Software & Polar Research Workshop

 

The UK Polar Network are running a Software & Polar Research Workshop at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge: Tuesday 17th September 2013. Although we are currently still in the planning process, please save this date in your diaries and check back regularly for updates! Where:  Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge Lensfield Road Cambridge CB2 1ER  When: 17 September, 2013 (immediately preceding the UK Arctic Science Workshop) What: We want to bring together a group of 20-30 early career polar researchers for a day filled with topics on how software has and will play an important role in polar research and your research in particular. Session ideas right now include talks on how software has enabled unique and exciting polar research (whether controlling autonomous vehicles, or fusing large amounts of satellite data over Antarctica and Greenland, for example), a presentation on becoming ready to share your code, resources for software development best practice, tips on choosing the best computing tools for your research, and a collaborative session between workshop attendees. The event will also include a networking reception to allow participants to get to know each other and the presenters. Some funds will be available for travel to Cambridge and accommodation for the workshop, as well as possibly for the duration of the Arctic Science Conference, depending on demand. What Next: Over the next few months we’ll be forming the programme, confirming speakers, and setting up the registration process. To express interest in attending the workshop and receive updates, email allen.pope@polarnetwork.org. If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see as part of the workshop, we’d love to hear that, too. The UKPN is always looking for volunteers who want to get involved, so let us know if you’d like to help organize this event (or a future one), even in a small role. How: This workshop is sponsored by the Software Sustainability Institute. Find out more about how they can help you do your research better at http://www.software.ac.uk/.  Look out for their resources as well as their fellowship scheme, which provides researchers at all career levels with funds to attend conferences, run events, and further the aims of the SSI.

Polar outreach day in Leeds

On Monday 28th November 2011, UKPN member and University of Leeds PhD student Chris Williams educated and enthralled sixty children aged 7-8 about science and exploration in the Arctic region. Chris treated the budding polar enthusiasts to a fascinating photo presentation, lively discussions, real-life displays and interactive exercises to show the wonder and challenge of living and working in the Arctic environment. Feedback from the children and teachers was excellent and all participants went away with an appreciation of and fascination for the polar regions, and many future explorers were inspired!

Summary of UKPN at RGS Explore 2011!

In mid-November of 2011, Laura Hobbs and Thomas Perriment from the UKPN committee attended the Royal Geographical Society’s annual Expedition and Fieldwork Planning weekend – Explore. Set in the heart of London, the theme of the conference could not have had a less city feel to it; and with every lecture and workshop, it felt as though the doors to the world were opening a little more. After their own expedition-worthy journey from Plymouth to London, Laura and Tom set up their poster that would inform delegates and speakers about the UKPN, its aims and its benefits to early career scientists. Throughout the weekend, they were inundated with questions about the Polar Network, and people were amazed to find that this resource and wealth of information was available to them. They had a lot of interest in the workshops and outreachevents coming up this year, and I think it is safe to say that this interest will grow as word spreads throughout the expedition community. Laura said, "It was a pleasure to be part of such an exciting and inspiring event, and also great to meet many UKPN members, both new additions and those who have previously been involved." So what can we takeaway from Explore for the UKPN? Although predominantly explorers and adventurers, many delegates were interested in getting some scientific information to support their expeditions which may not have a research theme at their core. Thomas said, "The support available to expeditions and research trips in both physical and life sciences, as well as anthropology is vast, this is where the UK Polar Network can assist you and your team." Would you like to assist with expeditions and inform the team about research in the area? The interest in outreach work was quite frankly overwhelming… Let’s run with this and really put the UKPN out there in terms of engaging the future generation in Polar research. The Explore weekend is a great way to go about designing your own Polar expedition or research trip. The RGS and the staff are brimming with information, and their breadth of knowledge is incomparable and seems never-ending. If you have any ideas that you would like to discuss, please contact the RGS or contact the UK Polar Network can get you in contact with the right people

Career mentor panel at IGS-BB 2011

The UK Polar Network will be hosting a Career Mentoring Panel at the British Antarctic Survey during the IGS British Branch Meeting (7-8th September). In addition to the scientific program, the panel will be a great opportunity for early career researchers to ask mentors questions about taking the next steps in their careers. This is open to all early career scientists registered at the meeting: http://www.bas.ac.uk/about_bas/events/igs2011/index.php The IGS British Branch Annual Meeting is an informal two-day meeting at which presentations are welcome on all aspects of ice and snow research. Postgraduate students in particular are welcome to attend and present their work. The meeting will consist of both oral and poster presentation sessions. Registration closes on Wednesday 6th July.  

UKPN Science Communication Workshop

In a rapidly changing world, the ability of scientists to communicate their work to the public is becoming ever more important, and training in this key skill ever more valuable. The UK Polar Network will be holding a workshop on the 12th-14th January 2011 at the University of Aberdeen, providing a fantastic opportunity for early career polar scientists to develop their proficiency within this area.

