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.  The University of Oulu and the Thule Institute represents Finland in this programme.

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. 

Thule Institute, University of Oulu represents Finland in EU-PolarNet. Research coordinator, Dr Kirsi Latola from the Thule Institute comments: "EU-PolarNet represents a fantastic challenge for leaders of national polar research programmes.  EU-PolarNet will 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.

Full information about the programme and its participants is at

Contact person for EU-PolarNet in Finland:

Kirsi Latola
Thule Institute
Tel.:+358 294 483565
E-Mail: kirsi.latola(at)


EU-PolarNet Participants

Alfred Wegener Institut Helmholtz Zentrum für Polar und Meeresforschung (AWI)

Centre National de la Recherché Scientifique (CNRS)

British Antarctic Survey (NERC-BAS)

Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche - Department of Earth System Science and Environmental Technologies. (CNR-DTA)

Polarfoskningssekretariatet (SPRS)

Institut Polaire Français Paul Emile Victor (IPEV)

Instituto de Geografia e Ordenamento do Território da Universidade e Lisboa (IGOT-UL)

Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (RUG)

Norges Forskningråd  (RCN)

Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad (MINECO)

Agencia Estatal Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC)

Universität Wien - Austrian Polar Research Institute (UW-APRI)

Bulgarian Antarctic Institute (BAI)

Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS)

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)

Oulun Yliopisto (UOULU)

Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique (RBINS)

 Instytut Geofizyki Polskiej Akademii Nauk (IGF PAS)

Tallinna Tehnikaülikool (IG TUT)

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme Secretariat (AMAP)

WOC- World Ocean Council

Gronlands Naturinstitut (GINR)


Last updated: 20.5.2015