- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Students Offer Solutions at Arctic Innovation Lab

Fall/Winter 2019-2020

The Arctic Innovation Lab, organized by the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative, brings international student leaders together to present innovative solutions to complex challenges facing this vulnerable region. With topics such as food security, geopolitics, and waste management, 13 students pitched their ideas at the October 2019 Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavík, Iceland, the largest annual global gathering on Arctic issues.

The students from six universities—University of Iceland, Reykjavík University, UiT-The Arctic University of Norway, Aalborg University in Denmark, the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and Harvard—each had two-and-a-half minutes to convince a diverse audience and a panel of judges that their ideas could promote a sustainable, prosperous, and environmentally sound future for the Arctic.

Siddarth Shrikanth, a joint degree candidate at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) and Stanford Graduate School of Business, pitched an app to help manage tourism traffic across Iceland. He won an earlier Kennedy School Arctic Innovation competition and placed second overall at the Innovation Lab in Reykjavík. Shrikanth later talked with an Icelandic student there about making his proposed tourism app a reality. First place went to University of Iceland student Kevin Dillman for an innovative “decentralized urban farming” plan to promote Arctic food independence and wellness.

Led by Arctic Initiative Coordinator Brittany Janis, the Harvard students participating in the Lab included HKS’s Emily Fry, Clark Yuan, Shrikanth, and Harvard Chan School of Public Health student Alicia Nelson.

The Innovation Lab was among several sessions the Belfer Center’s Arctic Initiative presented at the 2019 Arctic Circle Assembly. Science journalist Cristine Russell, a Senior Fellow at the Environment and Natural Resources Program, organized a session on how to improve media coverage of the Arctic by telling more “Human Stories of Climate Adaptation and Resilience,” particularly among Indigenous peoples. Arctic Initiative Senior Fellow Fran Ulmer led a workshop on developing “A Strategic Plan for the Arctic,” focusing on recommendations from a recent paper she co-authored with Ambassador David Balton, a Senior Fellow at the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute. 

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

"Students Offer Solutions at Arctic Innovation Lab." Belfer Center Newsletter, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School. (Fall/Winter 2019-2020).