It’s the final week before Christmas, and things are starting to slow down after a busy autumn. Most of the time in November was spent in handling the TA application and evaluation process, and updating the budget for the INTERACT TA supported field work in 2019.
Moving further in the stages of the TA application and selection process, the INTERACT TA Selection Panel met week ago in Poland. As a result of their intensive work on the evaluations and in -depth discussions on every single one of the nearly 120 TA/RA applications, the TA recommendations have now been made. The recommendations are forwarded to the stations, who will make the final decisions on the projects that will be granted access to conduct research at their premises. The decisions will be announced to the applicants by mid-February, and the successful projects can start preparing to the field work after that.
Now it’s time to start the much-needed holidays, and return back to the office in early January to continue the work in 2019!
Here in Finland winter is approaching fast, and we already got the first snow last week. It melted away fast, but from the quickly darkening days and dropping temperatures it’s easy to tell the winter is just around the corner. This also means that the summer field season is coming to an end for this year, and most of our TA User Groups from last summer have already submitted their project reports. Also, the TA/RA project descriptions are now available on-line for you to see.
The season is also wrapping up here at Arctic Research Blogs. For the summer, we had eight different but equally fantastic blogs by our TA Users that I would like to highlight to you now. Take a look at their blogs if you have not done that already!
Alice Eldridge, Jonathan Carruthers-Jones, and Roger Norum were blogging from Abisko Scintific Research Station in Sweden, and sharing their adventures in the north in “WILDSENS: Mapping the Wild”.
The blog Rough Ice by Joshua Chambers, Tom Smith and Mark Smith visiting Station Hintereis in Austria, was packed not only with cutting-edge science, but also with super entertaining humor and sense of adventure!
Another of our TA Ambassadors, Allan Buras, continued blogging from the previous field season by sharing the stories and excitement of his fieldwork at Arctic Station in Greenland. Allan’s adventures can be followed in the blog Beyondtreeline.
The blog by Willem van der Bilt “Glacier-climate fingerprints in the subarctic Atlantic” highlighted the team’s TA visit to Rif Field Station to study the sediments of a glacier-fed lake Skeiðsvatn in northwest Iceland to reveal some of the mechanisms behind the climate change in the North Atlantic area.
Thanks to all our fantastic bloggers for taking us with you on the adventure to the Arctic! More blogs will open up again next spring for the field season 2019. This blog by the TA Administration continues until them, the next time with a report from one of the major Arctic events –the Arctic Circle Assembly in Iceland!
The selection of user groups for TA and RA is based on a scientific merit and novelty of the research, but taking into account that priority should be given to user groups who:
Have not previously used the installation
Are working in countries where no equivalent research infrastructure exists
Apply working at more than one location for generating comparative studies
To early career scientists (≤ 5 years from a PhD degree) **
In their application take into account the specific call priority area, which is introducing new or enhancing the existing activities within networks to INTERACT stations (e.g. ITEX, CALM). A detailed listing of different networks supported and/or participated at the INTERACT Stations can be found from the INTERACT Research and Monitoring Report.
In order to answer possible questions about the ongoing call and about TA and RA in general, we will arrange an on-line webinar on 11th September at 15:00 CEST. You can find call details and a link to join the webinar from here.
Apply INTERACT Transnational Access to conduct research at the coolest places of the North!
Last two weeks have been super intensive. The reason is the Polar2018 meeting, a gathering of both Arctic and Antarctic research communities that brought together more than two thousand people to Davos in Switzerland. And of course INTERACT was there, too!
For me the highlight of the week was the INTERACT TA User Community Meeting that took place as a side meeting of the Open Science Conference on Wednesday last week. We had close to forty participants, including many of our TA Users and INTERACT Station representatives. The programme consisted of research highlights, station presentations and we also took the opportunity to introduce the INTERACT Virtual Access and related possibilities for research via open access to station databases and monitoring data.
The best of all for me was the opportunity to meet our TA Users, with whom I have so often exchanged e-mails and met over webinars and telecons, but never met face-to-face. It was such a delight to finally meet them and hear them present their research conducted with support by INTERACT Transnational Access.
