Heriot-Watt joins University of the Arctic global network



Open discussion session hosted by the planning group for the Indigenous Youth Summit, bringing together Arctic and New England Indigenous youth together.

Heriot-Watt University has become one of 11 new members to join the University of the Arctic (UArctic) network. The UArctic brings together universities, colleges, research institutes and other organisations from across the global north focused on education and research in and about the rapidly changing natural and social environment of the Arctic.

The official vote by existing members took place during the 2022 General Assembly meeting, held in Portland, Maine from 1-3 June. Dr Alex Poulton, Deputy Director of the Global Research Institute (GRI) the Lyell Centre for Earth & Marine Science and Technology, was in attendance, representing the University on behalf of Chief Scientist Professor Michel Kaiser, and Deputy Principal of Research and Impact, Professor Steve McLaughlin.

Prior to the official vote, Dr Poulton attended a number of pre-conference events, designed to facilitate networking between new and existing member institutions, and presented on Heriot-Watt's strong credentials in global research, knowledge sharing and partnership-working.

It is anticipated that Heriot-Watt's membership will lead to collaborative opportunities to grow and strengthen its research related to UArctic's Thematic Networks, including Arctic Law and Governance, Sustainability, Circular Economy, and Renewable Energy. There are also a number of UArctic Institutes, self-governing units devoted to research, monitoring and education, which exist to facilitate development of multidisciplinary solutions for Arctic challenges.

Membership also allows the University to vote in future elections.

Dr Poulton said: “It is an honour for Heriot-Watt to be welcomed as a new member of the University of the Arctic. Rapid changes in the Arctic environment are accompanied by real challenges to the communities that live in the area, with the Arctic becoming a new frontier in terms of exploitation, resource acquisition and social issues. 

“Joining this prestigious collective will bring a wealth of opportunities for researchers and students to learn, research and share ideas for enhancing and supporting communities in the North and improving its sustainability.

“I would encourage academic staff to explore the various ways to engage with UArctic, including joining one of the many Thematic Networks which offer fantastic research cooperation, funding and knowledge sharing opportunities that can make a positive contribution to addressing world issues.”

Professor Steve McLaughlin, Deputy Principal of Research and Impact, said: “Joining prestigious entities like the UArctic demonstrates the University's commitment to benefit society and support flourishing communities, as outlined in our 2019-2025 Strategic Plan.

“I am looking forward to seeing the collaborative outputs that will enhance Heriot-Watt's research impact and make a positive contribution to addressing world issues.”

The members network now consists of 176 institutions from countries across the globe including Iceland, Greenland, Sweden, the United States, China, and the Czech Republic. Other new members joining this year include Mount Royal University (Canada), University of Jyväskylä (Finland), University of Southern Denmark, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre (Norway), and the Glasgow School of Art.

Heriot-Watt staff and students interested in getting involved with UArctic can contact Alex for further information.


Louise Jack