Science and geopolitics in Svalbard: the Ny-Ålesund Research Station


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Hosting scientific facilities representing 12 countries, the Ny-Ålesund Research Station in Svalbard is perhaps the most international location in the Arctic. The former coalmining community, which Norway has over the past 30 years transformed into a leading center of Arctic research, also serves a geopolitical function for many of the states represented there. Associate Prof. Maarten Loonen from the Arctic Center at the University of Gröningen has since the late-1980s been a first-hand witness and participant in Ny-Ålesund’s transformation. Currently the chairman of the Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Committee, Dr. Loonen joins the podcast to discuss the international dynamics and underlying geopolitics of Ny-Ålesund, and recent changes that portend potentially significant changes in the community’s future development. Articles mentioned on the podcast: T Pedersen (2021): The politics of research presence in Svalbard and E Paglia (2020): A higher level of civilisation? The transformation of Ny-Ålesund from Arctic coalmining settlement in Svalbard to global environmental knowledge center at 79° North