Meant to serve as background information for input by SEARCH to the Arctic Science Ministerial Meeting in September 2016. It builds on discussions among the research community and stakeholders at the Arctic Observing Summit and Arctic Science Summit Week in March 2016. The document also reflects input from the International Study of Arctic Change (ISAC) and from informal conversations with the leaders of large Arctic research programs in several countries. The document was reviewed by and received input from SEARCH leadership, and was assembled by the immediate past SEARCH SSC Chair and Director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Hajo Eicken. The paper expands upon and complements the brief document submitted by the SEARCH program as input to the Arctic Science Ministerial. Over the course of the summer, it is hoped that further conversation among researchers from different countries active in Arctic science may help focus conversations and outcomes from the Science Ministerial.