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Advancing polar geopolitics

Advancing polar geopolitics

The Polar Regions are being transformed by sea ice melting and strategic competition involving China, Russia and the United States. Research has been used to improve policy, understanding and education in polar geopolitics.

Informing UK and international policy

Research by Professor Dodds, an acknowledged and in-demand expert in the field of polar geopolitics, has been used by Parliament, specialist bodies such as NATO, and the UK government to improve policy on the Polar Regions by providing advice on futures and scenarios.  Dodds was appointed as Honorary Fellow by British Antarctic Survey in 2019 and serves as UK representative for the International Arctic Science Committee’s Social and Human Working Group. He also served as specialist adviser to the House of Commons (HoC) Environment Audit Committee’s Arctic inquiry. A report led by Dodds informed a Chief of Defence Staff’s Strategy Forum on the Arctic in 2018 and developed a clear set of conclusions about the technological, environmental, resource-led and geopolitical challenges facing the Arctic.

Changing public discourse on the Arctic and Antarctic

Historically, public discourse on the Polar Regions have favoured exploration, heritage and science. The research has informed an explicitly geopolitical hue – showing that scrambles for knowledge, influence and strategic advantage matter. Dodds has publicized and promoted discourse on polar geopolitics, including participating in British Library events on the Antarctic and Arctic and acting as expert adviser to the British Library’s Lines in the Ice exhibition, and the Polar Worlds gallery of the National Maritime Museum. Dodds also advised and commented on the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology’s parliamentary briefing on Science Diplomacy.

Regular media writing and public broadcasting has enabled research on polar geopolitics to be publicized to wider audiences.  In addition to publishing his book, “Antarctica: A Very Short Introduction” , Dodds has appeared on BBC World Service’s ‘The Forum on North Pole’ and has been quoted in Financial Times and The Atlantic magazine. In the last 7 years, Dodds has delivered public lectures and chaired discussions at RGS, British Institution, British Library, National Maritime Museum, POST, RUSI and House of Commons Antarctic Parliamentarians Conference.

Widening understanding of the Polar Regions through education

On the basis of his research in polar geopolitics and the governance of the global commons, Dodds was appointed to the A Level Advisory Content Board (ALCAB). His specific contributions to A Level Geography curricula change included developing new teaching materials for the global commons.  This material has been included in the A Level Geography from 2016-17 and has been included in briefing notes by the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and AQA. In 2019, he was appointed trustee of the RGS.

Professor Dodds wrote a a monthly geopolitics column for the Geographical Magazine (2006-2020) as well as receiving requests to write for teaching journals, Geography Review and Geography.

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