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INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research

Landscape & infrastucture dynamics of frozen environments undergoing climate change in Canada, Norway and Svalbard

Alternative title: Landskap og infrastruktur dynamik i frosne miljøer hvor klimatiske endringer skjer i Canada, Norge og Svalbard

Awarded: NOK 3.3 mill.

The project started with a kick- off workshop at UNIS in Svalbard with 10 participants from all project partners on 22-23 October 2018. We also carried out a field trip as part of this workshop. Throughout the entire project period, we have had regular online Steering Committee meetings with all partners to discuss the progress of the planned activities in the project. The project ended with an exit strategy workshop that took place as part of the ArcticNet meeting in Toronto in December 2022. There we decided to share our experiences with the project by making a publication about the need for risk analyzes of climate change and permafrost in northern societies. We also discussed the possibility of further developing internships in permafrost. A very important part of the collaboration in the project has been the joint development of two new master's courses, which were carried out twice and once during the project period, respectively at NTNU and UNIS. The Master's course 'Design of Roads and Railways in Cold Climate ' 7.5 ECTS was designed, the course plan laid out and two online modules were also designed and produced, as part of the course. The course was held at NTNU, Norway in autumn 2019 (25 students, 6 from Canada and 10 Norwegian), and again in autumn 2022 (12 students). We employed a young Canadian researcher, Julie Malenfant-Lepage, as course manager both times it was run. She has also coordinated the development of the course. Also the master's course ' Geohazards and geotechnics in high Arctic permafrost environments ' (10 ECTS) was designed and planned during 2019. And we applied to have it as a UNIS course, so that it was ready to run in June 2020. The course is formally approved as part of the UNIS course portfolio. We employed the young researcher Graham Gilbert (originally from Canada, and has studied master's and PhD at UNIS, UiO and UiB Norway) who also helped develop the course as course manager. This field-based course was unfortunately canceled due to COVID-19 in 2020 and again in 2021, but in 2020 had 36 qualified students, of which 6 from Canada and 15 from Norway. Due to the C-19 shutdown, it was only possible in 2022 to carry out this course at UNIS, where it was run completely full with 16 students at the University Center in Svalbard, UNIS over 5 weeks. Finally, as part of the project, we conducted the master's course 'Advanced Permafrost Engineering Applied to Transportation ' at Yukon University , Whitehorse, Canada Infrastructure ' in the late summer with 5 students. The course was taught by Chris Burn and Guy Dore from respectively Carleton and Laval universities. This course is based on an earlier course but redesigned to have a longer field part. There was a Norwegian participant on this. As the project had to end in 2022, and we had not had any bachelor relevant activity, we decided to get involved in the permafrost bachelor course at UNIS in 2022, AG-218 'International Bachelor Permafrost Summer Field School'. This ran over 5 weeks in early summer 2022, and we have supported junior researcher Marjolaine Verret, as course manager for this interdisciplinary course. It ran filled with 20 students , of which 3 were from Canada. We developed one session for the ArcticNet conference in December 2020 in Canada: 'Integrating science and engineering education to address challenges with northern infrastructure under a changing climate with special focus on permafrost'. The ArcticNet session was conducted in full digital version with some selected oral presentations. Due to COVID-19, which made it impossible to carry out exchanges between Canada, Norway and Svalbard, the project was put on hold from spring 2020 until autumn 2021, after which we had to create a revised project plan. Due to the lack of physical activities, we have focused on developing online permafrost education resources. Chris Burn, Carleton University , has developed 3 overall educational video modules. One on the Earth's thermal regime, one on ground ice and one on application and implications. Each module contains many summary short videos, but also several longer videos. We have also made two video modules about the remote permafrost sensing developed in collaboration with young researcher Line Rouyet, NORCE; a video module on cryostratigraphy created by the young researcher Marjolaine Verret, UNIS, and a video module on how permafrost drilling is carried out, created by the Longyearbyen- based local research support company Kolibri Geoservices. All these videos will be very important parts of the legacy of the project, and will be available online resources for permafrost education. They will be available through the UNIS education resources website. We also plan to be able to offer these through the International Permafrost Association's Education and Outreach committee and the UArctic Thematic Network for Permafrost.

The FROZEN CANOES project has developed a joint research based educational field based programme combining geoscience and engineering to address perennially and seasonally frozen ground undergoing climate change in an innovative educational by using knowledge from both Norwegian and Canadian partners. 1) We have developed and delivered three interdisciplinary and complementary Master level courses addressing the main objective in Norway at NTNU in 2019 + 2022 (focus seasonal frost), in Svalbard at UNIS in 2022 (focus continuous permafrost) and in Canada at Yukon College in 2022 (focus discontinuous permafrost) + collaborated with a bachelors course in UNIS in 2022. All courses will have a significant field component. 2) We have developed new ways of educating students by producing many online modules, that have been used both in the project courses, but which will also be a significant legacy of the project. 3) We have developed interdisciplinary collaboration by having students work in teams of both geoscientists and engineers as they will encounter in their future jobs. 4) We have managed to hire three early carrier scientists as course responsible. This is a major achievement which will impact the future permafrost education at the involved institutions. 5) We have hosted two physical FROZEN CANOES collaboration workshops: The kick-off workshop during autumn 2018 held at UNIS in Svalbard, with all partners involved increasing the knowledge among the participating institutions and working on the development of the joint courses in the project. The exit strategy development workshop was held in December 2022 in Toronto at the ArcticNet meeting, where the legacy of the project was discussed in more detail and plans for joint publication of the project outcome planned.

The FROZEN CANOES project will contribute to high quality research-based educational collaboration between Norway and Canada, in particular between the strong geoscience groups at UNIS, Carleton University, and Yukon College, and between the geotechnical groups at UNIS, NTNU, and Université Laval. The project partners have and have had project collaboration before within geoscience and geotechnics separately, but the combination of geoscience and geotechnics to be achieved in this application is unique. The project builds on collaboration to develop three new master level courses and four online modules, hopefully so successfully that the course package will continue to be offered as a joint master degree offer/programme at the participating institutions forming a lasting legacy of FROZEN CANOES. Building on several larger research project outcomes, their field and laboratory measuring techniques, and being able to use large-scale geotechnical and geoscientific infrastructures are demonstrating how the educational goals can only be achieved using previous research and research infrastructure. Including early carrier scientists largely into the development of the project and its educational goals ensures transferring research-based educational skills from the senior scientists to the next generation scientists and engineers. The use of innovative teaching methods using online modules, but also in the planned master courses is depending on being able to use the best outcomes from the qualifying research projects, the technical educational infrastructure of the participating institutions and industry partners. Knowledge of the key science foundation for frost action, permafrost and geohazards is required to adequately address the needs of academic research and industry. Climate change adds uncertainty so sharing expertise between geoscience and engineering research environments, and with industry, will improve our capacity to respond to future cold region issues.

Funding scheme:

INTPART-International Partnerships for Excellent Education and Research