Human Dimensions of the Arctic System (HARC) | Overview

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Funded expired for the HARC Core Office in 2010.

HARC was created in 1997 as a component of the Arctic System Science Program (ARCSS) of the National Science Foundation. Within ARCSS, the aim of HARC is to better understand the role of humans in the functioning of and interactions among the various physical, biological, and social components of the arctic system and the significance of changes in the arctic system for people in the Arctic and across the globe.

HARC also provides a way to examine the policy implications of ARCSS research through stakeholder collaborations that examine decision-making in light of environmental change. HARC seeks to identify the needs of decision makers and to improve the ability of ARCSS researchers to communicate their findings effectively. The HARC program is now well positioned for a renewed emphasis on societal relevance within the ARCSS program. In 2003, HARC began to connect with the broader North American and global human dimensions community and can therefore bring the results of ARCSS research into this wider forum. In this context a series of central goals have been identified:

Capacity Building

  • Expand the network of human dimensions researchers (arctic and global) interested in addressing ARCSS goals through planned meetings and workshops, and collaborative proposals.


  • Synthesis of HARC scientific knowledge and integration into larger ARCSS syntheses efforts.

Improved Communications

  • To the arctic research community, to the global human dimensions research community, to the public more broadly - and most especially to arctic residents.
  • Use of a range of communication venues including print, web, scientific and public talks, and when appropriate print and broadcast media.

Active Involvement in ARCSS Program Planning

  • Fostering discussion on interdisciplinary methods, theory, and philosophy to refine the ARCSS human dimensions paradigm.
  • Providing human dimensions science guidance tailored to the ARCSS program.