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RTD info logoMagazine on European Research Special issue - May 2005   

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Title  SCAR and IASC: getting nations together

The Scientific Committee for Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) operate as separate but parallel organisations working under or in association with the International Council for Science (ICSU) to facilitate international polar research initiatives across all disciplines. Both have the most active European polar research nations as full members.

First established in 1957 as the then ICSU Special Committee on Antarctic Research in charge of coordinating the work of twelve nations involved in the International Geophysical Year of 1957-8, SCAR remains the only international, non-governmental organisation that can draw on the experience and expertise of scientists from all nations and across all disciplines to initiate and co-ordinate scientific research in Antarctica. In this capacity, SCAR is also an obvious source of advice on a wide range of scientific questions relating to Antarctica, and has provided such advice to the Antarctic Treaty System for the past 30 years.

The SCAR international scientific community meets every two years at the SCAR Delegates Meeting (most recently held in October 2004 at the Alfred Wegener Institut (AWI) in Bremerhaven, Germany) and the SCAR Secretariat is housed at the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) in Cambridge.

First established in 1990, the IASC, like the SCAR, is a non-governmental organisation whose aim is to encourage and facilitate cooperation in all aspects of Arctic research, in all countries engaged in Arctic research and in all areas of the Arctic region.

The 18 IASC member organisations are national science organisations covering all fields of Arctic research and the IASC acts as a consultative and testing forum for research proposals, especially encouraging those with a circum-Arctic or cooperative reach. According to Dr Professor Patrick J. Webber, IASC President, the next high priority is to establish an international science programme planned and recommended by the IASC.

With a secretariat in Oslo, Norway, the IASC science community meets annually at the IASC council meeting, the last of which was held in Reykjavik, Iceland, on 22 April 2004.

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