As much of future oil and gas development will happen in the Arctic, the links between the circumpolar North and the rest of our planet will further increase as well as the public impact of industrial development, not least on companies as well as states' reputations and most significantly on the populations which live in the Arctic. It is known that economic activity and business development play a crucial role in ensuring welfare and employment in the North. Petroleum and other extractive industries can contribute to increasing capital, and employment opportunities in the Arctic. However, Arctic inhabitants have also repeatedly highlighted the problematic impacts of industrial activity on their territories, which can lead to economic, social, cultural, linguistic, religious and environmental problems particularly among indigenous northerners.
In order to maximise the benefits and minimize the negative consequences of Arctic extractive industrial development a more concerted focus on the social, cultural, environmental and economic impacts from the local to the global level are needed. This includes building competence and the necessary skill-sets needed to support best practices on all sides.
The thematic network, People and the Arctic Extractive Industries, is therefore the basis for a pan-Arctic PhD programme in Arctic Extractive Industries. The PhD programme both contributes to new research as well as post-graduate training in a new yet increasing important field. The programme also creates a systematic means for generating new research (both theoretical and practical) in the field of Arctic Extractive Industries.