March 2022

Welcome to the March edition of the quaterly EU-PolarNet 2 newsletter!

Welcome to the first newsletter of EU-PolarNet 2 in 2022. We are looking forward towards an exciting 2022 and would like to share our overview on what the next month will bring to the EU-PolarNet 2 consortium – and you! Stay tuned for new calls for services, new extensive deliverables and a white paper and hopefully also for in-person meetings where you can meet us!

Nevertheless, the impact of the Covid pandemic continues to influence our work. Our first transdisciplinary EU-PolarNet 2 workshop, jointly organised with our partner the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry in Kautokeino Norway, planned for April 2022, must be postponed for a few months.

Enjoy reading our first newsletter in 2022!

Newsletter content

News from EU-PolarNet 2

The second EU-PolarNet 2 Service Call is open!

Through the Service Calls, EU-PolarNet 2 is seeking support from the European research community to develop ideas for concrete research activities for the research needs defined in the Integrated European Polar Research Programme (EPRP). The funded Service Contract will support EU-PolarNet 2 in research prioritisation and propose topics for future research funding.

The first EU-PolarNet 2 Call for Services supports the projects Arctic Xchange and Co-Create. ArcticXchange will apply a transdisciplinary framework for knowledge co-production, involving natural scientists, social scientists, and reindeer herders. The Co-Create Consortium will provide the EU Commission with a Comprehensive Policy Brief as an evidence-based roadmap for achieving decolonial innovation in the Arctic research landscape and mainstreaming co-created and collaborative Arctic research conducted in equal partnership by Indigenous and non-Indigenous researchers and rightsholders. Read more about the two services here.

The second Call for Services was opened on 15 March 2022 and deadline for offers is 20 May 2022. EU-PolarNet 2 invites European (early career) researchers and/or stake- and rightsholders to submit an offer related to one of the key questions/sub-topics of following two Research Needs of the EPRP:

  • Resilient socio-ecological systems
  • Challenges and opportunities for polar operations

You will find more information about the outcomes of the last Service Call and the second Call for Services on our website:

‘Catalogue of national Polar programmes and other large-scale programmes’ and ‘Directory of Polar research funding programmes in Europe’

EU-PolarNet 2 finalised two of its key documents, the “Catalogue of national Polar programmes and other large-scale programmes” and the “Directory of Polar research funding programmes in Europe”. The catalogue provides an overview about the responsibilities, research foci and governance structures in European countries performing Polar research. The heterogeneity of European National Polar programmes will make this catalogue an essential tool to facilitate the communication and the development of synergistic joint actions among the national programmes. The directory provides an overview about the governance, strategies, and procedures of Polar research funding in Europe and aims to contribute to improving the efficiency and effectiveness of European Polar research.

Do not miss the publication of the two documents in March 2022 and check our EU-PolarNet 2 publications and news.

Catalogue of National Polar Programmes and Other Large-Scale Programmes

Directory of European Polar Research Funding Programmes

EU Polar Cluster News

After more than 2 years of pandemic, the EU Polar Cluster will hold its first in-person meeting in Brussels on 21 and 22 June 2022. Representatives of all Polar Cluster members are encouraged to attend.

Since summer 2021, the EU Polar Cluster publishes its own regular newsletters. They aim to give you an update of the key inter-project activities. Please sign up here to receive the latest news from the EU Polar Cluster:

Partner highlights on polar research

Research programme into Antarctic tourism

Polar Tourism – Research Programme on the Assessment of Impacts and Responses (PT-REPAIR) is an interdisciplinary research programme set to generate insight into the trends, risks and impacts of tourism in Antarctica. Complemented by the complex regulatory framework and options for action, these are causes of concern for the Netherlands, as voiced in the Netherlands’ Polar Strategy: Prepared for Change (2021-2025). Research consortia must be interdisciplinary and knowledge chain-wide, closely cooperating with societal stakeholders. Foreign co-applicants may be involved. The call closing in March 2022, the programme (4.5 M€) can fund four proposals that will run until 2027.

