Press release

European scientific organisations establish alliance for climate research

[05. October 2011] 

Bremerhaven, 5 October 2011. A group of leading climate research organisations from eight European countries established the European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA) in the European Parliament yesterday. Prof. Dr. Karin Lochte, Director of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research, signed the cooperation agreement on behalf of all research centres of the Helmholtz Association that conduct climate research. The European Climate Research Alliance constitutes a powerful network for tackling the scientific challenges of climate change in a combined effort.


“At the national level the partner institutions have first-class resources for pushing forward climate research, but we don’t work together enough. Through the alliance we can coordinate the capacities of the individual partners in a more targeted manner and utilise this capacity for joint research programmes,” Karin Lochte explains a key advantage of the cooperation. Personnel resources, modelling capacity, expeditions and research infrastructure are to be bundled in the alliance. “We need such effective partnerships to better understand the complex Earth system and find meaningful adaptation strategies for Europe,” states the director of the Alfred Wegener Institute.


Members of the European Parliament (Vittorio Prodi, Jo Leinen, Bas Eickhout) and members of the European Commission (Robert-Jan Smits, Torsten Wöllert) were patrons of the ceremonial signature. The Nobel Prize winner for chemistry (1995), Prof. Dr. Paul Crutzen, held the formal address. He is the originator of the term “Anthropocene”, which describes the intense intervention of humankind in the Earth system during this era. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Helmholtz Association support the establishment of the European Climate Research Alliance (ECRA).


The following institutions in eight countries are involved in ECRA: the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres (HGF), the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (ENEA), the Royal Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI), das Norwegian Meteorological Institute (NMI), the Spanish Research Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology (CIEMAT) and the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI).


Notes for Editors: Your contact person is Ralf Röchert, Communications and Media Relations (tel: +49 (0)471 4831-1680; e-mail:


The Alfred Wegener Institute conducts research in the Arctic, Antarctic and oceans of the high and middle latitudes. It coordinates polar research in Germany and provides major infrastructure to the international scientific community, such as the research icebreaker Polarstern and stations in the Arctic and Antarctica. The Alfred Wegener Institute is one of the seventeen research centres of the Helmholtz Association, the largest scientific organisation in Germany.



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Das Institut

Das Alfred-Wegener-Institut forscht in den Polarregionen und Ozeanen der mittleren und hohen Breiten. Als eines von 19 Forschungszentren der Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft koordiniert es Deutschlands Polarforschung und stellt Schiffe wie den Forschungseisbrecher Polarstern und Stationen für die internationale Wissenschaft zur Verfügung.