Goals and Objectives for
Arctic Research 2013–2014


The Arctic is front-page news. It's here and it's now. This previously inaccessible region, once viewed as cold and remote, is now closer and warmer. As the world shrinks, and our understanding of the North grows, we see the Arctic as a keystone in the global climate system, as a shortcut to the rest of the world, as a destination to, and perhaps the last untapped source of, natural resources to meet growing local and global demand.

And what about the 4 million inhabitants of this region? They are experiencing unprecedented rates of change in their environments, societies, and cultures. Whether it is offshore oil and gas exploration, shipping, fishing, sovereignty claims, record highs (temperatures) or lows (ice), food security, thawing permafrost, broadband access, or national security, the Arctic isn't what it was even 20 years ago. As an Arctic nation, one of only eight, the United States reaps great benefits from this region, but we also have obligations and responsibilities.

So what is the role of Arctic research? Simply put, to advance knowledge. Sometimes this knowledge is basic and has no specifically envisioned or immediately practical outcome. Other times it is applied to foster innovation and promote economic development. The distinction between basic and applied research is not always clear and, in fact, it should be viewed as a continuum. Importantly, new knowledge also informs policy development, planning, and decision making, and serves as a basis for education and training. Ideally, research is an investment in the future and the means by which we improve life in the Arctic and, indeed, on the planet.

USARC contributes to this effort by identifying research goals and objectives for the nation, and then working with a broad variety of entities in federal, state, local, and tribal governments, nongovernmental organizations, and industry, and in other countries to advance Arctic research. In so doing, USARC listens to and consults with communities of scientists, researchers, decision makers, and Arctic residents.

In the 2013–2014 Report, USARC identifies Arctic research goals and emerging issues, and provides suggestions on how to advance research through communication, coordination, and cooperation.

About the Report

> View 2013–2014 Report

Under the Arctic Research and Policy Act, the US Arctic Research Commission biennially recommends key goals and objectives ("goals report") for the US Arctic Research Program Plan. To prepare this report, the Commission, through public meetings and by other means, sought substantial input from scientific researchers, policymakers, the public in Alaska and throughout the United States, and in the growing number of nations with Arctic interests. To help define its research goals and objectives, the Commission also cosponsors a number of scientific meetings and workshops on oil spill response, impacts of an ice-diminishing Arctic on naval and maritime operations, on the provision of safe supplies of water and sanitary facilities in rural Alaska, on Arctic civil infrastructure, and on "Operating in the Arctic: Supporting US Coast Guard Challenges through Research."


INTRO | GOAL 1 | GOAL 2 | GOAL 3 | GOAL 4 | GOAL 5