August 18-26, 2013, the Nansen-NVP Summer School Shipping in Arctic Water: The interaction of sea ice, ship technology, climate change, economy and other operational conditions convened students, researchers, and experts on Arctic issues for lectures, poster presentations, discussions, presentations of research findings and writing of a report on the state-of-the-art knowledge and the future projections for shipping activities in the Arctic. Lectures from academia (institutes and universities), public authorities, ministry and industries in Norway, Russia and USA gave presentations and supervised the interactive student sessions. 30 students from 13 countries were selected for participation – all with clear motivation and previous educational studies and/or work experience to various disciplines related to the Arctic. Their research disciplines included Arctic climate and weather, natural resources (fisheries and oil and gas), maritime transport and navigation, international law and geopolitics, some participants also with multi-disciplinary background.
Examining the topic of past, present and future opportunities and challenges for shipping in the Arctic, the Summer School brought together various approaches to the issue from the various research disciplines and backgrounds. Cross‐and multi‐disciplinarity was key elements of the methodology used during the Summer School, providing those participating to gain new insights into their own research fields, and a new understanding of others.
By having a multidisciplinary introduction through the backgrounds of the participants and through lectures, which involved looking at different disciplines in parallel, discussions combined these disciplines into this interdisciplinary report. During the course of the summer school the students made an overview of what was learned, and highlights the value and need of the interdisciplinary approach in examining shipping in the Arctic. The scientific results of the work of the students during the week at Svalbard are summarized in the report Shipping in Arctic Water: The interaction of sea ice, ship technology, climate change, economy and other operational conditions (NVP, 2013). Some of the student participants have assigned to work further with the report document after the completion of the Summer school. The aim for this work is to re-write the report document to a publishable paper, due for publication in a peer review scientific journal, e.g. in Polar Geography.
The thematic topic Shipping in the Arctic has been included in the curriculum at UNIS and will be delivered as a short course (1-2 weeks) for students from spring 2015. During a meeting between UNIS, NVP and NERSC it was agreed that development of the course content and schedule will be the responsibility of Prof. Stein Sandven at NERSC, who also has an adjunct Professor II position at UNIS. The course will capitalize on the experience and network established during this and the previous Nansen-NVP summer schools.
Albert Buixadé Farré, has made a beautiful slideshow video, to summarize the students experience together in Svalbard. See the slideshow here.