Background picture: Alfred-Wegener-Institut/Steuer
Young researchers for the polar regions
In the mid‑2000s, young researchers were brought together by their shared interest in research in the polar regions and alpine areas. In 2008 they founded the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), an international, interdisciplinary organisation open to undergraduate and graduate students, post‑doctoral researchers and early career professionals. Its goals include strengthening innovative, international and interdisciplinary collaboration between young people and promoting the next generation of polar researchers.
Multifaceted engagement for the polar regions
APECS offers project groups in which the young people can engage on a wide range of issues. For example, they contribute to current research by regularly collaborating to review IPCC reports. They also plan numerous workshops that take place at various conferences. In addition, they capture public attention through their own projects, such as a podcast, the twice‑yearly Polar Week, and activities to mark Antarctica Day on 1 December each year. The APECS members are also active in international bodies, for instance the independent Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), so can play a larger role in shaping the international research scene today than they could before the founding of APECS.
Networking and education
Today many countries have APECS National Committees. The German National Committee was established in July 2016 and has around 350 members. APECS Germany organises events on career development and engages in educational and PR work to inspire young people and get them excited about the polar regions. These activities are organised by an open Board, currently with 18 members.
The aims of APECS Germany are
- to provide networking between and support for early career polar researchers
- to educate young people and the public about polar issues through information
- to spread information via newsletters, social media and the APECS Germany website
Over the past few years, APECS Germany has carried out many projects and has thus become an integral part of German polar research. Through its online and offline events, creative competitions and contests, APECS Germany reaches not only researchers and students, but also children, young people and the general public. In established cooperation with the German Society of Polar Research, APECS Germany provides the Junior Chief Editor of the redesigned journal “Polarforschung”.