EU boost for polar science

A new initiative to enhance the integration of Europe’s scientific and operational capabilities in the Polar Regions has been funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.


By:  PeMi


The €2 million five-year EU-PolarNet programme brings together 22 of Europe’s internationally-respected multi-disciplinary research institutions to develop and deliver an integrated European polar research programme that is supported by access to first-class operational polar infrastructures.  EU-PolarNet will involve stakeholders from the outset to create a suite of research proposals whose scientific outcomes are directly relevant and beneficial to European society and its economy.

Polar issues have been rising up the political agenda across Europe over the past decade.  The level of investment now being made by governments is a clear demonstration of how critical polar research is for forming policies, including those relating to climate change, energy security, global food security, innovation and economic growth. 

By establishing an ongoing dialogue between policymakers, business and industry leaders, local communities and scientists EU-PolarNet aims to create an Integrated European Research Programme for the Antarctic and the Arctic.  

A key role for EU-PolarNet is to cooperate closely with the European Commission to provide support and advice on all issues related to the Polar Regions.

Dr Andrea Tilche, Head of the Climate Action and Earth Observation Unit, in the European Commission DG for Research and Innovation, comments: "The European Commission welcomes this new Coordination Action which brings together polar scientific communities and other stakeholders.  It creates a new "home" where science and innovation on polar issues can be discussed for the benefit of our planet and our societies".

The Greenland Institute of Natural Resources is one among the 22 participating research institutions. Director Klaus Nygaard says: "It is very gratifying that the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources as an institution from Greenland can be part of this very strong network of high-profile European polar research institutions. The Institute's strength lies inter alia, in the fine facilities the institution have, and which makes it possible to operate year-round in the Arctic. An equally significant strength is that the Institute has a competent academic and technical staff, with their special knowledge and skills are particularly attractive as partners. The European cooperation opens for increased knowledge and activity in Greenland."

Grønlands Naturinstitut er en blandt de 22 deltagende forskningsinstitutioner. Direktør Klaus Nygaard, Grønlands Naturinstitut siger: ”Det er utrolig glædeligt, at Naturinstituttet som institution fra Grønland kan indgå i dette meget stærke netværk af højt profilerede europæiske polarforsknings institutioner. Naturinstituttets styrke ligger bl.a. i de fine faciliteter instituttet råder over, og som gør det muligt at operere året rundt i Arktis. En ligeså væsentlig styrke er, at Naturinstituttet har et kompetent akademisk og teknisk personale, der med deres specialviden og kundskaber er særdeles attraktive som samarbejdspartnere. Det europæiske samarbejde åbner for øget viden og aktivitet i Grønland.”

EU-PolarNet is coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany.  Full information about the programme and its participants is at




EU-PolarNet deltagere

Agecia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)

Alfred Wegener Institut Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar und Meeresforschung (AWI)

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Secretariat (AMAP)

British Antarctic Survey (NERC-BAS)

Bulgarian Antarctic Institute (BAI)

Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS)

Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche - Department of Earth System Science and Environmental Technologies. (CNR-DTA)

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)

Grønlands Naturinstitut (GINR)

Institut Polaire Français Paul Emile Victor (IPEV)

Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique (RBINS)

Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território da Universidade e Lisboa (IGOT-UL)

 Instytut Geofizyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk (IGF PAS)

Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO)

Norges Forskningråd  (RCN)

Oulun Yliopisto (UOULU)

Polarfoskningssekretariatet (SPRS)

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG)

Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (IG TUT)

Universität Wien - Austrian Polar Research Institute (UW-APRI)

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

WOC- World Ocean Limited



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Photo: Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen