Are current research funding structures sufficient to address rapid Arctic change in a meaningful way?

Keywords: Arctic research, funding agencies, environmental change, North America, European Union, Arctic policy


Arctic environmental changes already impact regional ecosystems, economies and northern communities, and are having increasing influence on many aspects of the global system. Interest in the Arctic has increased in concert with our improved awareness of potential changes; however, research funding has not necessarily kept pace with the need to improve our understanding of Arctic system change to inform evidence-based decision making. Analyses of data on research funding trends (2003–14) in Canada, the USA and the EU indicate that less than 3% of the total budget the funding agencies considered is allocated in any given year to Arctic-related research. Furthermore, alignment is uneven among established scientific research priorities, existing societal needs and projects awarded funding. New support mechanisms and improved alignment among resources, expertise and priorities, including Indigenous research priorities, are vital to planning and adaptation in the face of ongoing Arctic change.


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