Archived - Success Story: Creating Mobile Arctic Laboratories

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Project Location: Cambridge Bay, Nunavut
Program: Strategic Investments in Northern Economic Development
Sector: Innovation and Clean Technology

The Arctic Research Foundation, a private not-for-profit organization, accessed $1.75 million in CanNor funding to develop six mobile laboratories using refurbished sea containers in Cambridge Bay and Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. These mobile labs allow scientists to conduct research directly in the Arctic in areas such as geoscience, archeology, fisheries, and marine science. In addition to being able to easily move the labs from location to location, the labs are equipped with solar and wind energy generation capabilities which makes them totally self-sufficient in the remote Arctic environment.

The Arctic Research Foundation's mobile labs are supporting research and economic development in the North, including playing a significant role in the 2014 discovery of the HMS Erebus. These innovative labs are providing local communities with an opportunity to share Inuit knowledge with scientists while they conduct their research. The flexibility offered by the self-sufficient and mobile labs allows research to be done on-site and reduces the amount of time between the collection of samples and their analysis. The Arctic Research Foundation is also training Inuit from the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut in research techniques in the fisheries, mining, and tourism sectors.

The research taking place in these Arctic labs is also having economic benefits: from identifying new deposits of soapstone for local carvers, to increasing the understanding of the marine ecosystem, to supporting the sustainable development of the local fishing industry. These mobile laboratories are already being used as an example, with Environment Canada looking to develop similar infrastructure for weather forecasting in the North.

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