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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research Special issue - May 2005   

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Title  The European Polar Board

Established in 1995, the European Polar Board (EPB) is the European Science Foundation’s strategic advisory committee on science policy in the polar regions. It comprises 19 European Union and pre-accession countries, as well as external members such as the Russian Federation.

Logo European Polar Board
Concerned with major strategic priorities in the Arctic and Antarctic, the EPB is funded by its members to act as a strategic voice and facilitator of cooperation between national polar institutes, research organisations and funding agencies.

Major initiatives
Since its creation, the EPB has been very dynamic in developing and supporting a whole series of strategic initiatives such as the proposal for a state-of-the-art, pan-European icebreaker, Aurora Borealis, and the proposal for a strategic framework for coordination of European polar research, to be taken forward by a European Polar Consortium.

The long collaboration between France and Russia at Vostok station on invaluable ice-coring work has deepened the scientific links between Russia and Europe.
The long collaboration between France and Russia at Vostok station on invaluable ice-coring work has deepened the scientific links between Russia and Europe.
Endorsements and co-operation
Other initiatives by the EPB include its role in the European endorsement of the 2007-2008 International Polar Year, as well as efforts to coordinate EU projects and proposals in both the natural and the social sciences.

The EPB is also actively in dialogue with the US National Science Foundation (NSF) on a series of joint initiatives, and it is hoped that a position paper on the subject of US/European collaboration in polar regions will be developed during the next year.

Future directions
According to Paul Egerton, EPB Executive Secretary, the Board will, in 2005, give strong support to the European Polar Consortium’s activities, including through coordinating the views of EPB members’ national polar research bodies.

The European Polar Consortium

Logo European Polar Consortium
The European Polar Consortium (EPC) is the brainchild of the European Polar Board and represents the next step towards the development of a ‘European polar entity’ that will enable Europe to maximise and direct its critical mass at a global level.

The EPC is composed of 25 ministries, funding agencies and national polar agencies from 19 member countries, including Russia, and was launched in March this year.

The EPC’s brief is to develop a four-year strategic plan and timetable, under the auspices of the EU, which would see European nations, including new EU members, increasingly collaborate in their activities in the polar regions. The resulting common access to infrastructure and transnational programme development would further strengthen European research and Europe’s voice in international polar forums. The EPC is supported by ERA-NET (the EU scheme promoting coordinated European research) under the EU Sixth Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP6). 

Through mapping Europe’s strengths and breaking down legal and administrative barriers to cooperation between research agencies, the Consortium expects to promote valuable synergies in the major areas of European scientific expertise, including climatology, ice coring science and new frontier research areas such as astronomy, astrophysics and life in extreme environments.

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