We are pleased to announce the awarding of a prestigious National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to Geosciences faculty member Hannes Gerhardt, an Assistant Professor of Geography. The roughly $82,000 awarded to the University of West Georgia will allow Dr. Gerhardt to conduct a collaborative research project with colleagues at Florida State University and Towson University aimed at exploring the political consequences of the rapidly warming Arctic.
Dr. Gerhardt’s role in this research will be to analyze the way the Arctic is perceived and presented by policymakers and the media in Norway and Denmark. More to the point, this Arctic specific discourse will be studied to understand how and to what extent these Nordic states are trying to incorporate hitherto unclaimed sea into their respective state territories. Collaborators Phil Steinberg (FSU) and Jeremy Tasch (Towson) will be engaged in similar analyses in the United States, Canada, and Russia. The aim of the Research is to uncover areas of contention and possible cooperation between the five major Arctic bordering nations.
In the next several months Dr. Gerhard will be collecting and coding data from various Danish and Norwegian news sites. In the summer of 2010 he will journey to Copenhagen, Oslo, and Tromsø to conduct interviews with key Arctic policy makers. This data will then be translated, processed, and cross referenced with similar data collected in the U.S., Canada, and Russia. To assist Dr. Gerhardt in this process the NSF grant will support two undergraduate assistants in the Geosciences Department, starting in Spring 2010. Academic articles, policy relevant reports, and conference presentations in the U.S. and Europe are the expected results of this grant. Across all three participating Universities the NSF grant is valued at over $376,000.