Interview with Ulf Jonsell - SITES new deputy director

What are your expectations for your assignment as SITES deputy director?
To be part of and continue develop the shared infrastructure that is SITES and its nine research stations. To be part of making conditions optimal to ensure that research coming out based on SITES is of absolute world-class. My role is to support and ensure that everything functions smoothly.

Tell us about your background?
My background is in geology with focus on glaciology. I did my masters in Tarfala and after this I worked at Tarfala, Greenland and Antarctic with focus on ice-cores and long-term data series during my thesis work. After finishing my thesis, I felt it was more fun to coordinate and facilitate. Which I did during almost eight years at the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat with international as well as national collaborations. An important part of this was to make data accessible, both hands-on and with regards to strategic policy work.
What is your relation to terrester/limnic field research?
I have a background in geoscience with focus on glaciology, for example through field work at Tarfala, Greenland and Svalbard. Moreover, I have basic training in biology as well as a deep personal interest.
Why are research infrastructures of importance today?
Good infrastructure enables a strong positive interaction between research groups and the research infrastructure. To achieve this an ongoing long-term dialogue on what the researchers need and what the infrastructure can provide is needed. The infrastructure should make it possible also for individual research applications to be deemed possible to conduct. The good research idea should not be hampered because of lack of good infrastructure. Moreover, the infrastructure should provide a creative platform for meetings, collaborations and new ideas.
What will be your strongest contribution to SITES?
I hope my contribution will be within at least two areas. First, to ensure that SITES has solid routines for data flows, make sure that data is uploaded to the SITES data portal and becomes a natural part of the research process for staff and researchers using the research stations. Second, to be part of and create the team spirit at SITES through my coordinating role. Through this I hope to create a stable ground for SITES long-term development.
Where is SITES in five years?
SITES is a clear asset for long-term research programs and an important gateway into Sweden and Swedish ecosystem science for international collaborations. SITES has by then grown even bigger with even more associated stations.

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