Investment Portal of the Arctic Zone of the Russian Federation

Islet of Salvation

The Young Scientists' Forum in Arkhangelsk gets participants from more than 20 countries

3 june 2022

03.06.2022 // An International Young Scientists' Forum, titled "Russia in the Arctic Dialogue: Global and Regional Contexts", took place in Arkhangelsk on 25-27 May. Hosted by the Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov, the events on its agenda brought together more than 100 people from over 20 countries.

"It's especially important for us to have representatives from Arctic Council member countries and observers at the forum. Of the six observer countries and four council members, we are seeing guests from Iceland, Norway, the United States and Russia," said Konstantin Zaikov, vice-rector for international cooperation and information policy at NArFU.

Holding the forum is part of Russia's chairmanship at the Arctic Council in 2021-2023. Natalia Vyakhireva, expert and program manager of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), noted in her speech at the plenary session that the future of the Arctic Council is very uncertain at this point. However, without Russia's involvement, it would be impossible to solve most of the global problems of the Arctic region.

"The way I see it, in such a difficult period of international relations as the one we are currently experiencing, it is very important to keep whichever channels of dialogue that remain open today, at all levels, where possible. At the level of researchers, at the level of scientists, at the level of youth cooperation, because this will provide a platform for dialogue for the future, when the time comes for new opportunities in politics, the economy and more," says Natalia Vyakhireva.

Photo: NArFU

This opinion is shared by Boris Smirnov, Advisor to the Director General of the Far East and Arctic Development Corporation. He considers it necessary "to do everything possible to preserve any viable channels, so we can resume cooperation when common sense prevails on the other side".

The Young Scientists' Forum has become clear example reaffirming that fruitful cooperation between the countries is possible under any geopolitical conditions. For example, the Forum's International Postgraduate School held events for 25 young scientists from Russia, Norway, Finland, Iceland, Canada, and even countries that have no Arctic territories — Turkey and India. The postgraduates presented their dissertations to the world's leading experts on the Arctic. The young scientists' research covered a wide range of topics, from geopolitics and international relations to environmental challenges and environmental risk management in the Arctic.

Of particular interest to the forum participants was the Arctic Lecture Series by leading foreign and Russian scientists in the field of Arctic research. The Far East and Arctic Development Corporation held a round-table discussion: "Arctic Science and Business: Risks and Challenges".

Photo: NArFU

The final block of the forum was called the Project Lab. Students from different countries were divided into eight teams, each of which developed a project initiative that would help solve one of the pressing problems of the Arctic. In their search for the right solution, the teams were assisted by mentors: experts in international project management. The winning project was called Islet of Salvation. Its authors suggested deploying artificial platforms where marine mammals can rest and regain strength. Today, when the Arctic ice is melting rapidly, such platforms can indeed become islets of salvation for the animals.

Read more The Arctic Council: Private Club or a Forum for Enthusiasts? How the 'Arctic G8' collectively decides the future of the region


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