Many different aspects of science communication and public engagement will be explored during the workshop. These will include the making of natural and scientific television programmes; the link between research establishments and the media and public; the role of government in science communication; expeditions as a means of inspiring and educating young people, and scientific and polar exhibitions and attractions.

Interaction and informal discussion will form a key part of all sessions. External speakers will be present from the BBC, the Open University, the Scottish Government, the University of Aberdeen, Education Through Expeditions, and the British Antarctic Survey, providing invaluable expertise and experience from which participants can learn.

Practical experience in outreach and communication will also be emphasized, with participants given the chance to present talks and posters of their own, and take part in a hands-on session on effective outreach. This aspect of the workshop will cumlinate in an actual outreach event, planned with local school groups, to give participants the chance to put their new and improved skills into practice.

Registration for the Aberdeen workshop will open on the UK Polar Network website in autumn 2010. Attendance will carry a nominal fee, but it is anticipated that funds will be made available to support travel and accommodation for participants that have no other source of expenses funding.

The dissemination and communication of polar science and issues remains a key focus of the UK Polar Network. This science communication workshop will provide early career researchers with the skills, abilities and confidence required to better themselves as ambassadors for their fields, for the Network and for science as a whole.

We invite all early career polar scientists from across the UK and around the world to this exciting workshop and we look forward to welcoming you to Aberdeen in January!

UKPN at the British Science Festival 2010

Members of the UKPN spent last week at the British Science Festival teaching 8-10 year olds about glaciers, from how they form to their impact on the world and us. We had a great team, with Antarctic scientists, postgraduate students, lecturers and recent graduates taking on the role of education. We all managed to bring something different to the classroom and our wide range of backgrounds gave the students a variation of knowledge from the fields of glaciology, biology, meteorology and paleoclimatology! Held in Birmingham at Aston University, the festival was a chance to teach potential future scientists about the research that is being undertaken in the Polar Regions, excite them, and inspire them to choose a future in science. During the week our workshop “The Polar Meltdown” was visited by over 350 pupils, many of whom had never heard of a glacier before but we hope they left informed and inspired about the Polar Regions! We also managed to speak to many people involved in education, and get the UKPN better known in these fields. It was great to see not only children, but also adults interested in current Polar research. A big thanks to all the team; Allen, Martin, Tamsin, Nicola and Iestyn, and also the event organizers. And a massive thanks to all the schools that attended and made our week so enjoyable!

UKPN at the IGS British Branch 2010

During the annual IGS British Branch meeting, held at Aberystwyth University by the Institute of Geography and Earth Science, the UKPN held a mentoring session for early career scientists concerning career paths and future employment. The session was held at the end of the first full day of the conference and was attended by over 45 delegates including Masters students, PhD candidates, post-doctoral researchers and others in full-time employment. The panel consisted of four leading scientists in cryospheric research; Dr Robert Bingham (University of Aberdeen), Dr Neil Ross (University of Edinburgh), Dr Nick Rutter (Northumbria University) and Maarten Krabbendam (British Geological Survey), all with various backgrounds and career paths.

Lessons from the session; as scientists in glaciology we must be flexible; be prepared to follow research around the world. Prove to yourself and to others that you are the right person for that job, or for that research grant. Be confident in your own abilities, and do not give up if you fail to get the job or funding. The same goes for getting your work published; you will receive criticism, but use it as a positive and not a negative… even the best academics get work rejected! Staying within your comfort zone or expanding your research areas, the choice is yours, as long as you can prove to future employers that it has benefitted you. Network; building good relationships within the glaciological community will improve the chances of getting employed. And finally, follow your ambitions.

Feedback from the session was extremely positive, from both the delegates and the panel. We wish to thank all of those who attended, those who posed questions and to Robert, Neil, Nick and Maarten for proving a wealth of information to budding cryospheric scientists.

Polar Sedimentary Processes and Archives Workshop

The UKPN and Loughborough University are pleased to announce the Polar Sedimentary Processes and Archives workshop as the latest in the 2010 series of UKPN career skills workshops.