As always, it was a pleasure to meet the station managers to learn about some recent developments in the station facilities and also to hear their experiences on the collaboration with the TA User Groups. The positive atmosphere, networking and exchange of ideas was heartfelt and I am already looking forward to the next TA User Community in 2019!
In addition to the TA User Community meeting, my week was filled with meetings of different scientific organizations, where I am either representing my home institution such as the European Polar Board, or where INTERACT is involved such as GEO Cold Regions Initiative and SAON Committee on Observations and Networks. All these meetings were also really interesting and productive, and great progress was made towards several goals approaching in the near future! And of course the magnificent views in Davos, which I had a possibility to admire during my morning runs before the congress programme kicked-off for the day!
Returning back to office on Monday I felt somewhat exhausted, but at the same time very content. Now things are going to calm down a bit for July, before speeding up again in August as we approach the UArctic Congress 2018 that will take place here on the first week of September. As a member of the organizing committee, I look forward to welcome many of my arctic colleagues to Oulu then!
And what a spring! It’s been unusually warm for the past couple weeks here in Finland, and we already now have leaves on the trees by mid-May! It’s not only the spring weather that has been busy here, but we’ve also had an extremely hectic times here at the TA Coordination office, as you can see from the following.
The summery photo is not from Finland or any Arctic place, but from Puglia area in southern Italy, where we recently had the INTERACT Daily Management Group meeting -it was really beautiful there, too, even though the north is still the closest to my heart!
The new TA User Groups were selected in March, and we will have 47 TA/RA User Groups working at the INTERACT stations in the summer 2018 and autumn/winter 2018-2019 field seasons. We’ve already hosted a webinar to the User Groups to instruct with practical matters related to TA and RA, and to welcome them to the several TA User Community activities that we are arranging around the year.
Recently, we also launched our INTERACT TA Ambassadors, whom you can meet at various congresses and meetings during the year to chat about TA and related opportunities. Learn more about the TA Ambassadors from the dedicated webpages!
The new season of INTERACT Arctic Research Blogs is about to start within the next couple weeks, when the first TA User Groups start their work at the stations. We already have many bloggers recruited for the summer, both seasoned bloggers from the previous field seasons and complete newcomers. Looking forward to follow the adventures of the scientists in their Arctic fieldwork!
The next TA User Community meeting will take place during the gathering of both Arctic and Antarctic scientists -the Polar 2018 meeting in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting will be about different modalities of TA, including Remote and Virtual Access and related opportunities for research. The meeting will take place on Wed 20th June at 12:30-14:00 in Room A Wisshorn and it’s open for all congress participants. Come to meet us, if you are attending the Polar 2018!
Another year has passed and a new year is beginning. For me, this has always been time to look back and reflect the events that took place over the past year, and after that put the past behind and start looking towards the opportunities and challenges lying ahead.
The past year, especially the autumn, was really busy as we introduced several new activities and initiatives here at INTERACT TA coordination. One of the biggest things was to establish and launch a new modality of Transnational Access, the INTERACT Virtual Access, that is now up and running, and will be expanding over the spring to cover more and more stations. Secondly, a lot of time and effort was used -together with our partner CLU- to develop, test and launch the new functionalities of INTERACCESS that is our on-line TA management interface. Then of course we also had the TA/RA Call open and the applications for access in s/s 2018 and a/w 2018-19 are now being evaluated. Decisions will be announced by the end of January.
The new year has begun with a launch of yet another new activity, as we are now seeking INTERACT TA Ambassadors among our previous TA Users. It will be exciting to see how this new activity develops and announce the Ambassadors later in the spring! We also have a RA Call open until the end of January, and the following evaluation and decision process will take place in Feb-April.
On 30th January we will also arrange a Webinar on Drones as a TA User Community event. More information to those of you interested in participating the webinar can be found from our TA User Community webpages.
With September starting up, the autumn has arrived. As the summer field season is approaching to its end, it’s time to start planning of the forthcoming research activities. For that, we have now opened the Transnational Access call for projects taking place between March 2018 and April 2019.
You can learn more about the Transnational Access (including the possibility for Remote Access) and the ongoing call from the INTERACT website. The call is closing on 13th October, so there is plenty of time to submit an application to conduct research at any (or many!) of the 43 research stations offering Transnational Access in INTERACT.
