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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 4.5 mill.

Unfortunately, COVID has caused the project to be paused since June 2020. We tried in the autumn 2020 to open for applications from students for the largest activity planned in 2021 the fully developed master course 'Geohazards and geotechnics in high Arctic permafrost environments', which had been cancelled in 2020 due to COVID. We received 78 applicants, 21 from Norway and 4 from Canada. But in late November 2020 UNIS decided to cancel all master courses in spring 2021 due to COVID. Thus the course was again cancelled. At the same time it has not been possible to travel between Canada and Norway/Svalbard due to COVID in this entire reporting period, and thus we have not been able to plan nor perform any of the planned project activities. We got the arranged FROZEN CANOES session at ArcticNet done fully digital 9 December, with 5 oral presentations and a chatroom for discussion all run by Chris Burn, FROZEN CANOES partner from Canada. We also had an online project meeting 9 November 2020, to evaluate how to proceed with the project, and decided to seek a 2 year prolongation to be able to perform the project as planned as soon as the COVID conditions allows for this again. We got a 1 year prolongation organised in spring 2021, and will apply for an additional prolongation to summer 2023, so that we manage to perform also the last large project activity, the master course in Yukon Canada in summer 2023. And we hope to also be able to run in 2022 the already once organised FROZEN CANOES course at NTNU 'Design of Roads and Railways in Cold Climate'


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