The Fulbright Arctic Initiative brings together established researchers, early-career specialists, and indigenous knowledge experts from the 8 Arctic Council member states to form a network of scholars to conduct research.

The third cohort of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative will stimulate international research collaboration on Arctic issues while increasing mutual understanding between people of the United States and member countries of the Arctic Council. Using a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach, Fulbright Arctic Initiative III will address public-policy research questions relevant to Arctic nations’ shared challenges and opportunities.

Co-Lead Scholars will provide intellectual leadership and support throughout the Program, in addition to mentoring program participants, connecting program scholars to other international experts, and facilitating discussion and collaboration among the Scholars.


The Arctic region benefits from innovative models of international cooperation, particularly in the areas of search and rescue, management of the Arctic marine environment, emergency preparedness for global pandemics,  and collaborative governance through oversight bodies such as the Arctic Council. Individual Arctic states have also created innovative models of co-management and self-government with Indigenous peoples. As the Arctic region becomes more accessible, the need for greater attention to Arctic security in all its dimensions—human security, environmental security, energy security, and traditional security—will continue to grow in importance.

More research is needed to understand the environmental changes taking place in the Arctic and the impacts they are having on the human and built environment. The prosperity, security, and health of the region depend on sound infrastructure for housing, transportation, communications, energy, and emergency response systems.  Changes to land, human and marine environments are placing stress on both coastal and inland communities in the Arctic. At the same time, these very same changes are generating interest in the Arctic for energy and mineral resources, increasing tourism, and opening up new fisheries and transportation routes. The global energy transition is placing greater pressures in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions as sources for renewable energy from wind and hydro, as well as mineral resources. Together, these trends provide new opportunities for sustainable development that have the potential to improve life for Arctic communities.

The health of children, youth, adults, and the elderly is vital to the security of Arctic communities and the region’s future. While Arctic communities are constantly innovating to address their own needs, environmental fluctuations, underdeveloped infrastructures, food insecurities, economic development, infectious diseases, health disparities, and entrenched institutional systems have created challenges for human health and the diverse ecologies of Arctic peoples. Most recently global pandemics pose an extreme risk to isolated Arctic communities due to under-resourced health care services, transportation challenges and limited housing options. Citizens of the Arctic are looking to engage in research that addresses their concerns and will find ways to improve and sustain human health in the Arctic.

Grant details

Selected scholars will participate in an individual Fulbright exchange of a minimum of six weeks up to three months, as well as in-person seminars and ongoing virtual communication, all supporting the scholars’ collaborative research projects. Awards will begin in spring 2021 and run for 18 months, through fall 2022.

Scholars will be selected on the basis of an individual research project under one of the above mentioned themes linked to an exchange visit and potential to collaborate in group research work in one of three thematic areas described below.

Scholars will be expected to produce:
  • A policy brief based on their group work
  • One research product of the group’s choosing
  • A one-page description of their individual research project objectives, outcomes and exchange experience

Scholars will receive funding in the amount of USD 40,000. This allowance is intended to support travel to all program meetings, travel and maintenance for the individual exchange visit, research materials and assistance for grantees only.

Accommodations and meals for all group meetings will be covered separately.
Grants will also include limited accident and sickness benefits.


February 2020 | Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholar Competition Opens
September 15, 2020 | U.S. Scholar Application Deadline
November 2020 | Finalists notified of selection decisions
March 2021 | Opening Group Meeting (Canada)
Winter 2021 | Mid-year Group Meeting (Norway, TBC)
Fall 2022 | Final Group Meeting (Washington, DC)


Academic researchers in the natural and social sciences, Indigenous and local knowledge holders, professionals in the fine arts and liberal arts as well as practitioners working in various fields are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must:
  • Demonstrate outstanding qualifications and a record of experience and accomplishment in an area clearly related to one of the designated research themes
  • Be actively engaged in an area of inquiry relevant to the program’s themes and objectives
  • Be open to exploring and incorporating comparative, interdisciplinary approaches in their investigations
  • Be interested in developing collaborative activities with other Fulbright Arctic Scholars
  • Be from and reside in Denmark, Greenland or the Faroe Islands
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English

Meet the Co-Lead Scholars

Dr. Elizabeth Lynne Rink

Professor of Community Health in the Department of Health and Human Development at Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, USA

Dr. Greg Poelzer

Professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability (SENS) at the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Visa - Fulbright grantees

All scholarship recipients will receive a J-1 Exchange Visitor Visa. The scholarships consist of funds from the American government and all Fulbright scholarship recipients will therefore have to comply with a “Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement” when their time in the U.S. is over.

It is thus NOT possible to obtain certain types of visas for work and immigration before the two-year period is over. However, one can easily travel back to the U.S. on conference and tourist trips. Similarly, one can apply for a visa for employment with the international intergovernmental organizations (UN, World Bank etc.) located in the United States.

Read more about visas for the US and “Two-Year Home-Country Physical Presence Requirement” here.


In order to receive a Fulbright Scholarship, scholarship recipients are required to have adequate insurance coverage. A Fulbright scholarship recipient will automatically receive a so-called Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE) coverage. This coverage is minimal, therefore the scholarship recipient need to secure a Danish insurance that can cover, e.g. liability insurance and repatriation; it is also acceptable to take out an American insurance if the coverage is equal to a Danish insurance.