For further science highlights »

Expedition cruise vessel in Antarctica (credits: Dick van der Kroef)

Memorandum of Understanding signed between Spain and Turkey

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Spain and Turkey on scientific and logistic cooperation in polar regions on 17 November 2021. The signing took place in the extent of the 7th Turkey-Spain Intergovernmental Summit where Mr. Mustafa Varank (Turkish Minister of Industry and Technology) and Mr. Jose Manuel Albares Bueno (Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation) signed the Memorandum between The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) and Ministry of Science, Innovation of Spain.

For further science highlights »

The Sixth Turkish Antarctic Expedition (TAE-VI)

The team for the sixth Turkish Antarctic Expedition started its journey to reach Antarctica by leaving Turkey on 22 January 2022. The expedition team will stay on quarantine on Puerto Williams (Chile) before flying to King George Island. Strict procedures on Covid-19 are applied prior to entering Antarctica including a series of PCR tests. The expedition will start from King George Island to Horseshoe Island in West Antarctic Peninsula where the studies will be focused on.

For further science highlights »

Youtube video »

The Sixth Turkish Antarctic Expedition departed from Istanbul Airport (credits: TUBITAK)

The 5th Polar Science Workshop & The 2nd Polar Science Festival

The 5th National Polar Science Workshop was held on 30 November 2021. The workshop, which hosted over 500 participants throughout Turkey, brought the polar researchers and related stakeholders together to provide information exchange in the Turkish polar community. The next day, the 2nd Polar Science Festival was organised on 1 December 2022, Antarctica Day. The festival mainly targets the young generations, as future polar scientists, to create awareness on polar regions and global climate change. With the participation of over 10,000 students, various activities including workshops, games, exhibitions and promotions took place in the main tent of 2000 m2.

For further science highlights »

New RV Belgica enhances Belgian marine polar research

On 13 December 2021 Belgium’s new oceanographic research vessel the RV Belgica entered her home port in Zeebrugge. There are 14 permanent crew members on board and the ship can accommodate up to 26 scientists. Compared to its predecessor, the new RV Belgica is larger (71,40 m length and 16,80 m width) and offers more space to the scientists (four times the laboratory space). The new RV Belgica is a green ship and is equipped with state-of-the-art scientific equipment that, amongst others, allows samples to be taken at depths up to 5.000 m. It is also a silent ship, important for e.g. fishery research, with a light ice strengthening to be able to conduct research in Arctic waters during the summer. Although the North Sea remains the main focus of the new ship, the research area extends further than that of the old RV Belgica: northwards above the Arctic Circle, further south including the Mediterranean and Black Sea, and westwards to the Atlantic Ocean.

For further science highlights »

The new RV Belgica, Ria de Vigo, Spain (credits: Freire Shipyard)

Webinar: The new EU Arctic Policy and Research and Innovation

EU-PolarNet 2, the EPB and the EU Polar Cluster held the webinar “The new Arctic Policy and Research & Innovation” on 24th November 2021. The webinar discusses the new EU Arctic Policy and its effects on future research with EU representatives.

The webinar introduced the new EU Arctic Policy to the European polar science community, with discussions on the role of Research & Innovation in the new strategy and how R&I projects can contribute to the policy’s objectives. The webinar reflects on the contribution of Member projects of the EU Polar Cluster to better understanding of changes in the Arctic, as well as to societal benefits.


Michael Mann (EU Special Envoy for the Arctic, EEAS), Raphael Goulet (Head of Unit, European Commission (DG MARE), Szilvia Nemeth (Deputy Head of Unit, European Commission (DG RTD)), Elaina Ford (EU Polar Cluster), Hugues Lantuit (Nunataryuk), Sigrun Jonasdottir (ECOTIP), Corine Wood-Donnelly (JUSTNORTH), Chairs: Nicole Biebow (EU-PolarNet 2), Renuka Badhe (EPB).

Webinar: The new EU Arctic Policy and Research and Innovation »

Webinar The new EU Arctic Policy and Research and Innovation

The Southern Ocean on Europe’s shores - climate impacts, sea level rise, and the marine environment

Did you know that the Southern Ocean has the capacity to absorb far more carbon than the Amazon rainforest? Or that change in the Southern Ocean plays a critical role in the climate of Europe and consequentially impacts the lives of millions of EU citizens?

