Fulbright Arctic Initiative


Building on the strong existing network of Arctic Studies scholars and policy experts in the Fulbright Program, in 2014 the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs launched an interdisciplinary collaborative research initiative focused on the Arctic region. The Fulbright Arctic Initiative supports scholars and researchers from the Arctic Council member in collaborative research on the unique challenges of the Arctic region through multidisciplinary investigation, analysis and problem solving. The Scholars come from different countries and different fields but share a commitment to working together to understand and address Arctic issues. Research topics may include energy, water, education, health, the environment and infrastructure issues, among other subjects.

The Fulbright Arctic Initiative creates networks to stimulate international scientific collaboration on Arctic issues while increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Using a collaborative model to translate theory into practice, program participants address public-policy research questions relevant to Arctic nations’ shared challenges.


The first Fulbright Arctic Initiative supported 17 participants over an 18-month period in 2015-2016, coinciding with the United States' chairmanship of the Arctic Council. A second Initiative will continue to build networks to produce policy-relevant research starting in 2017. The participants will be selected through an open, merit-based competition. Eligible participants must be from the United States and the other Arctic Council member states - Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Russia.

Successful candidates will include scholars or practitioners 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 conducting current research 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 Initiative Scholars. Particular consideration will be given to candidates who demonstrate how their research project would involve governments, NGOs, businesses, and local communities. Full eligibility information and application materials are available on the website of our partner organization, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

Program Overview

Scholars will focus on collaborative work in multidisciplinary and multinational research teams, and will propose and carry out an individual Fulbright exchange element of up to two months. Selected scholars will also attend in-person seminars and participate in ongoing virtual communication, all supporting the scholars’ collaborative research projects.