POLARIN: New international network for polar research infrastructure | Polarjournal
The German Neumayer Station in Antarctica is just one of the 64 research facilities that researchers can use as part of the POLARIN network. Photo: Klaus Guba

The EU is funding the new POLARIN (Polar Research Infrastructure Network) research infrastructure project with a total of 14.6 million euros over the next five years through the HORIZON EUROPE framework programme. Fifty institutions have formed an international network to provide access to research infrastructure in the polar regions. The project is being coordinated by the German Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research.

In future, nations operating in the Arctic and Antarctic want to make more joint use of the extensive existing polar research infrastructure, such as stations and icebreakers, which will save costs and make polar research more sustainable. An ambitious project, the implementation of which can begin immediately, reports the AWI in a press release dated 29 February. Officially launched on 1 March, the new POLARIN (Polar Research Infrastructure Network) project, funded by the European Union with around 14.6 million euros and coordinated by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), will in future provide a network of 50 institutions from 21 countries with access to research infrastructure in the polar regions. POLARIN aims to promote interdisciplinary research in order to overcome the scientific challenges in both polar regions.

The background to the initiation of this unique project, which will immensely strengthen polar research, are the increasingly important complex environmental processes in the Arctic and Antarctic, which significantly influence the Earth’s climate. In order to better understand and predict them and to be able to pass on data-based recommendations to policymakers, the polar research community needs access to world-class polar research infrastructures, according to the press release.

The network includes numerous European partner institutions such as Aarhus University, the Greenland Nature Institute, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Italian National Research Council (CNR), the National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine and the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ). Institutions from Chile, Canada and the USA are also involved. The complete list of participating institutions can be viewed on CORDIS.

The POLARIN project also offers the possibility of requesting data remotely without the need for the researchers to be on site. Photo: Elke Ludewig

Within the framework of POLARIN, a total of 64 leading polar research facilities will be available for the network. These include Arctic and Antarctic research stations, research vessels and icebreakers, observatories on land and at sea, data infrastructures as well as ice and sediment core repositories.

On the one hand, researchers will be able to carry out their research at the various facilities. On the other hand, they can also receive virtual access to data infrastructures, for example. In addition, it is possible to remotely request samples, data sets or similar that are collected by researchers on site without the need for the enquirers to be on site themselves.

“What sets POLARIN apart is that, for the first time, we’ll be offering access to research infrastructures in the Arctic and Antarctic alike through a single project,” Dr. Nicole Biebow, POLARIN project coordinator at the AWI, said in the press release. “We’ve created a network of dovetailing and interdisciplinary research infrastructures that encompasses all related research areas – from marine and terrestrial research to the atmosphere. The approach is innovative and unique. It’s the only project of its kind.”

POLARIN also considers the young generation of polar researchers, who are offered training on the optimal use of infrastructures for their research. In addition, online services, data access and interoperability between the systems used are to be improved.

Julia Hager, PolarJournal

Featured image: Stefanie Arndt / AWI

More information about the project: https://cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101130949

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