Fostering Capacity Sharing in Permafrost Research Processes: Learnings from the APECS and Arctic PASSION’s Sharing Circle

fabian.seemann [ at ]


Arctic research is moving towards being application-oriented to address the needs of those directly facing the impacts of accelerating change across permafrost landscapes. Capacity sharing is a two-way knowledge exchange process developed from a basis of reciprocity, communication and collaboration. Multi-directional knowledge exchange can exist in a variety of contexts including intercultural collaboration and the science-policy interface. The Sharing Circle, a workshop organized by the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) and the EU Horizon 2020 Arctic PASSION Project, took place in Sevettijärvi and Inari, Sápmi (northern Finland) in early October 2023. The event brought together Arctic youth and early career researchers (ECRs), with in total 18 participants. Hosted in the Skolt Sámi community, the event created a space that facilitated cross-cultural learning between each other and experienced collaborators (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) who have together co-created environmental monitoring and restoration projects. The week was filled with a diverse range of activities including seminars circled around a wood fire and on the land learning activities. The program included both environmental and societal topics, contributing to the transdisciplinary nature of the event. Discussions and activities were centred around topics including: (1) a holistic understanding of the socio-ecological impacts of permafrost thaw (2) challenges and opportunities associated with fostering intercultural collaboration and (3) translating science into policy change. Permafrost warming, a pressing challenge across the circumpolar Arctic (Biskaborn et al., 2019), and its associated impacts on environment and society was discussed heavily. This topic was introduced on an outdoor excursion to a palsa mire in Neiden, northern Norway. Participant-led presentations discussed the potential for co-created community-based monitoring approaches and challenges associated through the presentation of case studies from Tuktoyaktuk, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Canada (Mercer et al., 2023a, 2023b). The concept of co-management was presented by the Snowchange Cooperative (see at Due to high land-use pressure and climate change impacts, environmental degradation is evident in Sápmi. Long-term cross-cultural collaboration that addresses local priorities has led to successful management and restoration practices at regional scales. Learnings from Snowchange highlighted the need to weave together diverse knowledge systems to better preserve and restore biodiversity (Mustonen, 2021; Ogar et al., 2020). As permafrost scientists, we carry a responsibility to acknowledge the land and empower Indigenous-led research. Doing so can produce greater equity in research outcomes and contribute to a better understanding of the multifaceted impacts of rapid change across permafrost landscapes. Capacity sharing processes help to build long-term and co-created research projects. Therefore, providing opportunities for ECRs to attend events like the Sharing Circle are crucial to creating a step-change in the way research is conducted in the Arctic.

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DOI 10.13140/RG.2.2.34908.19840

Cite as
Seemann, F. and Mercer, L. (2024): Fostering Capacity Sharing in Permafrost Research Processes: Learnings from the APECS and Arctic PASSION’s Sharing Circle doi: 10.13140/RG.2.2.34908.19840

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