Archana Dayal

I am a 3rd year PhD scholar at the Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, funded by the Commonwealth Scholarship. My research area is the ecology and biogeochemistry of snow packs in the High Arctic (Svalbard). In 2016, I got the wonderful opportunity to spend a good part of the summer (4 months) in Longyearbyen (Svalbard) carrying out my field work as well as attended 2 amazing courses at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS).

            I was introduced to the field of polar research during my Master’s in Climate Science & Policy, at TERI University in New Delhi, India in 2012/13 during which I did a summer internship and worked on a thesis at the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) in Goa. I was then chosen as the only student researcher to travel with the 33rd Indian Scientific Expedition Team to Antarctica (December 2013 – April 2014) to conduct an independent research project on the biogeochemistry of blue ice and cryoconite holes (habitats where microbes thrive) in coastal East Antarctica. Needless to say, I have fallen in love with these awe-inspiring landscapes and excitedly look to the future for continued research and collaborations!

            I also like to share my enthusiasm and excitement of polar research through active participation in education and outreach activities. To elaborate, I currently hold the position of President of the UK Polar Network (UKPN) where I oversee functioning of various education and outreach projects that facilitate networking and promote the education of young people on polar research as well as create awareness among the public on polar science and societal impacts of climate change. My recent most contribution involved the organisation of 2 early career workshops held at Moscow and Cambridge, which facilitated collaboration between UK and Russia Arctic researchers. To strengthen the UK-Russia relationship and further scientific collaborations, I, on behalf of UKPN, recently signed a statement of collaboration at the APECS World Summit and Polar2018 conference in Davos, which will enable us to organise an interdisciplinary field course workshop in the Russian Arctic in February - March 2019. This has been made possible through a joint UKPN-APECS Russia funding win to the Foreign Commonwealth Office (press release). I also engage with Arctic/Antarctic focussed national bodies by representing UKPN on committees such as the UK National Committee for Antarctic Research (UKNCAR) and UK Arctic Antarctic Partnership Committee (UKAAP).

            I am very happy and grateful for the opportunity to be an Ice Alive affiliate and look forward to actively participating in its future activities!

Snow coring in April on Foxfonna ice cap, Svalbard.JPG