19th May 2015 – Press Release No. 01/15
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".
EU-PolarNet is coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany. Director, Professor Karin Lochte comments: "EU-PolarNet represents a fantastic challenge for leaders of national polar research programmes. It is our ambition to enhance the high-level of collaboration and cooperation that exists currently across Europe and the rest of the world. Our network is ideally positioned to play a leading international role in forming new partnerships within scientific, business and policy-making communities. The knowledge and discoveries that we make in the polar regions have an impact on our daily lives. This is a very exciting time for polar science."
EU-Polarnet is a Horizon 2020 funded Coordination Action.
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.