The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat has been offering teachers an opportunity to take part in research expeditions to the Polar Regions since the year 2000.
Teachers play an important role in interesting children and young people in the importance of the Polar Regions to the living environment we all share. Bringing research into the classroom in a vital way, often based directly on field work, is an exceptional means of stimulating student interest in the polar areas and in research.
The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat’s teacher scholarship is offered before major expeditions and, depending on space availability, smaller expeditions as well. The scholarship is open to senior level nine-year compulsory school and upper secondary college preparatory school teachers who are making significant efforts to promote the natural sciences in their schools, and who are interested and involved in research in the polar areas.
The teachers programme began in 2000, and consisted of a trip to the South Pole during the 2001/02 season plus participation in the AMANDA astrophysics project. To date, 15 Swedish teachers from compulsory schools and upper secondary schools have taken part in polar research expeditions. Teachers from Chile, Germany and the U.S. have also participated in Swedish expeditions and field work through cooperation with international organisations.
The teachers programme is conducted in close co-operation with international and counterpart organisations, such as the National Science Foundation, ARMADA, PolarTREC and ECORD. This provides foreign teachers an opportunity to take part in Swedish expeditions and activities.
The ways in which the teacher intends to apply this experience in their teaching activities and to pass information on to their colleagues and the general public constitute important selection criteria. In addition, teachers applying for the scholarship must be interested in polar research, and prepared to work under the extreme conditions which research in the Polar Regions entails. Special criteria may also be applied depending on the particular research project in which the teacher is to participate, such as experience working in a laboratory environment or in handling animals.
Teachers who have participated
Mats Pettersson, a teacher at Angered Upper Secondary School in Göteborg, worked at the South Pole along with an American teacher colleague during SWEDARP 2001/02.
During the 2003/04 Antarctic season, Paula Starbäck from Prins Wilhelm Upper Secondary School in Flen participated in a biological research programme at the Swedish research station, Wasa.
In the summer of 2004, Erik Zetterberg of the NT Upper Secondary School in Järfälla took part in the International Arctic expedition ACEX on board the icebreaker Oden. An American teacher colleague was also on board.
Three Swedish teachers took part in various phases of Beringia 2005, the biggest Swedish polar expedition ever. They were Greger Flyckt from Fröknegård School in Kristianstad, Gunnar Kihlberg from Haraldsbo Upper Secondary School in Falun, and Ruben Fritzon from Vibacke School in Alnö, who worked on board the American icebreaker USCGC Healy along with an American colleague.
On Odens pioneer cruise to the Antarctica, within SWEDARP 2006/07, teacher Ingela Hagström from Uddevalla gymnasieskola participated within the marine chemical research project. Two American and one Chilean teacher also worked along with the researchers on board.
In the summer of 2007, Carin Sjöö of Fyrisskolan in Uppsala worked along with Swedish and Danish scientists on board Oden during the expedition LOMROG in the Arctic Ocean.
In the summer of 2008, teacher Robert Johansson from Skuru skola in Nacka participated on board the German research icebreaker Polarstern. The main working sites were the Fram Strait which is located between Svalbard and Greenland and the Northeast Water Polynya at the north eastern tip of Greenland.
Niklas Wästeby, teacher at Thorildsplans gymnasium in Stockholm, participated in the research programme Arctic Sweden between 29 July and 15 August. Niklas worked with archaeological excavations and data-gathering for studies of plant and animal life at Luspasjaure, Vindelfjällen.
During SWEDARP 2008/09 Oden Southern Ocean Marja Andersson, pedagogue and manager at Science and Technology for all, participated on board Oden.
Matti Karlström, a teacher at Björkhagens skola in Johanneshov, worked along with marine geologists from Stockholm University during LOMROG II.
When Oden left the Antarctic station McMurdo, within the Swedish-American Oden Southern Ocean cooperative arrangement, teacher Thomas Aidehag was on board. Thomas is a teacher at Danderyds gymnasium and took part in a particle physics project during the expedition in the Southern Ocean.
Caroline Gennser, S:ta Ragnhildgymnasiet in Södertälje, participated in the Oden Southern Ocean 2010/11 expedition and worked together with researchers on epidemic diseases in Antarctic seals.
Anna-Carin Bäckebo, high school teachers in mathematics, chemistry and physics at Maserskolan in Borlänge,participated in the expedition SWERUS-C3 and worked with scientists in a marine chemistry research project.
During the research expedition Petermann 2015, teacher Christina Fröjd from Bruksgymnasiet in Gimo worked on board icebreaker Oden. She participated in both an oceanographic research project on board Oden and a land based research project called Arctic islands.