This policy briefing, organised by the Horizon 2020 project SO-CHIC, focused on issues such as climate, sea level rise, disaster risk reduction and the changing marine environment, and the critical influence the Southern Ocean has on these in Europe.


Dr. Jean-Baptiste Sallée, Sorbonne Université, France

Dr. Sian Henley, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Chair: Dr. Renuka Badhe, European Polar Board


For further science highlights »

The Southern Ocean on Europe’s shores (credits: Joseph Nolan)

Greenland Integrated Observing System (GIOS)

Under the name „GIOS“- Greenland Integrated Observing System a group of research institutions in the Kingdom of Denmark takes the collection of Arctic research data to a whole new era. Since 2021 the GIOS partners have started developing and launching a network of automated measuring stations in and around Greenland. Measurements from individual measuring stations are transmitted to local hubs. From these local hubs data are continuously transmitted by satellite and made available at the GIOS website ( to all interested parties throughout the world. The GIOS project runs until the end of 2025, when a new research infrastructure must be in place and ready to deliver measurements for many years of changes in air, ice, land and sea in the Arctic. GIOS has a total budget of approx. €10 mio.

For further science highlights »

GIOS automated data hub - powered by sun, wind, and batteries - installed at Daneborg in North-East Greenland in 2021. (credits: Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen)

World's largest fish breeding area discovered in Antarctica

Near the Filchner Ice Shelf in the south of the Antarctic Weddell Sea, a research team has found the world’s largest fish breeding area known to date. A towed camera system photographed and filmed thousands of nests of icefish of the species Neopagetopsis ionah on the seabed. The density of the nests and the size of the entire breeding area suggest a total number of about 60 million icefish breeding at the time of observation. These findings provide support for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean.

For further science highlights »

Fishnests Weddell Sea (credits: AWI)

Reactivation of the Polish A.B. Dobrowolski Polar Station in the Bunger Hills Oasis, East Antarctica

In January 2022, the Polish A.B. Dobrowolski Antarctic Station resumed its activity. The facility was passed on to Poland by the Soviet Union in 1958. Unfortunately, due to difficult access, only a few expeditions were organized there in the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s of the 20th century. After 43 years of absence, four Polish scientists came back to the Station to activate a new program that includes meteorological, ionospheric and geomagnetism monitoring as well as geological, geomorphological and glaciological observations. Another important task of this expedition was to assess the condition of infrastructure and buildings in terms of future development of research activity. The leading premise of the program is to use a set of modern automatic and autonomous equipment for monitoring of geophysical fields of the Bunger Hills region serviced once a year or every second year by small expeditions.

For further science highlights »

Polish A.B. Dobrowolski Polar Station in the Bunger Hills Oasis, East Antarctica (credits: Dobrowolski Station expedition's archive)

Highlights of Polar programmes

A glimpse on the Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany

The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the very few scientific institutions in the world that are equally active in the Arctic and Antarctic. It coordinates German polar research efforts, while also conducting research in the North Sea and adjacent coastal regions in Germany. Combining innovative approaches, outstanding research infrastructure and years of expertise, the Alfred Wegener Institute explores nearly all aspects of the Earth system – from the atmosphere to the ocean floor.

The AWI’s researchers operate various observatories that gather measurement data over longer timeframes. They research the atmosphere, ice, oceans and coasts. They explore the deep seas, the glaciers and the permafrost soils of the polar regions first-hand. And they analyse data from climate archives like sediment and ice core samples.

The institute has a staff of more than 1000 people and is financed by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and 10% from provincial sources. AWI is the national manager and implementation agency of the National German Arctic and Antarctic Programme. It has the following tasks at the national level, mandated by the German Federal Government to:

  • Conduct outstanding Polar, ocean and coastal research mainly in the area of multidisciplinary environmental research and improve the observation and simulation of past, present and future Earth System dynamics from a Polar perspective.
  • Provide access to world-leading research and information infrastructure for all German Polar researchers.
  • Manage and coordinate all German Polar research activities.
  • Advise the German government in all matters concerning the Polar Regions.

