Thematic Activities

Work Packages (WPs)

Research Coordination - WP1

A. Quesada

Antonio Quesada

WP1 leader
Ministry of Science and Innovation (MICINN)


Cooperation is very well developed in Polar research due to safety, logistical and budgetary necessities. Many European Polar research programmes jointly operate and share expensive infrastructures or are partners in multi-national infrastructure consortia. The international Polar community has also shown an impressive willingness to work together in large-scale programmes such as the MOSAiC expedition, sharing facilities, results and data. These large international efforts usually coalesce around a grand challenge or difficult complex issues that cannot be tackled by one country alone, and so are generally one-off initiatives. In order to sustain the extensive cooperation generated during such activities EU-PolarNet 2 will strengthen the European Polar Research Area by establishing tools and services to sustain a durable intra- European and international cooperation in Polar Research.

EU-PolarNet 2 will coordinate of the EU Polar Cluster, a growing network of EU-funded Arctic and Antarctic research projects and as such a pre-existing example for improved cooperation. The Cluster merges a broad spectrum of research and coordination activities and contributes with European-generated knowledge to decision making.

EU-PolarNet 2 will build on the coordination experience of EU-PolarNet 1 and will ensure good cooperation among the Cluster projects by creating a joint identity, formalising communication structures and ensuring regular exchange between the Cluster’s members and its task groups. EU-PolarNet 2 will stimulate and involve the Cluster projects in joint outreach activities for the general public, joint presentations at scientific conferences and in EU-PolarNet 2 briefings, and it will support the identification of synergistic activities among member projects.

To further advance the cooperation, EU-PolarNet 2 will create and apply information and engagement tools to coordinate European Polar research, such as a moderated online catalyst platform to share best practises and co-develop new ideas, regular online meetings and newsletters. EU-PolarNet 2 will also assess the possibility of organising a regular European Polar conference highlighting European research in both Polar Regions and providing a holistic perspective on scientific challenges at both poles. Until now, such conferences have seldom been held but have demonstrated synergies. The project will evaluate the success of these tools and will combine the successful ones as Cooperation Tools to be sustained in the EPCO.

EU-PolarNet 2 will facilitate the cooperation in Polar research with non-European partners, international agencies and programmes by connecting them with European Polar researchers. It will apply the tools developed during the project to support this e.g. to assist the EC in implementing the All-Atlantic Research Alliance, and the G7 Future of the Seas and Ocean Initiative.


The objectives of this work package are to:

Task 1.1. – Coordinate the EU Polar Cluster to ensure common support for dissemination, exploitation and valorisation of research and innovation results of the Cluster projects as a joint initiative. This  task will focus on:

  • Defining the vision and mission of the EU Polar Cluster and developing the terms of reference and the requisites for projects to become members.
  • Supporting the creation of an EU Polar Cluster corporate identity for member projects ensuring a balanced Arctic and Antarctic representation in all the coordinated actions.
  • Overseeing the actions in the four current EU Polar Cluster task groups, taking care of regular exchange between the task group leads.
  • Organising yearly meetings of the EU Polar Cluster members, coordinating joint cluster activities at conferences (thematic workshops, booths or panel discussions), and supporting joint policy briefings.

Task 1.2. – Develop Cooperation Tools to ease facilitation and promote better coordination at all levels including, EU Polar Cluster, national programmes, European, and global programmes. This  task will focus on:

  • Facilitating the interaction among national Polar research programme operators in Europe by implementing tools for improving coordination.
  • Strengthening the information availability by generating a catalogue of national Polar research programmes.
  • Supporting information sharing and interaction of European Polar researchers by organising thematic webinars on topics of importance for the whole community.
  • Publishing a yearly summary report with information about important activities of the European national Polar programmes.
  • Developing a “catalyst platform” to promote and support the development of ideas for international European-led large-scale Polar initiatives (Cooperation Tool).
  • Supporting WP3 by informing and triggering input from the European Polar community on the research prioritisation process.

