Home Month and Year October 2020 Stantec to Partner on Arctic Research Support Contract

Stantec to Partner on Arctic Research Support Contract


Global design firm Stantec will support Battelle on a 10-year, US$260-million Arctic Research Support and Logistics Services (ARSLS) contract from the US Government’s National Science Foundation (NSF). The team will provide infrastructure and logistics support to academic researchers conducting NSF-funded studies in Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, and other Arctic areas. Specifically, Stantec will provide engineering, design, and planning services in support of new facilities as well as maintenance of existing facilities to enable research within some of the most remote locations, harsh weather conditions, and difficult terrain on Earth.

The overall project scope will include the design of infrastructure and facilities in these remote locations. Plans include research facilities, laboratories, and operations centers that will facilitate efficient, effective, and safe research in the Arctic—a region critically important to the global research community. Stantec design features will enable sustainable and resilient facilities operation, including efficient startup and shutdown, reconfiguration and reuse over long lifespans, and remote monitoring/automation.

Stantec’s work will enable researchers to enhance ongoing studies in the Arctic, helping to advance understanding of the region’s rapidly changing natural environment and social and cultural systems. The Arctic region is among the world’s most sensitive to environmental change—with exceptionally long natural climate records and thousands of years of human settlement—and is a natural laboratory for studying natural, physical, and social sciences.

The ARSLS program focuses on supporting responsible and ethical research while encouraging and respecting all individuals, cultures, and the environment. The research program requires long-term, sustained relations with the local and Indigenous communities across the Arctic. The team will focus on coordination and collaboration with Indigenous cultures and include local community resources.

In Alaska, Stantec successfully works with Indigenous groups through formal business partnerships that are focused on Alaska Native employment efforts on major projects and built through connections to Indigenous Peoples in its technical work. The global firm is working toward earning the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. PAR provides a framework for organizations to develop an Indigenous Relations approach that is effective, sustainable, and successful.

“We’re thrilled to work with the Battelle team to support the National Science Foundation on this important and innovative program,” said Chris Brown, Stantec vice president and project manager based in Anchorage. “We have a long history of supporting Indigenous communities and extensive experience designing facilities across the Arctic. Our team understands the variables that must be considered to deliver critical infrastructure in the world’s most challenging locations, and we look forward to building on that history to help facilitate essential Arctic research.”

For more than 60 years, NSF has sponsored research in the Arctic to better understand the region’s influence on weather and climate and other disciplinary questions in the natural and social sciences, as well as how the Arctic functions as a system. Understanding the changes occurring in the Arctic, the downstream effects of those changes on the rest of the planet, and the planet’s influence on the Arctic all represent complex questions for researchers. Answering these questions requires measurements taken over many years across vast areas that are often difficult to access.