Polar Research for Science and Society

The significance of the Polar Regions as key components of a tele-connected Earth System, influencing climate, weather, and future sea level rise at lower latitudes; and in turn themselves influenced by tropical and mid-latitude processes, is well recognised by the international scientific community. The value to society of the living resources of both polar regions and, in the case of the Arctic, its mineral resources, is also acknowledged. Increasing accessibility in the polar regions brings an increasing human footprint and the need for appropriate sustainable management of polar resources and support for polar societies which will require a framework of reliable scientific knowledge to address effectively.

Scientific and technological advances across various environmental spheres generate substantial amounts of scientific data, and polar research has made very significant contributions in recent decades but the polar regions remain comparatively data-poor and the data distribution is very patchy for some disciplines, when compared to lower latitudes.

All the above challenges will require substantial, ongoing scientific contributions from the research community. There is, further, a clear case in the harsh and isolated polar environments for innovative technologies to be developed and deployed to support scientific investigations as well as increased use of products from existing and planned remote sensing satellite platforms.

EU-PolarNet’s strong connections to both the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) will drive forward the development of a European Research Programme that has clear strategic European science priorities and a distinct direction for the management and development of the polar infrastructure required to support them. Our new approach of involving stakeholders from the outset to co-design research proposals will ensure that scientific research outcomes are directly relevant and beneficial to society and business.


  • Task 2.1: Identification of key polar research questions for Europe

  • Task 2.2: Development of co-designed White Papers addressing urgent polar research questions

  • Task 2.3: Optimisation of existing monitoring and modelling programmes

  • Task 2.4: Integrated European Polar Research Programme


  • Improve coordination in European Polar Research and develop an Integrated European Polar Research Programme co-designed from the outset with all relevant stakeholders.

  • Support the coordination and optimisation of existing polar monitoring and modelling programmes and related infrastructure operated by European nations as well as improve links to non-European programmes such as SEARCH, AON in the United States, and ArcticNet in Canada.

  • Provide a platform and mechanisms for European polar scientists from all the major European institutions to work together to identify current and emerging research goals that will advance Earth System Science and, particularly, a much better understanding of the Polar Regions.

  • Work in partnership with IASC, SCAR and other organisations with responsibility for coordinating longer-term international polar research activities in one or both Polar Regions (such as the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) or the International Permafrost Association (IPA)) to influence future funding from national, EU and international agencies.

  • Bring together and critically review the polar-related research priorities identified by international and national bodies to establish those priorities of particular relevance to Europe.

  • Facilitate a more effective dialogue between a wide range of stakeholders, to allow them to present their views on the priority issues for Polar Regions and identify their needs from the European research community.

  • Build on the knowledge and experience of previous international initiatives to deliver an ambitious, but realistic strategic implementation plan for a European Polar Research Programme and provide guidance to research programme managers and funding agencies for its realisation.

  • Build on the success of one-off EU funded polar projects in recent Framework Programmes (notably in FP6 and FP7) such as DAMOCLES, SEARCH for DAMOCLES, ACCESS, EURO-POLAR, PAGE21, Past4Future, ArcRisk and INTERACT, and more recent projects such as ICE-ARC.

Work Package lead

Johan Etourneau
Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS)
Paris, France