RCN awards the Barents Institute International Polar Year Grant

The Research Council of Norway awards the Barents Institute grant for producing an encyclopaedia of the Barents Region

This research and outreach project will be part of the large international research enterprise the International Polar Year that commenced on the 1st of March 2007. This project aims at making an important part of the Polar Regions, the Barents Region present in the minds of people and will relate it to a circum-Arctic and global context. Its main result will be an Encyclopaedia of the Barents Region.

This will be a unique joint effort of an international network of scholars and scientists in the true spirit of the IPY, providing highly-accessible out-reach of new and authoritative social, economic, indigenous and environmental knowledge. The production will coincide with the time-span of the IPY 2007-09 and contribute continually to it’s out-reach by a website and a series of public presentations. The encyclopaedia will have a lasting importance and efficiently counteract the tendencies of previous IPY:s undertaken in 1882-83, 1932-33 and 1957-59 to be sudden burst of excellent work, covered by fine publicity, followed by all too often long periods of insufficiently funded data management, delayed publishing and thus neglect from the media and in the public sphere.

The Barents Encyclopaedia will be a new tool of reference that makes possible a contextual interdisciplinary outlook on the European Arctic. This is crucially needed for the sustainable management of northern natural resources both in fisheries, minerals and oil and gas. The encyclopaedic scientific outlook will be made complete by a presentation of traditional knowledge including the modern enterprises of reindeer herding, costal fishing and quality tourism. The out-reach encompasses school children, undergraduate students, advanced researchers, journalists and the public. It aims to further interest for natural and social sciences, technology and multidisciplinary studies of the Barents Euro-Arctic Region.Its main result will be a lasting legacy of knowledge, in the highly accessible form of a one or two volume encyclopaedia. An Internet on-line version will be provided based on low cost access. The encyclopaedia will be the first ever on the Barents Region, unique in its multidisciplinary scope.

The programme has also been awarded funding from the IPY Committee of the Swedish Research Council. This enterprise involves the University of Tromsø and Luleå University of Technology in Sweden as the other two core partners; in this will be engaged a large number of scholars at institutes in Northwest Russia, Finland, and Northern Norway and Sweden.

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