19 May, 2015

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.

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. This legacy from EU-PolarNet will be sustained into the future by the European Polar Board, all of whose members are integrally involved with the project.

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”.

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is playing a leading role in EU-PolarNet. Director, Professor Jane Francis says,

“I am very pleased to be involved with this new Coordination Action. The UK has a vibrant scientific community and excellent polar infrastructure – especially in Antarctica. With this new network there is huge potential not only to shape future European polar research programmes but also to enhance the high-quality operational support for science through even better cooperation and coordination. Our clear ambition to connect science with society demonstrates our commitment to working closely with business and policy-making communities to generate new knowledge and advice that will help people live with and adapt to future environmental change.”

EU-Polarnet is a Horizon 2020 funded Coordination Action.

Full information about the programme and its participants is at www.eu-polarnet.eu

Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press Office.

Contact:

Athena Dinar: Tel: +44 (0)1223 221441, +44 (0)7909 008516 email: [email protected]

Notes for editors

EU-PolarNet benefits from its close cooperation with the European Polar Board (EPB). The EPB is a think tank and the European high-level facilitator of cooperation between European national funding agencies, national polar institutes and research organisations. Outcomes from EU-PolarNet will add long-term value to EPB activity in providing strategic science policy advice to the European Commission and other international bodies. A major benefit of the involvement and support of the EPB is that the legacy of EU-PolarNet can be reliably sustained by the Board into the future.

British Antarctic Survey (BAS), a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), delivers and enables world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that uses the Polar Regions to advance our understanding of Earth as a sustainable planet. Through its extensive logistic capability and know-how BAS facilitates access for the British and international science community to the UK polar research operation. Numerous national and international collaborations, combined with an excellent infrastructure help sustain a world leading position for the UK in Antarctic affairs. For more information visit:www.antarctica.ac.uk.

EU-PolarNet Participants