The AWI was founded in 1980 in the course of Germany’s accession to the Antarctic Treaty. The initiator and founding director was Gotthilf Hempel. The institute is named after Alfred Lothar Wegener, a German climatologist, geologist, geophysicist, meteorologist, and polar researcher. Alfred Wegener is most remembered as the originator of the continental drift hypothesis by suggesting in 1912 that the continents are slowly drifting around the Earth.

AWI’s main building is situated in Bremerhaven. Additionally, the research institute includes the Biological Institute Helgoland and the Wadden Sea Station in List on Sylt. A branch office is located in the Albert Einstein Science Park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam.

The Institute’s work is characterised by a high degree of international and interdisciplinary collaboration: experts from the bio-, geo- and climate sciences work closely together at the AWI. Field research under extreme conditions is just as much a part of the Institute’s day-to-day work as are analyses using cutting-edge laboratory equipment and high-performance supercomputers. Having recognised that polar and marine research often poses serious logistical challenges, the AWI also maintains an excellent infrastructure, allowing it to make resources available for the national and international research communities. Research stations are Neumayer Station III in Antarctica (predecessor stations: Georg von Neumayer Station and Neumayer Station II), the German-French AWIPEV research base (Koldewey Station) on Spitsbergen and the Russian-German research base Samoilov in the Siberian Lena Delta.

Research vessels are the Polarstern, the Heincke and the Mya II. The AWI also operates two aircrafts (Polar 5 and Polar 6).

EU-PolarNet 2 is coordinated by the AWI, which also leads two work packages and chairs the project’s Executive Board. In its role as coordinator, AWI takes care of the day-to-day management of the project and all its activities, coordination of work package and task leaders, consortium internal communication and liaising with the EC project officer on behalf of the consortium. AWI also leads the work package on policy advice, dissemination and communication. Tasks include managing the internal project website, informing on policy-relevant project results and providing evidence-based advice and interaction with the EC. AWI also plays an important role in setting up and promoting the EU-PolarNet 2 calls for services and manages the administrative process related to the award of service contracts. AWI co-leads several tasks in EU-PolarNet 2 and actively participates in proposals for efficient use of resources through jointly operated logistics, infrastructure and programmes, as well as preparations for the implementation of the European Polar Coordination Office, which will be the legacy of EU-PolarNet 2.

German polar research is carried out by a network of research institutions, universities, governmental and non-governmental institutions distributed across whole Germany. The largest polar research institute in Germany is the AWI. It is the national manager and implementation agency of the National German Arctic and Antarctic Programme. It provides access to most of the German research and information infrastructure for all German Polar researchers and manages and coordinates all German Polar research activities. The German polar research is funded by the Federal Ministries for Education and Research (BMBF) and for Economy and Energy (BMWi), Project funding is mainly derived from different federal ministries and the German Research Foundation (DFG) as well as through EU programmes.

The main topic of German polar research is to better understand the ongoing changes in the polar regions and their underlying processes to evaluate their local, regional and global consequences. An essential aspect is the improvement of the polar components of climate and earth system models to arrive at more precise projections up to the end of the 21st century and beyond.

German Polar researchers are active in the Arctic and Antarctic. The German Polar Community usually works in the following areas:

Antarctica: Dronning Maud Land, Ekström Ice Shelf, Weddell Sea and Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean, Antarctic Peninsula, Terra Nova Bay and Dome C in east Antarctica

Arctic: Svalbard, Lena Delta and Siberian Arctic, Arctic Ocean and Fram Strait; East Greenland and Herschel Island, Canada.

Germany is a member of the Antarctic Treaty System and an observer to the Arctic Council. German polar research is internationally networked, which is also reflected in the numerous German delegates to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), to the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) as well as to committees of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) with a polar focus. German polar scientists are cooperating with most if not all countries performing polar research. In addition, Germany operates infrastructures and facilities with international partners. In Ny-Ålesund on Spitsbergen (Svalbard), AWI maintains the permanently staffed station AWIPEV jointly together with the French Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor (IPEV). The Russian Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute (AARI), AWI and GEOMAR jointly operate the Otto-Schmidt Laboratory (OSL) in St. Petersburg which is funded by the German BMBF and the Ministry of Science and Higher Education of the Russian Federation. The OSL is an analytical laboratory and provides a basis for Russian-German research projects. It offers logistical support for scientific projects, expeditions and working meetings. The universities of Hamburg and Sankt Petersburg jointly provide a German-Russian Master Programme for Polar- and Marine Science called POMOR.

