Infrastructures, Facilities and Data

Europe has a long tradition and a very strong reputation for world-class scientific research in the polar regions. This research is enabled and supported by significant and substantial scientific infrastructures, facilities and platforms operated by many European nations in both the Arctic and Antarctica. Whilst there is already a degree of coordination and cooperation between European polar operators there is great potential for these considerable resources to be used more coherently and effectively to deliver the highest quality European research. There is also a significant opportunity to link much more productively with other nations in the wider international polar science community, including those without infrastructure or facilities and with businesses that operate infrastructures in the Polar Regions, such as shipping. This will allow implementation of mechanisms for joint programming of infrastructure, particularly of polar ships to allow bigger and more complex science projects to be undertaken.

The data produced by European polar research is difficult and expensive to collect and needs to be effectively managed, served, and archived for a wide range of users. However, polar data management has lacked central co-ordination at the European level, and as a result is fragmented and the data often very difficult to access and use or be supplied in a timely manner. There is also a need to link with data sets held by other polar nations, particularly those in North America, with a similarly long record of polar research.


  • Task 3.1 – Polar Platforms: research ships, stations, aircraft and autonomous instrumentation

  • Task 3.2 – Satellites, communication and remote sensing

  • Task 3.3 – Data Management and Interoperability


  • Design a resource-oriented European infrastructure access and usage plan for the Integrated Polar Research Programme.

  • Work towards a coordinated European polar research data infrastructure and improve open access to quality-controlled data.

  • Enable far better coordination among European partners to maximise the use of polar research infrastructures, facilities and assets, in order to optimize their use, broaden opportunities for participation by scientists and equipment, and allow multiple-platform science missions.

  • Identify short-term and long-term scientific needs for European polar research infrastructures to address gaps and give recommendations for adjustments and better use of available infrastructures.

  • Interact with businesses that operate infrastructure in Polar Regions and work towards charged usage of these infrastructures.

  • Bring together and build on current EU polar networking and infrastructure activities (e.g. Svalbard Integrated Earth Observing System (SIOS), Integrated Carbon Observation System (ICOS), European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and Water Column Observatory (EMSO), EISCAT-3D, EUROFLEETS2, Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium for Europe (ARICE), International Network for Terrestrial Research and Monitoring in the Arctic (INTERACT) and Fixed-point Open Ocean Observatories (FixO3)) to establish the principles and mechanisms for wider transnational scientific access to European infrastructures and facilities, including research stations, ships, aircraft and large instruments.

  • Work with operational managers of national polar programmes to develop a decadal scale integrated infrastructure implementation plan funded by national partners.

  • Determine the best approach to wider and more coordinated use of space-based assets, spanning satellite communication, navigation and observation, to support European polar operators.