Responding to rapid environmental change in the Arctic requires the combined efforts of Arctic scientists from many disciplines, diverse Indigenous knowledge holders, and policy makers from all levels of government. Arctic Futures 2050—convened by the Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH)—will be an international conference designed to enhance collaboration between those groups. Policy makers (from local to national and international governments) need timely access to clearly communicated knowledge of the Arctic environment, and researchers need a clear understanding of the information needs of policy makers. Arctic Futures 2050 will explore the opportunities and challenges for deeper dialogue between scientists, Indigenous knowledge holders, and those making and influencing policy. Our goal is to facilitate such dialogue and avenues to sustained collaboration. To that end, this conference asks:

  • What do we know, and what do we need to know about the Arctic, and why does it matter?
  • What challenges confront policy makers in the rapidly changing Arctic?
  • What basic research is needed to inform responses to Arctic change?
  • What applied research is needed to inform responses to change?
  • What tools can facilitate informing policy making with science and Indigenous knowledge?
  • What opportunities exist for partnerships between policy makers and scientists?

Invitees will include Arctic scientists; Indigenous knowledge holders; policy makers; natural resource managers; and military, industrial, and other operators in the Arctic.

In advance of the meeting, we will invite participants to review scenarios for the future state of the Arctic that incorporate environmental, socio-economic, and political factors as well as graphical representations of how we believe science informs policy and how it might better inform policy.

Current sponsors of the Arctic Futures 2050 Conference include the National Science Foundation's Arctic Sciences Section, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and the American Geophysical Union.

Conference partners currently include ArcticNet, Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS), and the Wilson Center's Polar Initiative.