MSCA-IF Postdoc: Norwegian Arctic Science Diplomacy for Security and Political Risk Management – The Case of Russia or China

University of Tromsø

UiT The Arctic University of Norway has established "The Arctic MSCA-IF program" to select excellent researchers planning to submit applications for a Marie Skƚodowska Curie individual fellowship (MSCA-IF) in order to pursue a research career (

The topic of this MSCA-IF is Norwegian Arctic science diplomacy towards one of two great powers presenting security and political risk, Russia or China. There are excellent UiT research environments for both cases. The choice of case will depend on especially the language abilities of the researcher. The selected candidate will write a proposal for a 24-month MSCA-IF at UiT together with Prof. Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen. See

This call is one of 31 from pre-selected supervisors at UiT The Arctic University of Norway through the “Arctic MSCA-IF program” ( Successful postdoc candidates will be invited to Tromsø (travel and accommodation expenses covered) for a two-day MSCA-IF symposium on May 30-31, 2018. At this event, the candidates will present their past research achievements, discuss future plans with their potential supervisor, and learn how to write a successful MSCA-IF application. Together with the supervisor, the selected candidates will start developing their MSCA-IF application towards the MSCA-IF deadline of September 12th 2018.

This project looks at Norwegian Arctic science diplomacy towards two great powers presenting security and political risk, Russia or China. Norway has a long history of Arctic science diplomacy towards USSR/Russia. Norway is adapting to power transition with the rise of China, which poses political risk (e.g. Nobel crisis), where Arctic science diplomacy is a privileged connection. The project will focus on the third dimension of science diplomacy, “science for diplomacy”, where scientific collaboration facilitates building trust (Montville 1981) and epistemic communities (Haas 1992) under strained political relations (Royal Society 2010; National Research Council 2012).

The research question of this project is, depending on the case:

Does Norwegian-Russian science diplomacy in the Arctic contribute to insulate the Norwegian-Russian Arctic relations from conflicts emanating from the Ukraine crisis and power shifts between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War?

What role does Arctic science diplomacy play in Norwegian foreign relations adapting to power transition with China as a rising power with a one-party political system?

The hypothesis of the project is that Norwegian-Russian/Chinese Arctic science diplomacy – public, private, and civil society research collaboration – has significant influence in building Norwegian-Russian/Chinese mutual trust (Montville 1981) and epistemic communities (Haas 1992) with shared understanding of Arctic problems and solutions. Mutual trust and epistemic communities allow Norwegian and Russian/Chinese participants to distinguish between Arctic collaboration and outside conflict (Ukraine) or unrelated political conflict (Nobel) and to minimize Norwegian-Russian “challenges and unsolved issues between Russia and neighboring countries related to Russian Arctic policy and its implementation” (NORRUSS call 2015).

Arctic International Relations scholarship in Norway and internationally lack understanding of the foreign and security policy effects of Arctic science diplomacy. Norway has invested heavily in scientific, environmental, educational, cultural, and people-to-people relations in the Barents Region with Russia. Arctic research has been and continues to be an important connection between Norway and China. These investments suggest a policy-belief in such collaboration for Norwegian foreign and security policy goals.

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* Salary has been converted at the prevailing rate on the date placed