UA Arctic Leadership Initiative

In March 2023, with the support of a planning grant from the Rasmuson Foundation, President Pitney launched the UA Arctic Leadership Initiative. Guided by an external steering committee and working with university experts, the goal of the initiative is to create a program that will:

  • Position Alaskans as world leaders in Arctic issues,     
  • Amplify Alaska Native voices in national and international Arctic policy development,
  • Elevate Alaskans as the creators of our future in the global Arctic, and 
  • Establish University of Alaska’s universities as a center of Arctic expertise – among Alaskans and throughout the world.

This program will build on programs across the University of Alaska System to give students and early-career professionals the foundation they need to address the changing Arctic landscape and strengthen partnerships with governments, communities, and businesses to advance Arctic opportunities for Alaska.


Funding Opportunities

Arctic Engagement Awards - Purpose: Expand UA’s Arctic engagement and visibility. A wide array of possible activities is eligible including research, curriculum development, student engagement, participation in a thematic network, support an exchange student, and more.

  • Number of awards: 8 to 10 proposals will be funded.
  • Award amount: $5,000 to $20,000 for activities between May 2024 and June 2025.
  • Download application details (PDF)

President’s Arctic Professors - Purpose: Showcase and advance UA’s Arctic engagement in Alaska, nationally, and internationally.

  • Up to three President’s Arctic Professors will be recognized in this initial round.
  • Colleges/Institutes will receive $40,000 annually for two academic years for the Arctic Professor’s salary support
  • Download application details (PDF)

Postdoctoral Fellow and Early Career Faculty Opportunity - University of Alaska (UA) is recruiting 4 full-time postdocs and early career faculty to help shape and implement a new Arctic Leadership Initiative and expand our research and education capacity. 

  • Positions are term-funded and reviewed annually for contract renewal at the University’s discretion.
  • Applicants must hold a Ph.D. degree at the time of appointment and bring substantive experience in a field relevant to the Arctic.
  • Download application details (PDF)

Did you know that over the last 100 years the University of Alaska has built a tremendous foundation in Arctic research and education?

This "Empower Alaska" video features the University of Alaska's role in the global Arctic. The university has built a tremendous foundation in Arctic research and education. That foundation is our springboard for the next 100 years of Arctic leadership. The university's biggest strength is excellence in research, teaching, and the emerging focus on Arctic security.

This video explores UA’s expertise and role across the circumpolar North. It is and will continue to be critically important for the university to collaboratively build strategic and scientific knowledge and exert its role in the global Arctic.


Steering Committee Members 

  • Pearl Brower, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation (UIC)
  • Nancy Dahlstrom, Lt. Governor
  • Bryce Edgemon, Representative District 37
  • Jocelyn Fenton, Denali Commission
  • Matt Hickey, Ted Stevens Center for Arctic Security Studies
  • Rachel Kallander, Arctic Encounter Symposium
  • Molly McCammon, Alaska Ocean Observing System
  • Cheryl Rosa, US Arctic Research Commission 
  • Raina Thiele, Department of Interior 

Ex Officio

  • Daniel White, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Sean Parnell, University of Alaska Anchorage
  • Aparna Palmer, University of Alaska Southeast

For more information, contact program coordinator Susan Bell at