The AWI coordinated the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition from autumn 2019 to autumn 2020. During this expedition, the German research icebreaker Polarstern drifted frozen in the ice through the Arctic Ocean and allowed experts from 20 nations to explore the Arctic for an entire year. In order to make this unique project a success and to obtain the most valuable data possible, more than 80 institutes had pooled their resources in a research consortium. The total cost of the expedition was about 150 million euros, mostly funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Hundreds of international researchers are currently analysing observations from this one-year MOSAiC expedition, during which hundreds of environmental parameters were recorded with unprecedented accuracy and frequency over a full annual cycle in the Central Arctic Ocean. They have now published three overview articles on the MOSAiC atmosphere, snow and sea ice, and ocean programs in the journal Elementa, highlighting the importance of examining all components of the climate system together. These results present the first complete picture of the climate processes in the central Arctic which is warming more than two times as fast as the rest of the planet – processes which affect weather and climate worldwide.

For further science highlights »

Das AWI-Bremerhaven im Morgengrauen (credits: Loeschke)

A glimpse on Bulgarian Antarctic Institute

The Bulgarian Antarctic institute (BAI) is the National Operator of Republic of Bulgaria for the polar regions. BAI organises the annual Antarctic campaigns and maintains the St Kliment Ohridski base on Livingston Island, Antarctica.

The Bulgarian Antarctic Institute has been working on deliverable D1.3 of Work Package 1 – Catalogue of national polar programmes and other large-scale programmes. Together with the colleagues from  Work Package1, we created a large survey for each partner of the consortium to fill in. The surveys came back containing very detailed information on different aspects of the national polar programmes. This information has been structured, edited and more has been requested and finally distributed correctly to fulfil the needs of  D1.3 as well as D4.1  – Landscape of European National Polar research funding programs. The catalogue is in process of being send to a designer.

The Bulgarian Antarctic Institute together with the National Center of Polar Studies of Sofia University St Kliment Ohridski (NCPS) organises the national polar expeditions. NCPS annually opens a National call for polar projects, funded by the Ministry of Education and Science. The projects are evaluated and selected by a commission of scientists. International participants are welcome to be part of the Bulgarian scientific team.

The main research themes of polar research are Earth sciences, Biology and Ecology, Medicine, Geophysics and GIS, Oceanography and Social studies. At the moment the 30th Bulgarian national campaign is undergoing. They are currently 7 projects on which scientists are  working on the Bulgarian base. In addition, there is one bilateral project with the Turkish National Polar program on Horseshoe Island.

For further science highlights »

View of South bay to Bulgarian Antarctic base, Livingston Island (credits: Dragomir Mateev)

A glimpse on the Faroe Marine Research Institute

Located at the border to the Arctic, the Faroe Islands are ideally located for monitoring exchanges of key parameters between the North Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic, e.g. oceanic heat, salt, nutrients, carbon and passively drifting plankton. Huge biomasses of pelagic fish, whales and seabirds perform seasonal migrations between the Atlantic and Arctic and Subarctic regions. Most of this physical, biogeochemical and biological monitoring activity takes place at the Faroe Marine Research Institute (FAMRI).

FAMRI is a governmental institution, placed under the Ministry of Fisheries, and physically located in Tórshavn – the capital of the Faroe Islands. Its main commission is to monitor the Faroese marine environment and its living resources, and to inform and advise the Faroese authorities and public about these conditions. This primarily involves information on the state of fish stocks in Faroese and surrounding waters, and to provide scientific advice and assessments according to the law on commercial fishing. Increasing effort is presently being allocated to monitoring the oceanographic conditions in the area, which regulate the rich marine resource, and which play a fundamental role in the world climate system.

