Western Arctic Research Centre

The Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC) is a two-story complex, plus three unheated warehouses, located on secure property. It operates year-round and can provide researchers with a range of logistical support for field- and office-based research in the western Arctic and Beaufort Delta coastal regions. Logistical support services are available to anyone conducting research under a valid research licence, regardless of the sponsoring agency.


Western Arctic Research Centre (Inuvik)

Name Email Phone Number
Primary Contact Joel McAlister JMcAlister@auroracollege.nt.ca (867) 777-3298, ext. 232
Secondary Contact Pippa Seccombe-Hett logistics@nwtresearch.com (867) 777-3298, ext. 235

Download Western Arctic Research Centre profile as a PDF document

Aurora College (Aurora Research Institute)

Regular Member





Territory/ Province
Northwest Territories

Aboriginal Government/ Homeland
Inuvik straddles the boundary between the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Gwich’in Settlement Area.

Facility Type
Year-Round Research Station, Community Research Facility, Site for Observing/Monitoring

Research Hinterland
Continuous Permafrost, Delta, Coastal, Treeline, Tundra, Freshwater, Marine, Lake, Large River, Lichen, Ponds, Riparian, Sea Ice, Shrub Tundra, Streams, Taiga / Boreal forest, Terrestrial, Thermokarst Pond, Forest, Transitional Zone, Wetland, Woodland

Main Research Disciplines
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Environmental Sciences, Geology and Sedimentology, Geocryology, Hydrology, Limnology, Mapping/GIS, Soil Science, Terrestrial Biology/Ecology

Research History
The Inuvik research facility opened in 1964, and has continuously supported research in the western Canadian Arctic since that time. We facilitate a range of research projects conducted by community and Aboriginal organizations, universities, government departments, and industry. The original building was replaced with the Western Arctic Research Centre (WARC) in 2011. WARC was designed to fit the needs of the research community, and provides state-of-the-art facilities and services.

Current Projects
Alternative energy, cosmic ray monitoring, hydrology and ecology, water quality, indigenous seed bank development, permafrost monitoring, atmospheric monitoring (upper atmosphere; solar wind energy), pile monitoring. Most of the above are run in partnership with other organizations.

Solar, External Electrical Grid

Telephone, Satellite Phone (available for rent), Computers, Internet, Printer/scanner, Fax

Local Transportation
Most destinations in Inuvik are within walking distance. There are two taxi companies that can provide transportation within town, as well as to and from the airport.

Depending on the destination and season, transportation from Inuvik to the field can include car/truck, skidoo, boat, charter plane, or helicopter. WARC rents motor boats and skidoos to researchers in possession of valid operator’s cards.

Helicopter flights can be booked through several helicopter companies with hangars at the Inuvik airport (ten minute drive from town).

Flights to communities in the Beaufort Delta Region, and points further north, can be booked through Aklak Airlines. Flights to communities south of Inuvik can be booked through North Wright Airlines.

Equipment Storage
We have both cold and warm storage available at the WARC.

Dormitory/Sleeping Facilities
Accommodations are provided at the researcher row houses, located about a ten minute walk from the research centre.  Each row house can accommodate six researchers in four bedrooms (two single rooms and two double rooms).

Row houses are fully furnished. Each is equipped with bedding, pillows, vacuum cleaner, some basic cleaning supplies, TV with cable, a washer and drier, and wireless internet. Each row house also has a phone on which you can make local calls free of charge (long distance calls require a calling card).

Some things that are not supplied are food, towels and personal toiletries. Please plan accordingly.

Dining/Kitchen Facilities
The WARC building has a small kitchenette that is available for researcher use.

Each row house has a fully equipped kitchen, including a refrigerator, stove, microwave, coffee maker, kettle, toaster, cutlery, dishes, pots and pans.

Laboratory Facilities
There are three separate lab spaces that are available for rent.

Clean Lab – designed for work such as contaminant, bacteria, and low-level nutrient sampling.  It contains a drying oven, analytical balance, fluorometer and spectrophotometer.

Teaching Lab – designed for work such as soil, permafrost, and vegetation sampling.  It can also be used as a staging area for field equipment such as data loggers and thermisters.  It contains 4 drying ovens, an incubation chamber, centrifuge, pH meter, and compound microscopes.

Wet Lab – designed for work such as general water sampling, plankton sampling, and fish and animal dissections. It contains an autoclave and dissecting microscopes.

All labs have a fume hood, vacuum bench taps, and a laboratory-grade water source. All researchers also have access to fridge and freezer space for short-term storage of temperature-sensitive samples. Small, commonly used equipment (glassware, hot plates, balances, etc.) can be found in the Lab Support Room.

Fuel Availability
There are several gas stations in Inuvik. Fuel is also available from various commercial distributors.

Research Requirements
A scientific research license is required to conduct research in the NWT. More information can be found at: www.nwtresearch.com/licensing-research/scientific-research-license

Special Rules and Regulations
To receive logistical support from WARC, you must:

1) have a valid Scientific Research Licence (or equivalent permit).

2) submit a Logistical Support Request Form (available from our website: www.nwtresearch.com).

Researchers wishing to rent some types of equipment (i.e. motor boats, snowmobiles, rifles, chainsaws) are required to present valid operator’s cards before the equipment will be signed out. Please ask about these requirements when submitting your Logistical Support Request Form.

Local External Resources
Details on local resources can be found at the Town of Inuvik website: www.inuvik.ca

Nearest Medical Service
Inuvik Regional Hospital (located less than 1 km from WARC).

Safety Considerations

WARC operates on a cost-recovery basis. Our fee schedule is available online (www.nwtresearch.com/logistics/fee-schedule). Please note that prices may change without prior notice.

Other Information
Research and monitoring services can be provided on a contractual basis. We can also facilitate the hiring of local research assistants.

Last Updated

Teaching Lab

Teaching Lab