Convergent Arctic Research Perspectives and Education (CARPE)


The cascading impacts of climate change on natural and human systems are more evident in the Arctic than anywhere else on Earth. Temperatures are rising twice as fast as the global average. Dramatic sea ice reductions, significant glacier and ice sheet mass loss, and rapidly thawing permafrost impact Arctic peoples’ and ecosystems’ daily activities and well-being. Many of the most profound changes result from shifts in seasonality—the timing of cultural, biological, physical, and chemical events—especially the nature and timing of spring and autumn. Addressing how changing seasonality across the Arctic affects ecosystems, the built environment, and human communities requires the convergence of many disciplines capable of recognizing the interlinked challenges posed by climate change. This National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) award to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) will train graduate students to use a convergence research framework to investigate and understand the interwoven impacts of changing seasonality on Arctic natural and human systems. The program will train 10 M.S. and 30 Ph.D. students, including 20 funded Ph.D. trainees, from the natural sciences, social sciences, and engineering.

The Connecting Arctic Research Perspectives and Education (CARPE) NRT aims to train the next generation of professionals to tackle the complex socio-ecological challenges of changing seasonality in the Arctic using a convergence research framework imbued with a perspective that respects the viewpoints of indigenous communities. The primary objectives are to train graduate students and their faculty advisors to design and conduct convergence research projects focused on the impact of changing seasonality in the Arctic natural and human systems while building capacity to engage with Arctic Indigenous communities and local stakeholders. CARPE will prepare the trainees to pursue academic and non-academic careers to address grand challenges posed by a changing climate and the cascading impacts on society. In addition, the program will transform graduate training at UNH by integrating convergent approaches to research and preparing students to build reciprocal research programs with Indigenous and other community partners. Hence, they will be better equipped for societally-focused careers. CARPE trainees will participate in program elements including coursework providing the theoretical and practical foundations for conducting research oriented toward a changing Arctic; transdisciplinary group research projects; collaborative, solutions-focused internships with external partners; communication training for engaging with a variety of audiences; and ethics training in building relationships with Indigenous and local peoples. Evidence of mastery of knowledge and skills will be assessed via synthesis reports, individual and team presentations, contributions to workshops, conferences, community discussions, and outreach events, completion of a convergent research project, and via external evaluation. In addition, each student will draft and refine an Individual Development Plan throughout their time in CARPE, with input and guidance from their mentors and CARPE leadership.

The NSF Research Traineeship (NRT) Program is designed to encourage the development and implementation of bold, new potentially transformative models for STEM graduate education training. The program is dedicated to effective training of STEM graduate students in high priority interdisciplinary or convergent research areas through comprehensive traineeship models that are innovative, evidence-based, and aligned with changing workforce and research needs.

Co-funding for this award is being provided by Navigating the New Arctic (NNA) program, one of NSF's 10 Big Ideas. NNA supports projects that address convergence scientific challenges in the rapidly changing Arctic, empower new research partnerships, diversify the next generation of Arctic researchers, enhance efforts in formal and informal education, and integrate the co-production of knowledge where appropriate. This award aligns with those goals.

Project PI(s)
Funded Institutions
University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH
Other Research Location(s)
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Abisko Scientific Research Station
Project Start Date
Sep 2021
Award Year