We will arrange two webinars, one on 11th Sept (09:00 CEST) and one on 12th Sept (15:00 CEST), to provide information about the TA call and Transnational and Remote Access in general. Links to the webinars are available together with other information about the call at the TA Call web pages.
Join the webinars to learn more about the possibilities offered, and apply INTERACT TA to conduct research at the coolest places of the North!
It’s hard to believe, but we are already past the Midsummer! Before the Midsummer time always seems to go so fast, then suddenly pause for the Midsummer, and then extend for the rest of the summer in July and August. Perhaps it’s because of all the anticipation us Finns have for summer after the long and dark winter; the much awaited and precious white nights, warmth and green of the summer seem always to go past us too fast. This feeling has been especially strong this summer. First of all because the summer arrived so late –it was still snowing and no leaves on the trees here in Oulu on the first week of June! Secondly, because the summer -once it arrived- has been so cold. We’ve had only couple days with temperature above 20 degrees; mostly it has been well below that and raining. The only good consequence that I’ve figured out from this miserable summer weather has been that there are still not mosquitoes around –it has been too cold for even them to develop!
Well, we celebrated the Midsummer anyways, because that’s the tradition, and after all it was a very nice occasion. Like most other Finns, we went to the summer cabin to meet relatives, and to enjoy barbecue food and smoked fish, and to have sauna by the lake. In addition, we went for a little hike to visit the Hepoköngäs waterfall, from where the following photos were taken.
The waterfall is located in a nature conservation area in the municipality of Puolanka in the Kainuu region in eastern Finland. The height of the waterfall is 18 m, which makes it one of the highest in Finland. The place was really beautiful and peaceful, surrounded by old forest.
Many people already started their summer holidays from the Midsummer, but after the visit to the summer cabin and to the waterfalls, it feels like I have renewed my energies for the next weeks, before starting my holidays later in July for another trip to Eastern Finland! More about that in the next post!
Last week, we opened our very first continuous call in the history of INTERACT. The call is for a new modality of Transnational Access called Remote Access. The idea of Remote Access is that the user group does not physically visit the station(s) themselves, but the experienced station staff instead conducts the study and collects the samples for the user group according to their research plan. This provides cost-efficiency, especially in comparative studies taking place at many stations, because there are no travel costs. The logistic costs and the staff-time required to conduct the study are included into the granted Remote Access.
The RA call information can be found from the INTERACT website, and the applications are submitted on-line in the INTERACCESS system. The call and evaluation procedure, as well as the project reporting, are the same as in the regular Transnational Access.
The call for Remote Access is continuous, so it’s open around the year and applications with subsequent RA decisions are evaluated four times per year.
We hope to receive many good applications for this new modality of Transnational Access, and look forward to see with interest what kind of ideas and innovations for Remote Access projects the scientific community will come up with!
Yet another work trip took place last week, when I represented INTERACT at the EGU2017 meeting in Vienna. The meeting was by far the biggest science event I’ve ever been to, below you can find some impressive statistics about the event, obtained from the congress webpages:
The meeting had 14 496 attendants from 107 countries with 4849 oral and 11 312 poster and 1238 PICO presentations. The programme of the week consisted from 649 scientific sessions, 88 short courses and 322 side events. No wonder a person like me from a small northern community was feeling a bit overwhelmed at times from the sheer magnitude of the event.
Once I got over my astonishment on the first day of the event, I greatly enjoyed working at the ENVRI+ booth, where INTERACT was represented as one of the infrastructures, and meeting hundreds and hundreds of people to whom tell about our project and the possibilities related to Transnational Access.
In addition, we had our very first face-to-face TA User Community meeting as a side event of the congress. We did not perhaps have the biggest amount of people attending the meeting, but however had a great atmosphere at the meeting, sharing information on each other’s work and developing new ideas and collaborations. Also, many of our TA Users came to say hello to me at the booth -it was absolutely fantastic to finally meet the people with whom I’ve been exchanging numerous e-mails and but never met in real life!
The place of our next TA User Community meeting is yet to be decided. As I feel that our Community members should have a say in which event it would be best to meet, there’s likely going to be a poll arranged to vote for the most popular option. Stay tuned and join our INTERACT TA Users FB group that will be launched next week to cast your vote!