FAMRI’s activity can roughly be divided into three main topics: The Faroe shelf, the open ocean pelagic complex and the exchanges between the North Atlantic and the Arctic. The spatially confined Faroe shelf hosts rich and variable Atlantic/subarctic ecosystems, from where comprehensive long-term physical and biological records are available. FAMRI participates in large international surveys on the main pelagic fish stocks (mackerel, blue whiting, herring and capelin), which spawn in relatively warm Atlantic waters and feed in cold and food-rich (sub)arctic waters. The entire arctic and subarctic marine environment is fundamentally influenced by the northward flow of warm and saline Atlantic waters, which cool and sink in the north, and return equatorward in deep cold current jets – the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). FAMRI plays a key role in the monitoring the AMOC.

To meet these challenging tasks, FAMRI utilises the brand new, state of the art, research vessel R/S Jákup Sverri, runs long-term programs with moorings on the seafloor at key locations, collaborates with the fishing industry and with ships of opportunity (e.g. the passenger ferry M/S Norrøna which makes comprehensive oceanic sampling across the entire gap from Denmark to Iceland, on a weekly basis).

R/V Jákup Sverri (credits:

FAMRI participation in EU-PolarNet 2 involves Research Coordination (Work Package 1) and Research Prioritisation (Work Package 3).

The three governments representative of the Kingdom of Denmark (Denmark, the Faroe Islands and Greenland) are currently working on a new strategy for the Arctic for the period 2021-2030, which focuses on research and education, and the role they play in keeping the Arctic regions as peaceful and prosperous as possible. In January 2021, a new Act on Research, Development and Innovation came into force that integrates these three subjects which hitherto were separately administered. A new council will be established and this will become responsible for the coordination of all government grants, the support of applicants and the development of a new strategic plan for 2021.

Situated just inside the Arctic region (as defined by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP)) most research in the Faroes can be considered of relevance to the Arctic. Several institutes or departments are research-performing and here we highlight a few. The Department of Public and Occupational Health performs long-term monitoring of health issues of relevance for the people of the Faroe Islands and circumpolar countries. Focus is on health risks to children and adults caused by methylmercury, PCB and other contaminants in marine foods, including whales. High parts of the Faroese mountains are included in the Arctic biome, and the Faroese Geological Survey carries out geoscientific research in this domain. Several Arctic-relevant social science studies take place at the University of the Faroe Islands, aimed at self-governing areas, Gender Equality and Cooperation networks.

Deployment of a current meter mooring (credits: Karin M.H. Larsen)

A glimpse on the Netherlands Polar Programme

The Netherlands have a long history in polar research. This research has always been conducted by different research institutes and includes a broad variety of disciplines, both from natural sciences, social sciences and humanities. This is reflected in this overview of Dutch polar PhD theses. Since 1984 the Netherlands has a dedicated polar programme: the Netherlands Polar Programme (NPP). The Netherlands is a member of the ATS and an observer to the AC. Dutch researchers take actively part in the work of four working groups of the AC: AMAP, CAFF, SDWG and PAME. This work is carried out by the Arctic Centre of the University of Groningen (AMAP, CAFF and SDWG) and Wageningen University and Research (Marine Litter Group of PAME). Dutch polar scientists are also involved in working groups of IASC and SCAR. For international logistics coordination, the NPP is involved in FARO and SCAR. The NPP also supports young polar scientists through APECS.

 The Dutch Research Council NWO is the official Dutch partner in EU-PolarNet 2. In the person of Annette Scheepstra, who acts not only as the so-called stakeholder guardian within the project, but also as a liaison for the Dutch polar research community, the Netherlands is strongly engaged in and committed to the project. NWO is also hosting the secretariat of the European Polar Board since 2015, another key partner in the project.

The Dutch polar science community currently includes scientists from approximately fifteen universities and pubic research institutes. NWO has a special Polar Programme (NPP) that is funded by five different Ministries (the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science; Ministry of Infrastructure & Water Management; Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy; Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality; Ministry of Foreign Affairs). The Netherlands has an Arctic Station in Ny-Ålesund. And mobile laboratories – the Dirck Gerritsz Lab – at the British Rothera station in Antarctica.

Recently, the NPP published a new strategy document for the period 2021-25, in parallel with the new polar strategy of the Dutch government (Prepared for Change). The wide range of research topics conducted by Dutch polar researchers is reflected in 4 focus themes: Climate change, Ecosystem dynamics, Social sciences, and Sustainable development.

