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Institute of Natural Sciences, and the World

Ocean Council.

It is hoped that by establishing an ongoing

dialogue between policy makers, business and

industrial leaders, local communities and

scientists, EU-PolarNet will help to create an

‘integrated European research programme for

the Antarctic and the Arctic’.

EU agenda

According to the BAS, polar issues have been

rising up the political agenda across Europe

over the past decade, and the level of

investment now being made by governments is

a clear demonstration of the critical nature of

polar research in forming key policies,

particularly those that help to address the great

social challenges. Key sectors include climate

change, energy security and global food

security, in addition to innovation and

encouraging economic growth.

A key role for EU-PolarNet is to co-operate

closely with the Commission to provide support

and advice on all issues related to the polar

regions. Commenting, Dr Andrea Tilche, head

of the Climate Action and Earth Observation

Unit, DG Research and Innovation in the

European Commission, said new efforts are to

be greeted with positivity and would provide

new opportunities for discussion: “The

European Commission welcomes this new Co-

ordination 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.”

UK role

For over 60 years, the BAS has undertaken the

majority of the UK’s scientific research on and

around the Antarctic continent. The

organisation, based in Cambridge, has a budget

of £50.4m (~€70m) for 2014-2015 and is a

component of the Natural Environment


he polar regions of the Earth are benefitting from significant

financing from the EU’s research and innovation framework

programme. It has been announced that Horizon 2020 has

funded a new initiative to enhance the integration of Europe’s scientific

and operational capabilities in these cold, inhospitable, yet

environmentally significant areas.

The five-year EU-PolarNet programme brings together 22 of Europe’s

internationally respected multidisciplinary research institutions to

develop and deliver an integrated European polar research programme

that is supported by accessing first class operational polar

infrastructures. It is the world’s largest consortium of expertise and

infrastructure for polar research.

Key research

The scheme is receiving nearly €2.2m from the EU R&I framework

programme and, as a Horizon 2020 Co-ordination and Support Action,

is receiving 100% of its funding from the European Commission.

According to the EU institution, Co-ordination Actions consist ‘primarily

of accompanying measures such as standardisation, dissemination,

awareness raising and communication, networking, co-ordination or

support services, policy dialogues and mutual learning exercises and

studies, including design studies for new infrastructure, and may also

include complementary activities of strategic planning, networking and

co-ordination between programmes in different countries.’

EU-PolarNet will involve stakeholders to create a suite of research

proposals whose scientific outcomes are directly relevant and beneficial

to European society and its economy. Partners involved in the project

include the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), France’s National Center for

Scientific Research, the Research Council of Norway, the Royal Belgian


H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L



Witnessing cold change

With Horizon 2020 funding a polar Co-ordination and Support Action,


investigates the project’s background, key objectives and the importance of

bringing together leading international researchers

EU-PolarNet brings

together key European

players to create an

integrated polar

research programme