Task 1.3. – Liaise with overseas partners and activities to increase the perspective and added value of the European investments in science, and to coordinate the participation in larger initiatives. This  task will focus on:

  • Developing strong linkages and identifying areas of common interest between the EU and other countries and organisations, including ESA, SCAR, IASC, IASSA, WMO.
  • Ensuring clear communication of science challenges and activities between the EC (DG RTD, Copernicus) and ESA (Polar Science Cluster and new the Future Earth Observation programme.
  • Providing European and international researchers with a platform to interact by organising meetings as side events to Polar conferences or virtually by webinars.
  • Translating the EU-PolarNet 1 international cooperation strategy into action by improving the interaction between the relevant partners and European Polar researchers.
  • Assisting WP3 in identifying and prioritising large overseas initiatives.

Stakeholder Involvement - WP2

K. Latola (UOULU)

Kirsi Latola

WP2 leader
University of Oulu (UOULU)

Annette Scheepstra

Annette Scheepstra

Stakeholder guardian Dutch Research Council (NWO)



The Polar Regions are currently facing challenges and opportunities related to climate change, governance, globalisation and an increased economic interest. Addressing these challenges in a sustainable, equitable and just manner, aligned with the SDGs, requires joint actions and new research-based solutions. These solutions must connect innovations, new ways of thinking with existing knowledge, including local and Indigenous Knowledge. This transdisciplinary approach is conducive to the necessary holistic understanding of the socio-ecological challenges in the Polar Regions. It is important to ensure that all relevant stake- and rightholders are engaged with or represented in transdisciplinary research and innovation actions in the Polar Regions. Only truly transdisciplinary research will enable full understanding of Polar issues, and the co-production of workable solutions. Co-design and co-production of knowledge will contribute to capacity building and fostering resilient Polar communities. It will also enable industries and businesses to co-develop new technologies and activities to support Blue Growth and sustainable development in the Polar Regions.

EU-PolarNet 2 will update the stakeholder map of EU-PolarNet 1 (D4.5)  to ensure that all relevant stake- and rightholders are involved in the prioritisation of Polar research needs and will co-design Polar research actions. It will build on the stakeholder input gathered in EU-PolarNet 1 and will organise transdisciplinary workshops and use other appropriate instruments (questionnaires, side-events at conferences, catalyst platform) for additional input. The experience from the stakeholder engagement in EU-PolarNet 1, which led to a fully co-designed EPRP is the backbone of this work. EU-PolarNet 2 will collect best practises, create processes and provide strategies for capacity building and continued meaningful stake- and rightholder involvement and make these publicly available in an online repository (Stakeholder Involvement Tool for the EPCO).

An integral component of the project is to ensure that all relevant EU-PolarNet 2 activities employ a transdisciplinary approach. The project will therefore implement a stakeholder guardian, who will develop guidelines for stakeholder engagement and who will continuously oversee and evaluate the project’s activities in this respect following the recommendations of the EU-PolarNet 1 White paper on the status of stakeholder engagement in Polar research (D4.15) and of Baer et al. (2019). This White paper includes a stakeholder survey which emphasises their engagement preferences.


The objectives of this work package are to:

Task 2.1. – Collect research and innovation needs from stake- and rightholder as input in the research prioritisation process in WP3. This  task will focus on:

  • Delivering co-designed input of societally relevant research needs to the research prioritisation process of WP3 by organising at least three transdisciplinary workshops and applying other appropriate instruments to engage with stake- and rightholders.
  • Identifying the needs raised by Indigenous and local communities for the co-design and co-development new research projects and CBM in support of T6.1.

Task 2.2. – Develop a repository for meaningful stakeholder involvement (Stakeholder Involvement Tool) that enables strategies for capacity building for Polar stake- and rightholders including early career researchers. This  task will focus on:

  • Collecting and analysing best practices, existing information and successful strategies for meaningful stakeholder involvement and capacity building from the EU Polar Cluster and other relevant projects.
  • Establishing an online, open repository of collected best practices and successful strategies. The repository will be a living document, updated regularly throughout the project. After the end of EU-PolarNet 2, it will be maintained as Stakeholder Involvement Tool by the EPCO (WP6).

Task 2.3. – Safeguard and support transdisciplinary perspectives and focus on societal relevance in all EU-PolarNet 2 actions. This  task will focus on:

  • Up-dating the overview of stakeholders and stakeholder activities related to EU Polar Research in cooperation with the EU-Polar cluster projects.
  • Safeguarding and supporting transdisciplinary perspectives in all EU-PolarNet 2 activities during the entire project lifetime, based on the recommendation formulated in the stakeholder white paper of EU-PolarNet 1 and the guidelines developed by stakeholder guardian.
  • Evaluating the process and achievements of the stakeholder involvement and recommending modifications of the processes if necessary.

Research Prioritisation - WP3

C. Barbante (ISP-CNR)

Carlo Barbante

WP3 leader
Institute of Polar Sciences, National Research Council of Italy (ISP-CNR)


Polar Regions are complex systems that, despite improved observations, remain a challenge to monitor due to their vastness, extreme environmental conditions and low population density. Ongoing European and international observing and research efforts are thus not yet fully able to meet the demands for comprehensive and integrated information on Polar environments and of their role in influencing climatic or other processes at lower latitudes. There is an urgent need to address this, requiring enhanced common, long-term research strategies that are co-designed, co-produced, and co-managed with relevant stake- and rightholders.

EU-PolarNet 2 will involve the EU Polar Cluster projects to develop strategies to advance European Polar research in an international dimension through stakeholder involvement and co-designing of future research plans. The five EU-PolarNet 1 white papers and the EPRP will provide the foundation for this work. The EPRP is a cornerstone of the exercise aiming to integrate multi-national research perspectives with societal relevance by actively involving stakeholders at all levels of planning processes. EU-PolarNet 2 will prioritise and specify the key societally relevant Polar research themes defined in the EPRP, the white papers and in European Polar strategies. It will define these by implementing a Polar Expert Group (PEG) who will specify and customise the research themes for the research community and formulate achievable research actions to be carried out in the future. EU-PolarNet 2 will further identify and develop globally significant large-scale Polar research initiatives under which competitive European research groups can lead international research campaigns.

To involve the whole European research community and to gather “bottom-up” ideas for the research prioritisation process, EU-PolarNet 2 will seek support from the Polar community by providing service contracts to research groups to prepare pre-studies or to cultivate ideas into large-scale research projects of wide European interest and high societal relevance.

The experience gained with the research prioritisation process, including the Polar Expert Group, will be recorded and transferred as a Research Prioritisation Tool into the EPCO.


The objectives of this work package are to:

Task 3.1. – Develop future strategies to advance European Polar research in an international dimension, by prioritising research themes during transdisciplinary workshops and with the help of a Polar Expert Group (Research Prioritisation Tool). This  task will focus on:

  • Establishing and updating prioritised European and global Polar research questions.
  • Contributing to the implementation of the EPRP and the EU-PolarNet 1 white papers.
  • Setting up a PEG (Research Prioritisation Tool) to support the identification of specific research priorities to be further developed within thematic and transdisciplinary workshops co-organised with WP2.

Task 3.2. – Support the development of large-scale Polar research initiatives of global significance with European researchers in leading roles. This  task will focus on:

  • Identifying and promoting large-scale Polar initiatives on an international level.
  • Identifying the research focus areas which would benefit from coordinated large-scale Polar initiatives at an international level.
  • Proposing a model on how to better integrate European efforts into relevant large-scale Polar initiativesand how to sustain these initiatives or their legacy.

