The Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) was founded in 2006 as a branch of the 4th International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008. During the IPY conference From Knowledge to Action in Montréal in April APECS announced their new director Dr. Alexey Pavlov.
Safeguarding polar science
Dr. Jenny Baeseman is the founding Director of APECS. Baeseman wanted to encourage young scientists working with polar issues and help them bridge the gap between finishing their university degree and starting a research career.
Membership is free and today APECS has over 3200 members from more than 70 countries. APECS has also become active within the scientific community, with APECS members attending events and conferences worldwide as well as organizing ice-breaker side-events and workshops to connect young polar scientists with experienced mentors in the field.
"APECS has grown beyond my wildest expectations. Young members have increased, but the mentors are also really engaged. The senior scientists seem to have realized that they need us as well. Working with a young scientist from APECS can bring something fresh and exciting to their work." says Baeseman.
New APECS director
Baeseman was hired as director of The Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) project in May and in June Dr. Alexey Pavlov has taken over the role of APECS Director.
As the sole full-time employee of APECS, Pavlov will be in charge of guiding the development and administration of the organization. Pavlov comes to APECS fresh from his role as a Junior Scientist at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Platform for networking
The work of the director is overseen by the Executive Committee which is elected annually by the Council of APECS members. Yulia Zaika, APECS Executive Committee president for 2011-2012 thinks that APECS is an excellent platform for networking.
"APECS is not just important for career development but also for scientific development." says Zaika
This scientific development can be seen in APECS work with the Arctic Council working groups. APECS has teamed up with both the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna (CAFF) and the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) working groups.
Jennifer Provencher, member of the APECS Executive Committee, became involved with AMAP after meeting AMAP Chair Russel Shearer at a Northern Contaminants Program meeting.
"Mr. Shearer presented AMAP during the meeting and mentioned the need to involve early career scientists in AMAP's work." says Provencher.
Since then APECS has worked together with AMAP to host an Early Career Researchers (ECR) workshop in Copenhagen in May 2011. The workshop focused on how early career scientists can be involved and represented in AMAP and what kind of work early career scientists believe AMAP should engage in.
APECS has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CAFF in February 2011. This memorandum was intended to strengthen the cooperation between APECS and CAFF and ensure that APECS members are aware of CAFF activities and are represented at meetings so that they can bring fresh perspectives to CAFF initiatives.