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ASI Research Cluster Arctic Change

In this cluster we aim to connect researchers from all disciplines at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and beyond, that study the Arctic and its changes. The VU hosts world-leading Arctic experts that work at different faculties, studying a diversity of topics ranging from environmental protection, indigenous peoples’ rights, geopolitics, and international law and food security in the Arctic region to the dynamics and impacts of permafrost thaw and boreal fires, and changes in polar vegetation and ecosystems.

Unprecedented climatic changes are taking place in the north. The last seven years of average surface air temperature in the Arctic were collectively the warmest on record. This Arctic amplification is causing seasons to shift, extreme weather events to increase, and widespread physical disturbances to occur. It also profoundly impacts the people of the Arctic, by influencing their livelihoods, homes, and long-standing traditions. It is not only the direct impact of climate change, but also the accessibility of critical raw materials of the region, the growth of extractive industries and rivalry over these resources, and prospective land-use effects of militarization in the region that impact the economic, social, and political dynamics in these societies.  

We have a group of committed researchers that do research on the Arctic at the VU Amsterdam. Many of them regularly appear in the media, and are well-connected in the Dutch, European and International Arctic research communities. They participate in many interesting international networks and research projects.

As for activities within this research cluster we aim to hold a 6-weekly lunch seminar series at the VU, in which researchers from different disciplines share their work. We specifically encourage knowledge exchange and discussions between all career stages, from BSc and MSc students to Full Professors. We also aim to foster a diversity of discussed topics across not only social and nature sciences, but also within e.g., law and anthropology. Through these contacts and discussions, we are hoping for collaborations across research agendas, and across projects or perhaps even through joint applications.

We are passionate about what we do and look forward to sharing and spreading that energy!

A Better World @VU: Arctic Perma Frost

Watch Fleur van Crimpen, Dr Lina Madaj and, Arctic Change Cluster Coordinator Dr Jorien Vonk, together with Canadian partner Dustin Whalen, investigate what happens to permafrost material in eroding coastlines.

Our Coordinators

  • Dr. Jorien E. Vonk

    Associate Professor Arctic land-ocean dynamics | Department of Earth Sciences | Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Dr. Özlem Terzi

    Assistant Professor International Relations | Department of Political Science and Public Administration | Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

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Get in touch with the coordinators


Jorien Vonk