Task 3.3. – Seek bottom-up input to the research prioritisation process and support the preparation for research projects of European interest and high societal relevance by awarding service contracts in a competitive process (Research Prioritisation Tool). This  task will focus on:

  • Developing eligibility and selection criteria and a review system for the calls for services
  • Implementing three calls for services during EU-PolarNet 2.
  • Setting up a transparent and fair review system for the submitted applications.
  • Ensuring the results of the services feed into the research prioritisation process in T3.1 and T3.2.
  • Bringing mature actions for discussion and implementation to the funding agencies in WP4.

Research Optimisation - WP4

J. B. Ørbæk (RCN)

Jon Børre Ørbæk

WP4 leader
The Research Council of Norway (RCN)


The European Polar research funding landscape is diverse and complex. At a national level, Polar research funding structures vary widely across Europe. Some countries have specific Polar research funding programmes managed by national agencies or ministries, others have established national Polar research institutes, while some countries provide funding for Polar research through national open competitive calls for basic research. Significant collaborative European and international Polar research funding is also provided by the EU under H2020, by the Belmont Forum, and by other international and regional mechanisms. Bi- or multilaterally funded projects are impactful but sporadic, relying on countries’ individual efforts.

EU-PolarNet 2 aims to provide an overview and better understanding of the landscape of Polar research funding in Europe and of the diversity and coordination potential of European Polar research programmes. It will stimulate better alignment of the Polar research funding programmes by bringing national operators and funders of Polar research closer together. Based on improved sharing of information, programmes and strategies, EU-PolarNet 2 will contribute to improved coordination of the use of national resources and investments in European Polar research for their more effective use. By preparing the grounds for a continued and more formal networking among national Polar research funding agencies and operators, and EC representatives, EU-PolarNet 2 will strongly support the development of a European Polar Research Area, and enable a better coordination of European (Horizon Europe), national and global Polar research funding programmes. The network of research funding agencies will be a powerful tool to better understand the importance and the complementary roles of these entities, and to map out common ground and initiatives. It will be an effective and efficient forum for implementing the Polar research agenda. Its legacy will be maintained as part of a module (Research Optimisation Tool) in the EPCO. EU-PolarNet 2 will also demonstrate the effectiveness of and highlight best practices for bi- or multilateral infrastructure and logistic cooperation in Polar operations and research (Research Optimisation Tool), bringing forward selected pilot campaigns reliant on the sharing of resources and expertise both in the Arctic and in Antarctica. 


The objectives of this work package are to:

Task 4.1. – Provide an overview of the landscape of Polar research funding in Europe and a better understanding of the coordination potential of European Polar research funding programmes. This  task will focus on:

  • Mapping and analysing the diversity of funding programmes, capacities and funding structures in Europe and beyond.
  • Gathering information from relevant national Polar research funding agencies, national polar operators of research and logistics programmes, and ministries via a desk study and simple questionnaire assisted by each national representative in EU-PolarNet 2.
  • Developing a white paper addressed to the EC and national funding agencies which will visualise the coordination potential and added value of more formal information exchange between Polar research funding agencies in Europe.
  • Communicating the outcomes of the mapping exercise and the white paper to national agencies and the EC.

Task 4.2. – Support the development of a European Polar Research Area by networking with national Polar research funding agencies in Europe. This  task will focus on:

  • Increasing networking between national Polar research funding agencies and operators in Europe by organising a regular exchange of information, dialogue and meetings (Research Optimisation Tool).
  • Interacting with national funding agencies to discuss and share new opportunities for cooperation, thus providing a coordination platform to assist the EC and to support the establishment of a European Polar Research Area.
  • Identifying the funding needs and coordination potential of the research activities prioritised in WP3, with the aim to support their implementation with complementary actions and the sharing of roles and responsibilities between national and European programmes.
  • Assisting the EC by providing an interface to the Belmont Forum and ensuring coordination with issues brought up under the ASM and ATCM.
  • Preparing the ground for a possible joint programming initiative on Polar research under Horizon Europe, which will further strengthen the European Polar Research Coordination.

