of Northern Engineering, Fairbanks, Alaska, USA
Hanne Nielsen
University of Tasmania, Churchill Ave, Hobart TAS 7005, Australia
Gerlis Fugmann
Association of Polar Early Career Scientists, International Directorate Office, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Telegrafenberg A45, 14473 Potsdam, Germany


The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) is an important legacy of the International Polar Year (IPY). APECS continues to foster engagement in education, outreach and communication (EOC) activities relating to the polar regions and provide training for early career researchers (ECRs). We highlight opportunities for training, leadership and skills development, such as the annual Polar Weeks and Antarctica Day celebrations. Participation and engagement in EOC activities actively contributes to career development by enabling ECRs to develop valuable soft skills such as networking, communication and interdisciplinary knowledge. A pilot survey on EOC engagement highlighted that those who organise events also gain leadership skills such as team management. We discuss several factors contributing to the success of APECS in training the next generation of polar leaders. These include the geographical rather than discipline-specific focus of the organisation, utilisation of online resources, including social media, and the strong links with partner organisations. These examples demonstrate how the EOC legacy of IPY has continued due to APECS’ targeted efforts to create EOC opportunities and provide skills and leadership training for ECRs.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019 

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