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Benjamin Jones (Water and Environmental Research Center, Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks) and Professor Hugues Lantuit (Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Germany) are working with scientists and stakeholders from across Arctic nations to develop Permafrost Coastal Systems Network (PerCS-Net), a forum for reinvigorated research, knowledge integration, and management of environmental change at the fringes of the Arctic.

Map of the Permafrost Coastal Systems Network (PerCS-Net)

 

Since 1999, over 20 different networks of scientists and organisations that are directly or indirectly related to permafrost coastal systems have been formed around the world; many have been cross-disciplinary in nature. These often national networks provide information and support for coastal permafrost management, and many encompass experts from across fields of science, engineering, and society, providing critical knowledge of national permafrost dynamics.

However, Arctic permafrost resources transcend borders, and with the increasingly rapid pace of environmental and social change, there is ever greater need for international collaboration. In particular, there is a need for a robust intellectual framework to address critical environmental, social, and engineering challenges; such a framework must be based on knowledge sharing from all sides of national, political, cultural, and disciplinary borders. While some past and existing networks have attempted international cooperation and sharing of data, observations, and expertise, the long-term sustainability of these efforts has fallen short.

Setting up the Permafrost Coastal Systems Network (PerCS-Net) represents a five-year project that is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation Accelerating Research Through International Network-to-Network Collaborations (AccelNet) program. Initially, the network will comprise some 100 individuals from 20 collaborating networks and organisations. The individuals involved represent universities, research institutes, and national/government laboratories and departments; they come from within the lead institution (UAF), and across North America and Europe. However, despite the difference in geography and focus, they are united in their goal of a network designed to accelerate scientific discovery, forge international connections, and facilitate knowledge transfer at the interface of permafrost coastal systems. 

Read more in Research Outreach article here.

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