IASC 25 years - Page 40

2.2 Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO) Anders Karlqvist and Magnus Tannerfeldt F A R O Reviewer: Morten Rasch - Respond to requests from the science community - Share information and experiences with Ant arctic colleagues - Advise policymakers The first years of FARO were very much a learning-by-doing experience. It took time to define its role and to form a constituency. A major step The Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO) forward was taken when a secretariat was es- was established in 1998 as an off-spring of IASC. It tablished, hosted by the Danish Polar Center and had as its source of inspiration the development of supported financially primarily by the US National a similar logistics coordination initiative in Antarcti- Science Foundation (NSF). Odd Rogne served as ca. IASC has, in many ways, served a similar role for Executive Secretary at the initiation of FARO. When Arctic science as SCAR for Antarctic science. The he retired in August 2005, secretariat assistance two organizations are scientific in the spirit of ICSU, was transferred to Denmark with Morten Rasch as and are closely related in terms of scientific inter- Executive Secretary. In 2009, the FARO secretariat ests and scientific community. COMNAP, which was became fully staffed. The secretariat is now host- created out of the logistic and operational dimen- ed by Aarhus University and run by Morten Rasch sions of Antarctic science, was an idea that clear- (Executive Secretary) and Lillian Magelund Jensen ly could be relevant also in the Arctic. Hence there (Academic Secretary). was a proposal to create a forum that: “…aims to encourage, facilitate, and optimize logistics and op- FARO meets once a year in conjunction with the erational support for scientific research in the Arc- IASC Plenary and the ASSW. Meeting agendas have tic, through international collaboration for all those typically emphasized information exchange and involved in arctic research.” ways of strengthening collaboration between operators based on the mandate. A key asset for arc- The challenge in the initial phase was the complex- tic research is access to ships capable of operating ity of the arctic scene, which is quite different from in ice-covered waters. FARO has made continuous Antarctica where virtually all science is supported efforts to keep members updated on the availabil- and guided by national organizations—typically ity of Arctic research vessels, their capabilities and governmental institutes. This is not the case in the planned cruise tracks. Web-based systems such as Arctic, where an abundance of local, regional and Arctic Logistics Information and Support (ALIAS) national organizations conduct research and mon- have been explored. Another resource for scientific itoring programs. Nevertheless, in order to have an research and cooperation is observatories and sta- effective international forum it was necessary to tions. An early example of a successful effort in this identify national representatives who could serve spirit was the initiation (in 2000) of the Circumarc- as links to the prime operators and the science com- tic Environmental Observatories Network (CEON), munity in the relevant countries. The choice of the which became a joint FARO/IASC project. FARO also term ‘forum’ made it possible to accommodate dif- fostered the initiation of SCANNET (a network of ferent solutions, depending on the various national field site leaders, research station managers and organizations providing research logistics. user groups in northern Scandinavia and Europe) and later endorsed the establishment of the Inter- The tasks of FARO can be summarized in five bullet points: toring in the Arctic (INTERACT), an organization that - Exchange information between operators now oversees cooperation between approximately - Coordinate logistics 39 00 national Network for Terrestrial Research and Moni- 60 research stations in the Arctic and in Northern 02 IASC Initiatives