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The role of young Portuguese researchers in polar regions.
Portugal has a rich history of science, discovery and exploration. Historically, it has been involved at the start of the Polar exploration, in the XVI century. For the last 30 years, Portuguese scientists have carried out research in the Antarctic, in collaborative programmes with 7 member nations of the Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR), including United Kingdom, Spain, United States of America, Italy, Bulgaria and France. Portuguese polar scientists consider the International Polar Year 2007-08 (IPY) as a window of opportunity for the development of the roots of a Portuguese national programme for the Polar Regions.
During the IPY, Portugal made a relevant contribution to biological and Earth sciences in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, including science from young researchers. Portugal´s Polar science studied complex systems and processes that transcend the boundaries of traditional disciplines and involve collaboration between many countries. Moreover, Portugal had a strong educational programme, named LATITUDE60!, sponsored by the national Agency “Ciência Viva” (please see http://www.portalpolar.com in Portuguese). This programme provided an unique chance to teachers, students and the general public to have access to useful, relevant and valuable information about the polar regions, provided in first hand by Portuguese polar scientists. More than 40 educational activities have been planned, with more than 50 schools, kindergardens, Universities and educational institutions already involved in continental Portugal and Azores and Madeira archipelagos.
All these activities, both scientific and educational, promoted by young researchers enabled a new planning framework that facilitated education and multi-disciplinary research, permitting the elaboration of new partnerships to yield greater levels of excellence and knowledge, and establish the foundations for Portugal Polar scientific research.
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APECS is an international and interdisciplinary organization for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, early faculty members, educators and others with interests in Polar Regions and the wider cryosphere. APECS aims are to stimulate interdisciplinary and international research collaborations, and develop effective future leaders in polar research, education and outreach. We seek to achieve these aims by:
• Facilitating international and interdisciplinary networking to share ideas and experiences and to develop new research directions and collaborations;
• Providing opportunities for professional career development; and
• Promoting education and outreach as an integral component of polar research and to stimulate future generations of polar researchers
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Portuguese strategy within the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS)
The objectives of the APECS-Portugal is to:
1) Provide essential information to Portuguese early career scientists to help their careers (e.g. info. on opportunities of jobs, scholarships, contacts of mentors, contacts of colleagues form other countries);
2) Represent Portuguese early career scientists in APECS;
3) Be actively engaged in the participation, organization and planning of scientific and educational activities within APECS, nationally and internationally;
4) Promote, consolidate and strengthen network and collaborative work with other young polar researchers in relation to both science and education.