Britain in the Arctic

The UK Arctic science community is active and growing

Britain’s role in Arctic research is managed by the NERC Arctic Office at British Antarctic Survey, which supports the Arctic science community in the UK. Funding by the Natural Environment Research Council  for UK Arctic environmental research has steadily risen over the past decade, funding large research programmes such as the Arctic Research Programme  (2011 to 2017) the NERC Changing Arctic Ocean Programme (2017 to 2022) and the Canada-Inuit Nunangat-United Kingdom Arctic Research Programme (2022 to 2025).

filming at ny alesund
The international research community in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard – home to the UK Arctic Research Station managed by BAS.

‘Adapting To Change – UK policy towards the Arctic’

The UK is not an Arctic State, but it is the Arctic’s nearest neighbour. In this Policy Framework the FCO has outlined what expertise the UK can offer to help meet some of the long-term challenges facing the region and to ensure a sustainable future. The UK will continue to support and respect the sovereign rights of the Arctic States; the people who live and work in the Arctic; and the unique and fragile natural environment.

UK Arctic Research Station

The UK’s only long-term presence in the high Arctic is the UK Arctic Research Station, which is operated and managed by British Antarctic Survey and located in the international research community at Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard.

Ny-Ålesund provides a unique polar research environment that promotes cross-discipline research and international cooperation, collaboration and understanding.

The NERC's UK Arctic Research Station, run by the British Antarctic Survey, at Ny Alesund on Svalbard
The UK Arctic Research Station, managed by BAS in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard.

The Station, established by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) in 1991, provides logistical facilities and accommodation for researchers from UK universities, research institutes and other recognised organisations (and their international collaborators) wanting to carry out environmental research relevant to the NERC science remit.

British Antarctic Survey supports field operations with light aircraft, an ice-strengthened research ship and experts in field safety.