Task 4.3. – Demonstrate how cooperative actions and joint programming initiatives can add value and enable more synergetic use of European resources in Polar research. This  task will focus on:

  • Performing a desk study of suitable pilot studies to extract a set of selected success criteria as a basis for the selection of pilot studies. This will be supportedthrough interviews with Polar operators and the EPB Action Group on Infrastructure.
  • Selecting 3-4 pilot studies for which bilateral and multilateral sharing of resources and coordination would be beneficial and develop them further utilising the network of funding agencies and operators (T4.2). The selected pilot studies shall cover Antarctic and Arctic research programmes, and sharing of infrastructure, logistics and observing systems.
  • Evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the chosen pilot studies in terms of feasibility and resource efficiency.

Policy Advice, Dissemination and Communication - WP5

N. Biebow (AWI)

Nicole Biebow

WP5 leader
Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI)


The challenges caused by ongoing and predicted changes in the Polar Regions, together with political, socio-economic and environmental processes, demand the effective delivery of science-based information for political decision making. EU-PolarNet 2 will provide evidence-based advice in response to questions related to the Polar Regions from the EC and to other decision makers at national and regional levels. A representative group of European experts on Polar issues will be mobilised to establish a Policy Advisory Board (PAB) at the project’s outset to guarantee rapid response and evidence-based advice on pressing Polar scientific and socio-economic issues. EU-PolarNet 2 will release briefing documents for policymakers that will disseminate the outcomes of the research prioritisation process (WP3) to decision makers. EU-PolarNet 2 will provide knowledge-based strategic advice to support the EU´s international commitments with respect to the AC, the ATS, the Montreal protocol, the UNFCCC and other programmes related to Polar sciences. It will interact with national and European decision makers by organising targeted policy briefings on Polar issues and a Town Hall Meeting. EU-PolarNet 2 will be forward-looking and designed to allow strategic adaptation to new developments in Arctic and Antarctic policy. EU-PolarNet 2 will cooperate with the EU Polar Cluster projects to build capability in Europe for sustained policy advice on Polar issues. It will combine best practises with the experience gained during the project into a Policy Advice Tool for the EPCO.


The objectives of this work package are to:

Task 5.1. – Provide timely, evidence-based policy advice on request or on its own initiative. This  task will focus on:

  • Implementing a PAB to give policy advice on request at national or EU levels and building durable capacity for adequate policy responses from the European Polar research community.
  • Giving explicit and politically implementable policy recommendations on requests.

Task 5.2. – Disseminate EU-PolarNet 2´s results to target groups. This  task will focus on:

  • Disseminating EU-PolarNet2´s results and outcomes according to the four-year plan for strategic dissemination and exploitation
  • Developing an EU-PolarNet 2 communication pack (including standard text with key messages, visual assets such as logos, introductory leaflet, banner stands, photos and video clips, PowerPoint presentations) for partners to customise and use in their own outreach and engagement activities at conferences, business events, science festivals and others.
  • Communicating EU-PolarNet 2 news from the project for distribution to the media via press releases, newsletters, online news stories and e-communications.
  • Creating an online and social media presence, including a website addressing the public, and Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn accounts.

European Polar Coordination Office (EPCO) - WP6

R. Badhe (EPB)

Renuka Badhe

WP6 leader
European Polar Board (EPB)


Sustained observations are essential for predicting the evolution of changes in the Polar Regions and their impacts on local to global scales. EU-PolarNet 2 will facilitate better coordination of European Arctic and Antarctic observing efforts by developing a procedure to regularly gather information on national and European Polar observing capacities (Polar Observations Tool). EU-PolarNet 2 will cooperate closely with the EU Polar Cluster projects and especially with the H2020 funded project on Arctic observations INTAROS and with the project that will be funded under the topic LC-CLA-20-2020 (Supporting the implementation of GEOSS in the Arctic in collaboration with Copernicus) to develop this procedure. The information gathered with this procedure will form the basis of a unified European contribution to international Polar observing initiatives, including SAON, SOOS, AntOS, SIOS, GEO and GEOSS. EU-PolarNet 2 will initiate dialogues with national representatives and coordinators of Polar observing systems to effectively engage them. These dialogues will further consolidate the European contribution to Polar observations. EU-PolarNet 2 will also mobilise Polar observing experts to make implementable policy-level recommendations to accelerate the development of a sustained, fully integrated Polar observing system.

