Interview with Nicole Biebow, coordinator of the EU-PolarNet project-Connecting Science with Society

EU-PolarNet is the world’s largest consortium of expertise and infrastructure for polar research. Seventeen countries are represented by 22 of Europe’s internationally-respected multi-disciplinary research institutions. From 2015-2020, EU-PolarNet will develop and deliver a strategic framework and mechanisms to prioritise science, optimise the use of polar infrastructure, and broker new partnerships that will lead to the co-design of polar research projects that deliver tangible benefits for society. By adopting a higher degree of coordination of polar research and operations than has existed previously the consortium engages in closer cooperation with all relevant actors on an international level.

  • How was the collaboration established and how were the partners on the other side of the Atlantic chosen?

We are at the very start of our collaboration with Canada.

The polar research community is small and we already knew the Canadian partners through meetings and conferences, so we did not have to look for new partners. There was no memorandum of understanding but a letter of intent was signed among us.

We are collaborating with the 3 key players in the field of polar research in Canada:

  • ArticNet
  • Polar Knowledge Canada
  • The University of Manitoba
  • Is there a direct link to the ERA-Can+ project? Please explain.

There is no formal link with the ERA CAN + project, but I participated in the Symposium on artic and marine research infrastructure, which took place in Halifax Canada on the 24-25 September 2015.

  • What are the benefits of cooperation between Europe and Canada?

As Canada is the 2nd largest artic country, our collaboration with Canada allows us to access more territory.

The aim of EU-PolarNet is to design an Integrated European Programme with stakeholders. To this end, we can benefit from ArticNet’s expertise. Our collaboration with Canada also facilitates the dialogue with the Indigenous population which can be difficult.

  • Were the partners experiencing challenges, problems or cultural barriers? (if applicable)

There were no significant challenges/obstacles in establishing collaboration with Canada. The only difficult thing perhaps, is that there is no single entrance in Canadian polar research as it is quite widespread. There is no polar institute in Canada.

  • Final word

We are very happy to be able to strengthen our collaboration and ties with Canadian researchers.

More information on the EU-PolarNet project:

Collaboration ,