Call for long-term research-based teaching projects (deadline 1 March 2017)

Call for long-term research-based teaching projects (deadline 1 March 2017)

Abisko Arctic Research-based Teaching Platform


Background

A research-based teaching platform is being developed in Abisko as part our ongoing course development. For the platform we seek to establish long-term research projects that will be incorporated into the courses offered in Abisko. Projects must fit into the scope of one or several of the ongoing courses and be possible to carry out during the time-frame of the course(s). It is possible to get some support from CIRC and EMG for the start-up phase, if it occurs beyond the scope of the student work, although this type of support is very limited.

The platform has the duel goals for providing a world-class research facility and teaching program. In the process of further developing these goals we have identified several key elements:

  • Provide excellent basic and advanced courses in ecology and environmental sciences in an Arctic research-based environment linking active research with teaching.
  • Emphasis on the Arctic and winter environment are important and unique aspects of our courses that meet agenda of Umeå University, ARCUM, and other institutional partners.
  • Serve as a leader research and teaching in Sweden’s Arctic.
  • Exploit the uniqueness of the Abisko Arctic research environment to strengthen the position of Umeå University and Sweden as a leader in Arctic research and education.
  • Create ‘integrated study sites’ in Abisko that integrate monitoring of important environmental parameters to provide researchers and students with a platform to build their Arctic research and education.

Opportunities and unique aspects of the Abisko Arctic research platform

  • Natural gradients in temperature (altitude), precipitation (east-to-west), permafrost and ecosystems (Boreal to Low Arctic and alpine)
  • To conduct research and pedagogic activities in a region undergoing dramatic climatic and environmental changes under global climate change.
  • Using a catchment-based perspective to develop ‘integrated study sites’ provides an interdisciplinary approach, including terrestrial-aquatic and geo- and bio-chemistry.
  • Integrated study sites foster a holistic understanding of Arctic ecosystems.
  • Incorporate existing Arctic environmental and climate change monitoring components.
  • Students can contribute to and work with Arctic environmental time-series data.
  • Ongoing research in aquatic and terrestrial ecology and biogeochemistry provide a cutting-edge background for the teaching environment.

Project Guidelines

  • Fieldwork for projects should coincide with at least one of our core courses in Abisko.
    • Arctic Geoecology (March-May) - Master's course, course coordinator Reiner Giesler
    • Fjällekologi (July-August) - advanced Bachelor's course, course coordinator Keith Larson
    • Fjällekologi grundkurs (July-August) – basic course, course coordinator Stig-Olof Holm
    • Fjällfloristik (July-August) – basic course, course coordinator Ludmilla Janeck
    • Arctic Ecosystems (September-October) - Master's course, course coordinator Maja Sundqvist
  • The proposed project could differ in length and scope. It could involve instant measurements that would be interesting to get for many years, and could be performed as part of an excursion, or more typically projects involve field and lab work. However, it is important that a project should fit into the time frame of our ongoing courses. For the 15 ECTS courses in a spring and autumn this normally is around two to three weeks of project time but the time for the summer courses is somewhat less.
  • Project should [in theory] be able to run for at least 10 years. Our goal is to provide opportunities for students to work with time-series data.
  • Students should collect data of the quality needed for scientific work giving the possibility for development of long-term time-series data useful for future research.
  • The data and metadata of the projects will be stored by the students according to instructions at the Abisko Arctic Research-based Teaching Platform as part of their participation in the course. The CIRC Project Coordinator will develop routines to make this work.
  •  Projects that are co-located with other study sites and/or catchments are encouraged. In addition, CIRC and the Abisko Scientific Research Station (ANS) have and continue to develop infrastructure and monitoring programs (ANS) can be used as well. For example:
    • CIRC has unique laboratory facilities and instruments that maybe use for projects; and
    • ANS has an existing long-term (1913-present) climate and environment monitoring program as well as laboratory spaces and other infrastructural facilities including vehicles and boats.
  • It is important that all aspects of the field and lab work have clearly developed protocols, data sheets, and methods. The CIRC Project Coordinator will help with the development of these materials that will be hosted on the platform website. It is possible that some field data collection and/or laboratory analysis can take place beyond the context of the course project work if well motivated.
  • Project group sizes are typically 3 to 5 students with between 2 and 4 groups.
  • Projects must be located within walking or short driving distance from the Abisko Scientific Research Station.
  • Projects may require permits from Länsstyrelsen Norrbotten and the local Sameby.
  • Any additional support outside the courses needed for the project should be listed. Please remember that this has to be very limited and mainly restricted to the start-up phase.

Project Application

  1. Title and description of project.
  2. Please create a dialog with the course coordinator to ensure your project fits the constraints of the course.
  3. Describe the contribution of project to the course learning objectives.
  4. Specific the target course and describe of the time it will take place each year. Again, check the syllabus for the timing of the course each year.
  5. Proposed location of the study site. Include location coordinates in WGS84 (use Google Earth) if possible.
  6. How much time you expect students will need for field and/or lab work, data analysis, and report writing. This must include structuring the data, collecting the meta-data and submitting it to the platform data repository.
  7. Budget should include:
    1. A list of field and lab equipment needed for the startup.
    2. The annual running costs for the projects.
  8. List of lab facilities required at the research station (if needed).

Please submit a one to two-page application for your project addresses all of the above project guidelines and application requirements to keith.larson@umu.se. The deadline for applications is 1 March 2017.

CIRC and ANS are currently updating their websites to include details about their respective infrastructure and monitoring programs. If you have any questions about availability of labs, instruments, or field equipment please contact Keith.Larson@umu.se. In addition, CIRC researchers can provide consulting for locating experiments.