Location: Loughborough University Dates: 18th and 19th of November 2010. Sedimentary archives are key indicators of past environmental change across a range of timescales.  Coupled with an understanding of contemporary sediment processes, they make it possible to reconstruct terrestrial, cryospheric, atmospheric, marine, and lacustrine conditions, which are vital for accurate modelling of future scenarios for climate change. The workshop aims to explore the following themes: • How is the polar sedimentary archive used to understand past environmental processes? • How can past polar sedimentary processes be interpreted in terms of environmental and climatic change? • What uncertainties are there in the sedimentary record (past and present), and what are the strengths and weaknesses of the differing sedimentary records available in polar regions? •       How can we use polar sediments from different sources to obtain a regional perspective on past and present environmental change that would benefit climate modelling? We intend to appeal to early career researchers (MSc, PhD and post-doctoral researchers) working in polar, sub polar or alpine regions with an emphasis on sediments. The intention is to cover a range of sub-disciplines within the earth sciences including, glacial and periglacial sedimentology, limnology and palaeolimnology, hydrology, aeolian, marine and atmospheric sciences. This is not an exhaustive list and we welcome all polar researchers. Proposed sessions include • Glacial and periglacial sediments • Lacustrine sediments • Aeolian and Atmospheric sediments • Marine sediments • Arctic hydrology • Modelling future change in the Polar regions Planned sessions also include advice about publishing and a panel session on field research skills by leading academics. The workshop will provide an opportunity for peer to peer networking, skills training, encouraging collaborations and increasing the technical and scientific knowledge of participants. All delegates will be encouraged to do an oral presentation or produce a poster about their research, and will be encouraged to help in the organisation of the workshop, such as chairing sessions. It is anticipated that a small fee (no more than £10) will be charged for all delegates attending the workshop. This is a postgraduate event and costs will be kept to a minimum. The UKPN has donated some funding towards the conference which will be used to support travel and accommodation expenses of delegates. We invite all delegates to claim some funding towards the conference costs. We ask interested participants to pre-register by the 31st of August 2010 by using the online questionnaire at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SBXD9MW.  If you have any questions please email  lboroworkshop@polarnetwork.org.

UKPN Member Svalbard Fieldwork Blog

Hi UKPN! My name is Allen Pope and for the next three weeks I will be up in Ny Ålesund, Svalbard for the next 3 weeks doing fieldwork. My research is related to collecting ground-based glacier-surface reflectance data to help in validation and interpretation of satellite and airborne imagery.

In addition to myself and two other team members, we will be joined by our mascot Fjord the Reindeer. As an outreach measure, Fjord will be keeping a blog of our activities, research, life in Ny Ålesund, and stories about Arctic research complete with photos, maps and hopefully video.

So, check it out at www.notrudolph.blogspot.com, and keep checking back as he’ll be putting up new content frequently. Please feel free to tell any friends you have interested in education & outreach, too – we would love to get questions from anybody interested in our work or Arctic fieldwork in general whether school kids or armchair explorers. If you’re interested in more expeditions and outreach, check outwww.educationthroughexpeditions.org.

Investigating Variability in Polar Climates: Past, Present and Future

As a great start to the Career Skills series this year, the University of Leeds hosted a multi-disciplinary workshop Investigating Variability in Polar Climates; Past, Present and Future.  The workshop took place on the 8th and 9th of April and saw over 30 PhD, Masters students and Post-Docs gather to discuss the latest topics surrounding variability in Polar environments.

The workshop was organised by PhD students at the University of Leeds; Aisling Dolan, Amber Leeson, Sarah Monks, Thomas Pleavin, Jo Browse and Abigail Clifton.

Two keynote talks were given by leading scientists from the British Antarctic Survey.  Dr. Anna Jones gave a presentation on ‘Air/snowinteractions and its influence on polar tropospheric chemistry’ and Dr. Adrian Jenkins gave a talk on oceanic forcing on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.  Other speakers included Prof. Jane Francis and Prof. Piers Forster (IPCC Author) looking at the past and future evolution of Polar Climates.  Technical sessions included An Introduction to Modelling Polar Climates, Polar Meteorology, Polar Atmospheric Composition and Cryosphere Remote Sensing.  A speed researcher networking session was given by Dr. Andrea Howarth (Skills Training, Leeds) and anintroduction to Science and the Media was given by Hannah Isom; a Senior Press Officer at Leeds.  Practical sessions on ice sheet modelling (Dr. Daniel Hill, BGS) and a Q&A panel on fieldwork also provided an interactive learning environment.

Many researchers gave a poster of their current or projected research and all posters were of a very high standard.  Three posters were chosen by a panel of senior academic judges as outstanding; Kathryn Nye (Durham, best overall poster), Carys Cook (Imperial College, highly commendable) and Daniel Grosvener (Manchester, highly commendable).  The poster session and conference dinner offered a valuable networking opportunity and allowed for many in depth discussions about current Polar research.

We feel that the workshop was a huge success and we hope that early career researchers found the event of value and that it may have sparked off future collaborations.  We would like to take the opportunity to thanks all of the participants and presenters who made this event as enjoyable as it was.

Particular recognition must also go to our sponsors – the Natural Environment Research Council, International Polar Year International Programme Office, the University of Leeds (Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science, Earth System Science Institute and the Sellwood Group for Palaeo-Climatology) and the Royal Meteorological Society - for making this event financially possible.

Aisling Dolan (UKPN Committee)