Alexander Klimov: the Floating University is a natural construct of NArFU’s work towards the Arctic - Arctic-fund

Alexander Klimov: the Floating University is a natural construct of NArFU’s work towards the Arctic

img 3230Today, the research vessel Professor Molchanov hosted a press conference timed with the startf of the expedition titled «The Arctic Floating University-2016: unveiling the mysteries of the Novaya Zemlya». Among the interviewees were RF Deputy Minister of Education Alexander Klimov; Rector of M.V. Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University Elena Kudryashova; expedition leader Konstantin Zaikov; Deputy Director of the Northern Administration for Hydrometeorological and Environmental Monitoring Alexander Driker; and Acting Director of the Russian Arctic National Park Alexander Kirilov.

As a reminder, this year’s expedition (to be launched by NArFU in cooperation with the Northern Administration for Hydrometeorological and Environmental Monitoring) will last from June 7 to 27. Its agenda focusing on the changes being experienced by marine ecosystems and the coastal archipelagoes within the Western sector of the Russian Arctic, the expedition offers young researchers majoring in Arctic issues ample ground for research and is designed to promote Russia’s research, cultural and natural heritage. The company acting as this year’s expedition’s primary sponsor is NOVATEK, JSC.

This is the Arctic Floating University’s eighth expedition. It members (56) come from seven countries of the world, the Russian members (21 research officers) representing 17 research institutions and universities. The international participants are six and they come from Indonesia, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and Brazil.

Colleagues, let me congratulate you on the fact that our Arctic Floating University is a truly one-of-a-kind project. Not only does it serve as a brand of NArFU and the area, it serves as a brand of the entire Russian Federation, seen as a long-standing forerunner of the global Arctic research. It is thorough out joint effort, and also through what we today have given rise to as the National Arctic Research Consortium, that we intend to continue to multifacetedly promote this brand, said Elena Kudryashova in her welcome address.

I think it is one of NArFU’s biggest achievements that it has managed to come up with a clearly stated and transparent policy for the Arctic research and human resourcing. The orientation towards the Arctic areas as strong and clear as NArFU’s is what constitutes its strength, and it is quite natural that the idea of the Arctic Floating University should be given rise exactly here,’ said Alexander Klimov sharing his ideas about the expedition.

The benefits that this expedition project can bring to all its stakeholders was the topic touched upon by Alexander Driker. One of these benefits are the highly-qualified NArFU graduates with strong background and comprehensive field training experience who are now the employees of the Northern Administration for Hydrometeorological and Environmental Monitoring, and the Russian Arctic National Park.

Another benefit would, according to Alexander Kirilov, be the ‘re-discovery of the Arctic’ — through updating the data that was sourced as far back as the 1960s-1970s or even earlier, as is the case with the Novaya Zemlya that hasn’t seen any solid research of itself since the 1940s.

Alexander Kirilov holds very high opinion about this project, underlining that ‘the AFU expeditions is what we can use a tool to update and compare the data sourced by the previous generations, and also to make forecast. The research data from the AFU expeditions is what makes the basis for the investigations being carried out by the Russian Arctic in a variety of areas of knowledge."

According to Konstantic Zaikov, this year’s expedition’s agenda has undergone a series of changes and will focus primarily on terrestrial and coastal research. It targets to perform, in cooperation with the Russian Arctic National Park, a series of effort-consuming investigations of the flora and fauna diversity, of the state of coastal areas, and of processes occurring along the coastline. Also, the array of the research portfolios will, for the first time ever, include Paleomagnetism (Geology), aiming to reconstruct paleo-landscape. The upcoming work will be important in terms of the resource evaluation on the Novaya Zemlya, as this archipelago represents a geological formation rich in rare-earth elements. Apart from that, work will be continued to collect data on the cultural heritage sites. Last but not least, each of the 29 students onboard is bound to arrive to a more comprehensive understanding of the Arctic.

There are two more things that set this year’s expedition apart from all previous ones. One is the 3D survey and the special specs (VR) one needs to enjoy the beauty of the Arctic landscape and scenery. The other is tribute to the memory of the 75th anniversary of the arrival in Arkhangelsk of the Arctic Convoy ‘Dervish’, an event to be organized together with the Russian Military History Society that will involve setting a wreath afloat on the waters of the Arctic Ocean.

The launch of the expedition onboard the Professor Molchanov is scheduled for tomorrow, June 7, with the official ceremony to take place at 16:30 at the Sea River Terminal.

Vitaliy Barashkov