Maribeth Murray re-appointed as Arctic Institute director

A message from Ed McCauley, vice-president (research)

Maribeth MurrayI am pleased to announce the re-appointment of Dr. Maribeth Murray, PhD, as the director of the Arctic Institute of North America (AINA). Murray was first appointed director of AINA in 2013, and is a professor in the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology. She was previously at the International Arctic Research Center and in the Northern Studies Program of the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Murray begins a new five-year term effective July 1, 2018.

Murray has worked in the Arctic and subarctic since 1992 and served on a number of polar advisory committees, including the Swedish Mistra Foundation’s Arctic Futures program, the EU Svalbard Integrated Earth Observing System, the U.S. Study of Environmental Change Observing Change Panel, and the Board of Directors for the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators.

Maribeth Murray begins a new five-year term
as director of the Arctic Institute of North America
effective July 1, 2018. Photo by Gemma Gerlach 

Murray has currently high-profile roles as member of the Board of Directors for POLAR Knowledge Canada, member of the Board of Directors for the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States, member of the Steering Committee for the development of a Baffin Bay Observing System, and member of the Scientific Steering Committee for co-ordinating Terrestrial Multidisciplinary Distributed Observatories for the Study of Arctic Connections (T-MOSAiC).

AINA’s mandate is to advance the study of the North American and circumpolar Arctic through the natural and social sciences, the arts and humanities and to acquire, preserve and disseminate information on physical, environmental and social conditions in the North. In her role as director, Murray has fulfilled this mandate by advancing environmental monitoring (cryosphere, particulate, and seismic), creating an Artist in Residence program, and developing a northern food systems research program, in addition to continuing to oversee fundamental research and education at the Kluane Lake Research Station in Yukon.

In Calgary, she has expanded AINA’s collections of northern art and literature, developed education and outreach programs by partnering with organizations such as Telus Spark, Beakerhead, and Earth Science for Society, and introduced Arctic in the Classroom to elementary schools in and around Calgary. She leads in-house research and synthesis efforts focused on Arctic environmental change in partnership with collaborators from across Canada, the USA, and the EU.

Murray also spearheaded and co-ordinates a national, distributed Arctic data network — The Canadian Consortium for Arctic Data Interoperability — which includes partners from six universities, several regional and national Inuit organizations, the federal government, and the non-profit sector. Murray is a founding member of the international committee that leads the Arctic Observing Summit, a biennial international summit that provides community-driven, science-based guidance for the design, implementation, co-ordination and sustained long-term (decades) operation of an internationally supported pan-Arctic Observing system.

AINA priorities align with UCalgary’s institutional priority research areas Human Dynamics in a Changing WorldNew Earth-Space Technologies, and Energy Innovations for Today and Tomorrow. AINA research is supported by NSERC, SSHRC, ArcticNet, the US National Science Foundation, and the Norwegian Research Council, among others. AINA’s collaborative activities across campus include partnerships for research and education with Anthropology, Geography, Geosciences, Biosciences, Veterinary Medicine, Continuing Education, UCalgary Cares, and the Native Centre.

Murray’s own research is focused on environmental change and human and marine system dynamics in the Arctic and sub-Arctic. Her work emphasizes the integration of anthropological, climatological, historical, oceanographical, and ecological datasets to better understand how the Arctic functions as a system with people integral to that system. Her current research activities include the analysis of historic climate and ecological data to develop baseline information on key aspects of the Arctic marine environment, and synthesis of data pertaining to the question of how changing sea ice conditions are influencing the Arctic ecosystems that support Inuit food security.

I would like to thank the members of the advisory selection committee for their work throughout the selection process: John Miller, chair of AINA’s board, Dr. Brian Moorman, PhD, and Dr. Susan Kutz, DVM, PhD. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Murray on her re-appointment. 

Dr. Ed McCauley
Vice-President (Research)