Arctic Connections Fund: successful projects 2023 to 2024

List of successful applicants to the third round of the Arctic Connections Fund, launched in March 2023 to help Scottish organisations and communities collaborate with partners in the Arctic.

The third round of the Arctic Connections Fund was launched in March 2023 to help Scottish organisations and communities collaborate with partners in the Arctic. It promotes exchange of expertise on shared issues and aims to raise awareness of common ambitions in line with our Arctic policy framework.

Scotland-based organisations were able to apply for a minimum of £1,000 and maximum of £10,000. Applications were assessed using a competitive scoring process during May and June 2023.

The original available budget for 2023-2024 was £80,000. A total of 43 applications were received, with a very high quality demonstrated. We are funding the following nine projects, with a total value of up to £83,276:

Ref no: ACF23-01
Grantee: Heriot Watt University 
Partner: Green Marine (Canada)
Grant: £9,381.04
Title: Navigating the Future: Collaborative Knowledge-Sharing for a Just and Sustainable Maritime Future

‘Navigating the Future’ project will facilitate knowledge-sharing between Arctic and sub-Arctic countries to help ensure the just transition of the maritime transportation sector to green energy, contribute to achieving sustainable economic blue growth and enhanced environmental protection. The project will identify best practices for facilitating communication and engagement across the maritime transportation sector and surrounding impacted communities and the main drivers and concerns related to transitioning ports in Arctic and sub-Arctic nations. This information will improve knowledge transfer and encourage a proactive and joined up approach for achieving emissions targets and realising more sustainable shipping activities in northern waters.

Ref no: ACF23-02
Grantee: James Hutton Institute
Partners: Innovation Centre for Organic Farming (Denmark), Agronomy Institute (UHI Orkney)    
Grant: £9,959
Title: Raising the Bar

Recent climate warming in Europe has led to northward expansion of crop cultivation into the Arctic regions. Barley, an ancient cereal, has been grown for centuries in these regions, mainly for animal feed and straw. Counterintuitively, increased temperatures may provide a longer growing season, with new opportunities for high value local products. The project will work towards the organisation of a workshop, bringing together a transnational multidisciplinary group to discuss and address challenges and opportunities, also considering the societal aspects for isolated rural communities. Consequently, a scoping document and roadmap for the future cultivation of cereals in the Arctic regions will be produced.

Ref no: ACF23-03
Grantee: Space Scotland
Partners: University of Alaska Fairbanks (USA), The LeadhershipXchange (Shetland) (consultancy), University of Edinburgh
Grant: £10,000
Title: Scottish-Alaskan Partners in the North Conference Planning

To build a strategic Scotland-Alaska partnership on the space sector increasing academic collaboration, economic partnership, and community-led cultural knowledge exchange. A key component for this partnership is a conference proposed for 2025 targeting the Scotland-Alaska connection, building on the established links across industry, academia and community, identified through this project phase. This funding will allow for an immersive pre-conference planning workshop for a Scottish leaders/planners delegation in Alaska, building upon a 2022 Alaska delegation trip to Scotland. This delegation will travel to and work closely with University of Alaska Fairbanks engaging with Alaskan community, industry, and economic leaders, with the goal to establish the framework document for the 2025 conference, directly addressing priority areas for both locations.

Ref no: ACF23-04
Grantee: University of Aberdeen
Partner: Nord University (Norway)
Grant: £9,890
Title: Security Challenges In The Arctic: Developing Awareness And Building Resilience

This project will organise two workshops on security challenges in the Arctic. Undergraduate, Master’s, and PhD students as well as academics from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland) and Nord University (Norway) will present and discuss research and policy ideas on the future security challenges arising from environmental and political change in the Arctic region. The workshops will cover topics ranging from energy and food security in the Arctic to potential security challenges emerging in the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The proposed workshops will foster a network of students and current and aspiring researchers and policy professionals who can contribute in the future to addressing the energy, food, and maritime security challenges in the Arctic region.

Ref no: ACF23-05
Grantee: Tinderbox Collective
Partner: Uummannaq Polar Institute (Greenland)
Grant: £10,000
Title: Ice Games: A collaboration and exchange between Uummannaq Polar Institute and Tinderbox Collective

An international collaborative youth project, between Tinderbox Collective in Scotland and the Uummannaq Polar Institute, an umbrella group that includes Uummannaq Children’s Home, in Greenland. Through remote workshops and a skill-sharing exchange, the groups will create video and physical games, stories, music and art, exploring our relationships with ice. The collaboration will lead to the groups coming together in Scotland in March 2024 during Arctic Science Summit Week, and an exhibition showcasing games, art, music and stories from across the project.

Ref no: ACF23-06
Grantee: University of Aberdeen
Partner: University of Washington (USA)
Grant: £8,159
Title: Teaching Arctic Environments

Teaching Arctic Environments addresses the need for multi-disciplinary and collaborative pedagogy within and beyond Scottish and North American institutions. In collaboration with the Canadian Studies Center: Arctic and International Relations, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington, this project seizes upon the newly-established Interdisciplinary Research Centres at the University of Aberdeen to develop and co-create online and open-access visually-orientated teaching resources that address the growing need and demand for critical environmental humanities pedagogy of the circumpolar Arctic.

Ref no: ACF23-07
Grantee: University of Edinburgh
Partner: Trent University (Canada)
Grant: £10,000
Title: Building a “Network of Networks” (ArcNET2) to Promote Resilient and Sustainable Arctic Environments and Communities 

UoE and Trent University (TrentU) are deeply committed to fostering resiliency and sustainable management within northern and remote communities. As a first step in building an Edinburgh-Trent Research “Network of Networks” (ArcNET2) on resilience and sustainable Arctic environments, societies and resources, the project will invite Arctic experts including local and Indigenous knowledge-holders, artists, performers and story-tellers to engage collaboratively with academic researchers from both institutional landscapes through a knowledge-exchange workshop and follow-up virtual conversations. Consistent with the goals of the Scottish Government’s Arctic Policy Framework, the goal is to stimulate creative forms of knowledge-sharing for exploration of sustainable management of cultural and natural resources practices.

Ref no: ACF23-08
Grantee: University of Strathclyde
Partner: Energi i Nord (Norway)
Grant: £6,114
Title: Scotland/Arctic Regions Net Zero Transition – Common Challenges and Opportunities Seminar

The project will plan and deliver an online seminar on common issues and solutions related to the introduction of new renewable energy systems and decarbonisation technologies in Shetland and Northern Norway and consider technical, infrastructure and social challenges, including network constraints, emerging clean fuels and community acceptance. It will highlight ongoing efforts/projects, identify where solutions/knowledge can be shared across the two regions and highlight opportunities for future collaboration and research to address developmental gaps. It will build on common themes across the two rural regions, including fuel poverty, high dependence on fossil fuels and the need for a Just Transition.

Ref no: ACF23-09 
Grantee: UHI West Highland
Partner: University of Lapland (Finland)
Grant: £9,772.59
Title: Inspiring Visitor Engagement with Rural Cultural Heritage Tourism 

Developing a digital platform offers opportunities for smaller, less-visited destinations to both position themselves within the tourism market and digitally preserve their heritage. Using community-curated content, they can promote their tourism offering in a way that is sustainable, regenerative, accommodates the needs of locals, and curates and celebrates their stories. This pilot study will work with communities in Arctic Finland and the Highlands to co-create a methodology for a mobile phone app and audio trail. The final report will be a ‘how to’ guide for the benefit of similar destinations seeking to market their own area to visitors this way.

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