Ice rafts floating in a blue sea.

Fulbright Arctic Initiative

The Fulbright Arctic Initiative brings together professionals, practitioners, and researchers from the 8 Arctic Council member states for a series of three seminar meetings and a Fulbright exchange experience to address key research and policy questions related to creating a secure and sustainable Arctic. The third round of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative will focus on the following themes: Arctic Security and Cooperation, Arctic Infrastructure in a Changing Environment, and Community Dimensions of Health.
The U.S. program partner in the Fulbright Arctic Initiative, the U.S. Department of State, has decided to postpone the timeline for the Fulbright Arctic Initiative due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please see the updated timeline below. 

Purpose of the Grant Program

The Fulbright Arctic Initiative brings together a network of scholars, professionals (including artists) and applied researchers from the United States, Canada, Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia and Sweden for a series of three seminar meetings and a Fulbright exchange experience to address key research and policy questions related to creating a secure and sustainable Arctic. Using a collaborative model to translate theory into practice, program participants will spend 18‐months engaged in addressing public‐policy research questions relevant to Arctic nations’ shared challenges. Program participants will focus their research on one of the following Fulbright Arctic Initiative themes:

  • Arctic Security and Cooperation
  • Arctic Infrastructure in a Changing Environment
  • Community Dimensions of Health

Approximately 16 outstanding scholars and practitioners from the U.S. and abroad will be selected to participate in the program as Fulbright Arctic Initiative Scholars through an open, merit‐based competition. At least four of the scholars will be selected from the United States and at least one scholar will be selected from each of the other Arctic Council member states. 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. Program activities will take place over 18 months starting in the spring 2021.

Selected scholars will participate in an individual Fulbright exchange of a minimum of six weeks and a maximum of three months (Finnish scholars will travel to the United States, and U.S. scholars will be able to come to Finland), as well as in-person seminars and ongoing virtual communication, all supporting the scholars’ required collaborative research projects. Scholars will be selected on the basis of an individual research project linked to an exchange visit and potential to collaborate in group research work in one of three thematic areas described below.

Fulbright Arctic Initiative Themes 2021-2022

Arctic Security and Cooperation
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.

Arctic Infrastructure in a Changing Environment
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.

Community Dimensions of Health
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.


  • Scholars will receive funding in the amount of USD $40,000 (or an equivalent amount in local currency). 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.
Please see the detailed program description, further information on the themes, and program eligibility requirements on the Fulbright Scholar Program website.

How to Apply?

The Finnish applicants must complete and submit an online application. Please use the checklist to make sure you attach all the required documents to your applicant and also remember to upload the checklist itself to your online application (page “Additional Information”).

Please see the application instructions for Finnish applicants here.

Please note that the Finnish candidates do not need to take an English proficiency examination.

The following materials comprise a complete Arctic Initiative application:

  • Application form
  • Statement of purpose (three to five pages)
  • Bibliography (up to three pages)
  • Curriculum vitae (up to six pages)
  • Letters of recommendation (two)
  • Letter of invitation from a U.S. host institution (recommended but not required)
  • Copy of your passport
  • Possible copies of previous J-1/J-2 visas
  • Signed Checklist (sign and add to the application)

Budget will be asked from the candidates who are invited for an interview.

Only complete applications received by the application deadline will be reviewed.

Fulbright Arctic Initiative: An International Collaborative Model


Application deadline for Finnish applicants September 2, 2020, 8:00 a.m. (Finnish time)
Interview invitations will be sent out September 15, 2020
Interviews in Helsinki September 23, 2020
Selections published December 2020
Pre-Departure Orientation for selected grantees In spring 2021 (dates TBC)
First Group Meeting and Orientation (Canada) March 2021 (dates TBC)
Mid-Year Group Meeting (Norway, TBC) Winter 2021-2022 (dates TBC)
Final Group Meeting (Washington, DC) Fall 2022 (dates TBC)

U.S. applicants

U.S. applicants and applicants from all other eligible countries please consult the Fulbright Scholar Program webpage for further information.

Information on the previous rounds of the Fulbright Arctic Initiative (2015-2016 and 2018-2019):



What is the Fulbright Finland Foundation?

The Fulbright Finland Foundation is a private, independent, not-for-profit organization based in Helsinki, Finland. The Foundation’s aim is

  • to promote a wider exchange of knowledge and professional talents through educational contacts between Finland and the United States, and
  • to support the internationalization of education and research in Finland, and help U.S. and Finnish institutions create linkages.

What Makes the Fulbright Finland Foundation Programs Unique?

  • In addition to the grant, the Fulbright Finland Foundation offers the grantees several additional benefits and free support services, as well as an access to a global, multi-professional network.
  • We are looking for applicants who want to impact the future and to make a difference – applicants who want to facilitate positive change, develop and advance their own profession or discipline, and find solutions to national and international challenges in their field.
  • The grantees also act as ambassadors for the Fulbright Finland Foundation, their home country, and their home organization and, in this way, do their part in sharing their home country and culture and contributing to the relations between Finland and the U.S.
Global Fulbright Program logo

Fulbright Arctic Initiative is part of the global Fulbright program operating in over 160 countries worldwide.