Fulbright Arctic Initiative

Fulbright Arctic Initiative 2021-2022 (Video)

The Fulbright Arctic Initiative brings together a network of scholars, professionals and applied researchers from the United States, Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden for a series of three seminar meetings and a Fulbright exchange experience to address key research and policy questions related to creating a secure and sustainable Arctic.

The scholars stimulate international research collaboration on Arctic issues while increasing mutual understanding between people of the United States and member countries of the Arctic Council. Using a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach, the Fulbright Arctic Initiative addresses public-policy research questions relevant to Arctic nations’ shared challenges and opportunities.  

Outstanding scholars and practitioners from the U.S. and the other 7 Arctic Council member states participate in the program as Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholars. Co-Lead Scholars provide intellectual leadership and support throughout the Program, in addition to mentoring program participants, connecting program scholars to other international experts, and facilitating discussion and collaboration among the Scholars.

Meet the 2021-2022 Arctic Initiative Scholars.

Program Details

Fulbright Arctic Scholars participate in an individual exchange of a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of three months, as well as in-person seminars and ongoing virtual communication, all supporting the scholars’ required collaborative research projects. Scholars are expected to produce: 1) a policy brief based on their group work; 2) one research product of the group’s choosing; and 3) a one-page description of their individual research project objectives, outcomes, and exchange experience.

  • Fulbright Arctic Initiative III provides a platform for scholars from across the Arctic region to engage in collaborative thinking, analysis, problem-solving and multi-disciplinary research in three main thematic areas:
    • Arctic Security and Cooperation: The Arctic region benefits from innovative models of international cooperation, particularly in the areas of search and rescue, management of the Arctic marine environment, emergency preparedness for global pandemics and collaborative governance through oversight bodies such as the Arctic Council.  Individual Arctic states have also created innovative models of co-management and self-government with Indigenous peoples. As the Arctic region becomes more accessible, the need for greater attention to Arctic security in all its dimensions—human security, environmental security, energy security, and traditional security—will continue to grow in importance.
    • Arctic Infrastructure in a Changing Environment: More research is needed to understand the environmental changes taking place in the Arctic and the impacts they are having on the built environment. The prosperity and security, and health of the region depend on sound infrastructure for housing, transportation, communications and energy, and emergency response system.  Changes to land, human and marine environments are placing stress on both coastal and inland communities in the Arctic. At the same time, these very same changes are generating interest in the Arctic for energy and mineral resources, increasing tourism, and opening up new fisheries and transportation routes. The global energy transition is placing greater pressures in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions as sources for renewable energy from wind and hydro, as well as mineral resources. Together, these trends provide new opportunities for sustainable development that have the potential to improve life for Arctic communities.
    • Community Dimensions of Health: The health of children, youth, adults, and the elderly is vital to the security of Arctic communities and the region’s future. While Arctic communities are constantly innovating to address their own needs, environmental fluctuations, underdeveloped infrastructures, food insecurities, economic development, infectious diseases, health disparities, and entrenched institutional systems have created challenges for human health and the diverse ecologies of Arctic peoples. Most recently, global pandemics pose an extreme risk to isolated Arctic communities due to under-resourced health care services, transportation challenges and limited housing options. Citizens of the Arctic are looking to engage in research that addresses their concerns and will find ways to improve and sustain human health in the Arctic.
  • The Fulbright Arctic Initiative supports research that will inform policy and provide knowledge supporting a more sustainable Arctic future.
  • During the program period, Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholars participate in an individual research exchange visit lasting a minimum of six weeks up to a maximum of three months.  Non-U.S. scholar exchange visits are hosted at institutions within the United States and U.S. Scholars conduct exchange visits at institutions within Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, or Sweden.
  • At the end of the program, Arctic Initiative Scholars convene for the third and final meeting to share the results of their collaborative work and report on the accomplishment of program objectives and the national and regional implications of their findings. Scholars disseminate policy-relevant recommendations, describe the concrete steps they have taken in implementing their projects and models at the local, national and/or regional level, and share the progress they have made and challenges they have faced in moving their recommendations from theory to practice.



Grant Duration

Program activities for the third cohort of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative took place over two years beginning in Spring 2021. 


Email: arctic@iie.org

The Fulbright Arctic Initiative is a program of the US Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA).

February 2020 |

Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar Competition Opens

September 15, 2020 |

U.S. Scholar Application Deadline

December 2020 |

Finalists notified of selection decisions

March 2021 |

Opening Kickoff Meeting (Virtual)

June 2022 |

Initial Group Meeting (Iceland)

September 2022 |

Mid-Year Group Meeting (Canada)

April 2023 |

Final Group Meeting (Washington, DC)

Successful candidates will include scholars at all career stages, to include applied researchers, professionals, and Indigenous and traditional knowledge experts active in the academic, public or private sectors that demonstrate outstanding qualifications and a record of experience and accomplishment in an area clearly related to one of the designated research themes. Applicants must be actively engaged in an area of inquiry relevant to the program's themes and objectives, be open to exploring and incorporating comparative, interdisciplinary approaches in their investigations, and interested in developing collaborative activities with other Fulbright Arctic Scholars.

Eligibility requirements apply at the time of application. Applicants must meet all of the following requirements, unless specific exemptions apply. The complete Fulbright policies are available here (Chapters 600 and 700)

  • Applicants must be from one of the member states of the Arctic Council: Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.

  • Non-U.S. applicants must be citizens of the country from which they are applying and residing in the country at the time of application. Non-U.S. applicants who have dual-U.S. citizenship or who hold permanent residency "green cards", whether or not they reside in the U.S., are not eligible. Since specific residency requirements vary from country to country, applicants should contact their local Fulbright office directly to determine their eligibility.

  • U.S. applicants must have U.S. citizenship and be residing permanently in the United States.

  • A Ph.D. or equivalent professional/terminal degree is preferred. For professionals and practitioners outside academe, recognized professional standing and substantial professional accomplishments are required.

  • Preference will be given to early or mid-career academics, applied researchers and/or professionals with research experience in the public, non-profit, or private sectors.

  • Preference for Fulbright Scholar opportunities will be given to candidates who have not previously received a Fulbright Scholar grant.  Recipients of a Fulbright Scholar grant are eligible to apply for another Fulbright Scholar grant two years after the date of completion of the previous grant. (For serial grants, the two-year period begins at the end of the final grant in the series.) Applicants may apply for only one Fulbright Scholar regional program or country per academic year.

  • Applicants should have particular expertise and relevant experience in one of the identified research areas and be willing to develop new collaborative research with other members of their thematic group.

  • Non-U.S. Scholars must demonstrate proficiency in English.

  • Non-U.S. applications must be submitted through the Fulbright Commission in the applicant’s home country. Candidates in Russia should apply through the IIE Fulbright Office in Russia.

  • U.S. applications must be submitted through the Institute of International Education’s Council for International Exchange of Scholars (IIE/CIES).

    Please note: Candidates who have served in the Armed Forces of the United States will be given preference, provided their qualifications are approximately equivalent to those of other candidates.