International Polar Research: Successful teamwork

Dr Nicole Biebow, head of the staff unit for International Cooperation at the Alfred Wegener Institute.

Science management

International cooperation

The polar regions are a key driving force for the Earth's climate and oceans. With the Alfred Wegener Institute's research in the Arctic and Antarctic, we contribute to the understanding of the global climate system. Nevertheless, one institute alone cannot answer all research questions in the polar regions.

Due to the remoteness of the polar regions and the high costs associated with research there, polar scientists and those responsible for research vessels, stations and aircraft have long worked together internationally. However, if we want to significantly advance knowledge and improve access to infrastructures or areas, we also need to keep expanding international cooperation in polar research to include all partners or states at the international level. For this reason, we are increasingly looking for bi- and multilateral cooperation opportunities to address these challenges.

At the AWI, we coordinate several large-scale EU research projects to understand the consequences of climate change in both polar regions and their global interconnections. One of these projects is EU-PolarNet, the world's largest consortium for polar research. EU-PolarNet advises the European Commission on all matters relating to the Arctic and Antarctic and is designated by the European Union as a central element of its joint polar research strategy. Another important EU project is ARICE, the Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium. Within its framework, international coordination of ship-based research in the Arctic is being expanded. ARICE will also give scientists from different countries access to a number of research icebreakers.