Permafrost & Infrastructure Symposium in Northern Alaska

Merging Science, Engineering and Community-based Knowledge

July 28–August 5, 2023

The Permafrost & Infrastructure Symposium will bring together national and international Arctic science and engineering experts to share knowledge on how to address impacts of permafrost thaw on roads and community infrastructure. Due to the small size of the symposium, registration is open by invitation only to ensure diversity as well as relevant expertise among the group. Participants will include U.S. researchers working in Northern Alaska, their international colleagues with expertise in other parts of the Arctic, and local experts from Alaska’s North Slope, including regional planners, project managers, and policy makers. The symposium will be held in the field—along the Dalton Highway, in Utqiaġvik (formerly Barrow) and the villages of Point Lay and Wainwright—giving participants the opportunity to see the issues firsthand and to learn from those who design, build, repair, and live with infrastructure on thaw-susceptible soils. The concept for the event is based on a convergence research model used in Canada to pair scientific and engineering research practices with local knowledge and priorities to develop better strategies for improving Arctic infrastructure. The symposium will result in a roadmap document that addresses the permafrost-related challenges prioritized by local and regional residents and planners. Key findings will be presented to local policy makers and at Arctic science and policy forums.

More info for participants

  • Fri, July 28: Arrive in Utqiagvik. Group dinner and orientation for visiting scientists and engineers at Nanuq’s Den, NARL campus.
  • Sat, July 29: Start of conference. Presentations by participants. Dinner reception & cultural evening.
  • Sun, July 30: Field trips: Tour infrastructure issues in Utqiaġvik or a coastal village.
  • Mon, July 31: Work sessions on prioritized issues.
  • Tue, Aug 1: Morning presentation to North Slope Borough.  Free afternoon. End of Utqiagvik conference (Part I).
  • Tue, Aug 1: Arrive in Deadhorse. Group dinner and orientation at Arctic Oilfield Hotel, Prudhoe Bay.
  • Wed, Aug 2:  Tour of oilfield and permafrost research sites. Tundra walk.
  • Thu, Aug 3: Drive to Coldfoot with stops at permafrost research and engineering sites. Lodging at Coldfoot Camp.
  • Fri, Aug 4. Drive to Fairbanks with stops along highway. Lunch at Yukon River. Overnight in Fairbanks.
  • Sat, Aug 5: Morning presentations and wrap up at UAF. Optional afternoon tours.

Confirmed participants as of June 8, 2023

Organizing Committee


  • Engineering Co-chair: Billy Connor, MSEM, PE, Director, Arctic Infrastructure Development Center, Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Permafrost Science Co-chair: Vladimir Romanovsky, PhD, Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks (Emeritus)

Other Members:

  • Howard Epstein, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia
  • Emily Fleissner, UIC Science, Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation
  • Stacey Fritz, PhD, National Renewable Energy Laboratory
  • Griffin Hagle, Executive Director, Taġiuġmiullu Nunamiullu Housing Authority
  • Benjamin Jones, PhD, Water and Environmental Research Center, Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Lorene Lynn, Red Mountain Consulting
  • Chastity Olemaun, Director, Planning and Community Services Department, North Slope Borough
  • Bill Tracey, North Slope Borough Assembly, Native Village of Point Lay


  • Jana Peirce, Alaska Geobotany Center, Institute of Arctic Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • Victoria Wolf, Arctic Infrastructure Development Center, Institute of Northern Engineering, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Symposium funder and sponsor logos: National Science Foundation, University of Alaska Fairbanks, NNA Ice-rich Permafrost Systems, UAF Institute of Northern Engineering, Permafrost Coastal Systems Network, and UIC Science

The symposium is made possible with funding from the National Science Foundation, Arctic Sciences program (Award 2232922),  Permafrost Coastal Systems Network (NSF Award 1927553), Arctic Infrastructure Development Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the NSF project Navigating the New Arctic: Landscape Evolution and Adapting to Change in Ice-rich Permafrost Systems (NSF Award 1928237).

Sponsored by UIC Science