From 13-22 July 2022, 55 scientists together with policy makers, press and tourists will go on a multidisciplinary expedition to Edgeøya an island in East Svalbard. Most scientists come from different Dutch knowledge institutes, but also some Norwegian and German colleagues will be present. The expedition goals are to:

  • Observe ongoing environmental change, use new technologies and expand datasets;
  • Bring scientists, policy makers and politicians together to improve scientific collaboration;
  • Engage next generation polar researchers;
  • Improve international cooperation
  • To achieve similar success in outreach as the
For further science highlights »
Netherlands Polar Programme (credits: NWO)
Netherlands Polar Programme (credits: NWO)

A glimpse on the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat

As a government agency, the Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (SPRS) is mandated to co-ordinate and promote Swedish polar research. The agency’s primary mission is to organise and support research expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic regions.  SPRS manages research infrastructure such as the Abisko Scientific Research Station in the northern Swedish subarctic environment, the research stations Wasa and Svea in Antarctica, and charter the icebreaker Oden for expeditions. SPRS also helps to create favourable conditions for polar research that does not involve fieldwork. SPRS follows and supports scientists from concept to publication, through research expeditions and other data collection, as well as making data available and communicating research findings. SPRS also works actively to improve environmental protection in the polar regions and issues permits according to the Swedish Antarctic Act.

The Swedish Polar Research Secretariat contributes to EU-PolarNet 2 through WP 2, Stakeholder Involvement, and WP 4, Research Optimisation. SPRS is responsible for deliverables D2.7, Minutes of the third transdisciplinary workshop, and D4.5, Recommendations and examples of best practices in bi-and multilateral sharing of resources. SPRS is also involved in WP 1, Research Coordination, and WP 5, Policy Advice, Dissemination and Communication, and will support other EU-PolarNet activities with its expertise.

Swedish polar research is performed at many universities. The scientists work in the Arctic and Antarctica, with ship- and land-based research. The topics cover research themes as natural and social science and humanities. Sweden also promotes international coordination and cooperation in science and logistics in the polar regions.

DML 21-22: After a ten-day storm, the researchers can finally go out into the field during DML 2021/22. (credits: Ola Andersson)

In 2020, SPRS adopted a new framework to facilitate planning of research, the Polar Research Process. The purpose is to plan and offer participation in large and complex field operations, based on the interests of the research community. To further increase the utilisation of Swedish polar research, a synthesis report with a link between research and society will be produced within the process.

Different national research funding agencies provide funding. SPRS supports research in different ways, such as access to infrastructure and logistic support. In 2021, SPRS launched the website Polar Researchers in Sweden, a network of researchers at the universities.

“In 2021, SPRS conducted the Synoptic Arctic Survey expedition in the Arctic Ocean with the IB Oden. It was part of an international initiative where Oden was one of several research vessels that will map the Arctic Ocean in 2020 – 2022. SPRS also organised the Antarctic expedition Dronning Maud Land 2021/22. One of the objectives was for the researchers to implement a snow measurement program to validate satellite measurements of the ice sheet.

Tentative timetable for IB Oden 2022-2024 (including geographical area and partners)

Year Expedition Geographical area Partners Acronym
Arctic Ocean Paleoceanography
Lomonosov Ridge
ArcOP 2022
Atmospheric rivers and the onset of sea-ice melt
Arctic Ocean
SPRS, open to partners
ARTofMELT (Polar Research Process)
Eurasian-Arctic shelf-basin interactions of climate-cryosphere-carbon-contaminants
Eurasian Arctic and the transpolar drift
SPRS, open to partners
EURASIAN ARCTIC C4 (Polar Research Process)
North Greenland Earth-Ocean-Ecosystem Observatory
Northern Greenland
SPRS, open to partners
GEOEO (Polar Research Process)
SAS 2021: Melt pond sampling during Synoptic Arctic Survey 2021. (credits: Maria Samuelsson)

Curious about what’s up next? Get a first glimpse of where to meet up with EU-PolarNet 2 this year.
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