Professor Terry V Callaghan


School of Biosciences

Professor of Arctic Ecology


Terry Callaghan started as an arctic plant ecologist in 1967. Over 52 years, he has worked in every arctic country and has been in the field during each of 50 years. His research has developed from plant ecology into ecosystem science and environmental change. He has developed several scientific fields and has led many initiatives, contributing to major arctic and global organisations and environmental assessments including IPCC. He participates in high-level arctic initiatives and is an adviser to the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Polar Regions (Arctic and Antarctic). His main current focus is to develop international collaboration to understand environmental change in Siberia.

In 1967, Terry became part of the International Biological Programme Tundra Biome Project and developed networking skills. He was a founder of the UK NERC Arctic Station on Svalbard and coordinated its first 5 year science programme. For 14 years, he led the Abisko Scientific Research Station in Swedish Lapland and in 2001 developed and coordinated a network of 9 research stations in the North Atlantic Region which developed into INTERACT, a network of currently 86 stations ( He now contributes as the Science Coordinator to this and a Siberian Environmental Change Network that he co-founded. He has recently been invited by the Minster of Environment of Laos to lead a major national project on sustainable development.

Terry has published over 430 scientific papers and is included as a “Most Cited and Influential Researcher” for the period 2002-2012 on the Web of Science. His contributions have been recognised by awards including Honorary PhDs from Sweden, Finland and Russia, medals from H.M. the King of Sweden and H.M. Queen Elisabeth of England, and inclusion in the joint award of the Nobel Peace Prize to IPCC in 2007. In 2017, after 50 years of Arctic research, he was awarded the International Arctic Science Committee Medal for “outstanding contributions to international Arctic science collaboration“. At the start of 2018, he was awarded a CMG medal, nominated by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list for his contribution to international cooperation. He currently holds concurrent Professorships in the UK and Russia.

Research interests

My research focuses on relationships between the arctic environment and the ecology of arctic plants and animals including ecosystem processes. The research has two components: seeking to understand mechanisms of survival and adaptation to arctic environments, and assessing the responses of organisms and ecosystems to changing environmental conditions such as climate, UV-B radiation and atmospheric CO2 concentrations.


Journal articles

Professional activities and memberships
  • Member, United Nations Environment Programme on Stratospheric Ozone Depletion Effects
  • Director, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' Abisko Scientific Research Station, Sweden
  • Co-ordinator SCANNET (Scandinavian - North European network of terrestrial field bases)
  • Co-chair of CEON – a US initiative 'Circumarctic environmental observatories network'
  • Member of the Integration Team, Steering Committee and lead author of the Arctic Climate
  • Impacts Assessment: an ACIA representative at meetings of the Senior Arctic Officials
  • Lead author of the Millennium Assessment of polar ecosystems
  • Lead author of the IPCC assessment of polar regions
  • Leader of several international Arctic research strategy initiatives
  • Member of the US National Academy of Sciences committee on designing a circumarctic observatories network
  • Leader of the Arctic Council of Ministers' initiative on coordination of observation and monitoring in the Arctic
  • Founder and Science Coordinator INTERACT,
  • Co-founder and Science advisor SecNet,
  • Making international collaborations, opportunities for researchers in the Arctic and developing Science Diplomacy

Prizes and Awards

Terry's contributions have been recognised by a number of awards, including:

  • PhD Honorary (1991) University of Lund, Sweden; DSc (1993) Manchester; PhD Honorary (2002) University of Oulu, Finland; PhD Honorary, Tomsk State University, Russia (2012)
  • medals from HM the King of Sweden and HM Queen Elizabeth of England
  • in 2007 as one of the lead authors for IPCC work leading to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize jointly to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Al Gore
  • in 2007 the Zayed International Prize for the Environment (group award to the authors of the Milliennium Ecosystem Assessment)

In 2017, after 50 years of Arctic research, Terry was awarded the International Arctic Science Committee Medal for ‘outstanding contributions to international Arctic science collaboration’.

  • BSc (1967) University of Manchester, UK; PhD (1972) University of Birmingham, UK
  • Research Associate, University of Birmingham (1967-69)
  • Research Fellow, University of York (1969-72)
  • Royal Society Research Fellow, University of Manchester (1972-73)
  • Scientific Officer, British Antarctic Survey (1973-74)
  • Senior Scientific Officer to Individual Merit Senior Principal Scientific Officer, Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (1974-93)
  • Professor of Arctic Biology and Director, Centre for Arctic Biology, University of Manchester (1993-95)
  • Professor of Arctic Ecology and Director of the Sheffield Centre for Arctic Ecology, Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield (1995-present)
  • Director of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' Abisko Scientific Research Station, Sweden (1997-present)
  • Director Climate Impacts Research Centre, Kiruna, Sweden (1996-2002)
  • Professor of Arctic Ecology, University of Lund, Sweden (1997)
  • Elected Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2002)
  • Advisor to  the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Polar Regions (Arctic and Antarctic)
  • Professor of Botany, Department of Botany, National Research Tomsk State University, 36, Lenin Ave., Tomsk, 634050, Russia
  • Distinguished Research Professor (retired), Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Lilla Frescativägen 4A, 114 18, Stockholm, Sweden