EU-PolarNet 2 will combine all successful tools that will be developed in WP1-6 (Cooperation, Stakeholder Involvement, Research Prioritisation, Research Optimisation, Policy Advice and Polar Observations Tools) into a modular toolkit. This toolkit will be complemented with terms of reference, a mission statement, a governance structure, financial plans, initial work plan and a process to identify a host organisation for a permanent European Polar Coordination Office (EPCO).


The objectives of this work package are to:

Task 6.1. – Facilitate better coordination of the European Polar observing community to provide a unified voice in international organisations and fora. This  task will focus on:

  • Ensuring the unified European contribution to Polar observations is recognised in international organisations and fora.
  • Supporting the acceleration of and ensuring European leadership in the development of a fully integrated Polar observing system.
  • Mobilising all project partners to identify national operators, users and funders of Polar observing systems.

Task 6.2. – Combine tools from WP1-6 to form a modular toolkit and develop the organisational, operational, financial, legal and governance and work plans for the EPCO. This  task will focus on:

  • Elaborating the structural and operational plans and the overall framework of the EPCO, ensuring it can be an effective conduit between the EC and the European Polar research and observing communities.
  • Appointment of national contact points for the EPCO, with clearly defined duties and responsibilities.

Task 6.3. – Define a process to identify a suitable host for the EPCO, in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way, considering the existing resources available in Europe, and combine the modular toolkit with office plans, to form a ready-to-implement EPCO package. This  task will focus on:

  • Developing long-term funding plans for the EPCO.
  • Defining a process to identify a suitable host entity for the EPCO.
  • Planning for the office’s initial work, ensuring a quick transition to an operational phase after implementation.

Project Management - WP7

N. Biebow (AWI)

Nicole Biebow

Project Coordinator and  WP7 leader
Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI)

Maria Eden

Maria Eden

EU Grant Manager
Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI)

Anneli Strobel

Anneli Strobel

    Project Manager     Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI)

Veronica Willmott

Verónica Willmott

Science Officer
Alfred-Wegener-Institut (AWI)


WP7 will ensure the appropriate project management and the effective, smooth and high-quality performance of the EU-PolarNet 2 project. It aims to support all other WPs with respect to contractual, financial, operational and strategic management, as well as by organising the general assemblies, workshops and policy briefings.


The objectives of this work package are to:

Task 7.1. – Conduct the contractual and financial management of the project. Specifically, this task will focus on:

  • Developing and implementing a quality assurance routine for the project.
  • Effectively managing the financial and contractual obligations of EU-PolarNet 2, including management of strategic changes and direction of funding during the 48-month duration of the project.
  • Handling the legal requirements on submission of audit certificates and financial reporting to the EC.
  • Ensuring the generation and submission of EU-PolarNet 2 periodic reports as defined in the Grant Agreement

Task 7.2. – Guarantee effective operational and strategic management and integrate all consortium partners. To fullfil this task, this work package will:

  • Ensure the due delivery of project deliverables according to the work plan based on the inputs of the WP leaders.
  • Assist the project partners by checking that the periodic reports and deliverables are in line with the EC rules and requirements.
  • Support the EU-PolarNet 2 management bodies (see section 3.2) by organising and preparing the respective meetings.
  • Sett up a project Advisory Board consisting of external experts.
  • Ensure that the decisions made by the General Assembly will be accomplished.
  • Implement and administer an interactive internal website that enables the workflow between all partners by sharing and storing documents, following the work plan, organising meetings and discussing special issues online.
  • Promote interaction among the consortium partners and ensure that all project partners are fully engaged.