News release

December 8, 2023 – Cambridge Bay, Nunavut

Polar Knowledge Canada is pleased to announce that the recipients of the 2023 Northern Science Award and Centenary Medal are Dr. Trevor Bell and SmartICE. Dr. Bell is an Honorary Research Professor in Geography at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Founding Director of SmartICE. SmartICE is a community-based organization offering climate change adaptation tools designed to incorporate sea-ice monitoring data with Indigenous Knowledge. This distinguished award recognizes Dr. Bell and SmartICE for their achievements and substantial contributions to the North and its Peoples.

Dr. Bell’s expertise lies in the study of Arctic and subarctic environments, climate change impacts, and community-based research.

SmartICE helps communities make more informed decisions before they travel on ice. They provide community members with an extra tool to help them avoid hazardous or dangerous areas. Dr. Bell and SmartICE have made significant contributions to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Canadian North. Their work has been instrumental in supporting transformations in the way knowledge is produced and shared. They have actively engaged with Indigenous communities, fostering collaborative partnerships that prioritize local knowledge and perspectives. This approach has enriched scientific understanding and empowered Northern communities to actively lead decision-making that is beneficial, innovative, and youth-focused.

The Northern Science Award is presented annually to an individual or a team who have made a significant contribution to advancing knowledge and understanding of the Canadian North. In the spirit of the last International Polar Year (2007-2008), the award recognizes transformations in the way knowledge is produced and shared, and the impact research has on the North, its communities and people.

Laureates of the award receive the Centenary Medal and a $10,000.00 prize. Nominations are reviewed by a five-member selection committee based on the following criteria:

  • wide recognition of the quality and significance of the knowledge created;
  • significant contribution to the way northern knowledge is produced and shared;
  • training or participation of Northerners in the research, project or initiative; and
  • relevance to advancing northern priorities, with an emphasis on knowledge impacts.


Indigenous Knowledge is critical in tackling the effects of climate change in the North. We need everyone involved in understanding and preserving the land and the northern way of life, as well as building strong communities. The Northern Science Award is recognition of the transformative impact of Dr. Trevor Bell and SmartICE’s work.

Dan Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs

Polar Knowledge Canada strongly values advancing and sharing knowledge about the Arctic in order to build strong communities across Northern Canada. Dr. Trevor Bell and SmartICE are dedicated to these goals, by fostering innovation and promoting the of resilience in Northern people and communities.

Jennifer C. Hubbard, President & CEO of Polar Knowledge Canada

Quick facts

  • Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) is a Government of Canada agency responsible for strengthening Canadian leadership in polar science and technology. It is headquartered at the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) campus, which it operates in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut.

  • POLAR’s Science and Technology goals are the following:

    • Improving knowledge of dynamic northern terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems in the context of rapid change;
    • Increasing understanding of the connections between northern community wellness and environmental health; and
    • Advancing sustainable energy, technology and infrastructure solutions for the unique environmental, social and cultural conditions in the North.

Associated links


Polar Knowledge Canada
Email: communications@polar.gc.ca
Telephone: 867-391-0168

Page details

Date modified: