Forskningsflyet Polar overflyver forskningsskibet Polarstern. Foto: Alfred-Wegener-Institut / Thomas Krumpen.

Improving researchers’ access to the Arctic

Friday 02 Feb 18


Karen Edelvang
Head of section
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 06


Patrizio Mariani
Senior Researcher
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 33 53


Colin Stedmon
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 10

Project website

Additional information can be found on the project website:

The research icebreakers involved

  • PRV Polarstern, Germany
  • IB Oden, Sweden
  • RV Kronprins Haakon, Norway
  • RRS Sir David Attenborough, United Kingdom (under construction, to be operative in 2018)
  • CCGS Amundsen, Canada
  • RV Sikuliaq, United States of America

DTU is part of a new Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium, which will provide researchers with improved access to investigate the Arctic

Research icebreakers are a crucial infrastructure and tool for conducting scientific investigations in the ice-covered areas of the Arctic Ocean, which urgently need to be explored before they disappear.

However, Europe’s capacity to investigate this region is impeded by the lack of availability of icebreakers and a weakly coordinated polar research fleet. There is thus an urgent need for providing polar scientists with better research icebreaker capacities for the Arctic.

This need has now been taken up by the EU funded Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium (ARICE). The consortium, consisting of fifteen partners, including DTU, from thirteen different countries aims at improving the coordination of the existing polar research fleet, at offering scientists access to six research icebreakers and at collaborating closely with the maritime industry.  

The project kick-off meeting takes place at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven 6 to 7 February 2018.

Better access to polar research vessels

Besides granting transnational access to time on research icebreakers, ARICE will develop strategies to ensure a coordinated and improved use of the existing polar research vessels at a European and international level. 

In the long run, ARICE aims at implementing a sustained International Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium, which jointly manages and funds ship-time in the Arctic.

Training marine scientists

ARICE also works with the training of the new generation of European marine scientists and technicians in the use of devices in ice-covered waters. It envisages the implementation of a series of training activities ranging from online to on-site training courses.

Closer link to marine business

ARICE aims at establishing closer links to marine business in order to adding to the observational capacities in the northern polar region. By establishing a programme of ships and platforms of opportunity, commercial vessels operating in the Arctic Ocean will collect oceanic and atmospheric data on their cruises.

At the same time, science and industry will work together to explore new technologies, which can improve ship-based and autonomous measurements in the Arctic Ocean. One output of the project will be a 3D virtual icebreaker, which allows remote access to data and provides real-time information to a broad audience.

Photo: ARICE will give scientists access to the German research icebreaker Polarstern (see photo above) during the  first year-round expedition into the central Arctic (October 2019 - October 2020). Photo: Alfred-Wegener-Institut/Thomas Krumpen.


Members of the consortium

  • Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), Germany (Coordinator)
  • Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), Germany (hosted by the Alfred Wegener Institute)
  • Arctic Portal (AP), Iceland
  • British Antarctic Survey (NERC-BAS), UK
  • Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Finland
  • Institute of Oceanology (IOPAN), Poland
  • Italian National Research Council (CNR), Italy
  • National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), France
  • Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), Norway
  • Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), Spain
  • Swedish Polar Research Secretariat (SPRS), Sweden
  • Technical University of Denmark (DTU Aqua), Denmark
  • University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), USA
  • University of Laval (ULAVAL), Canada
  • World Ocean Council (WOC), UK
30 NOVEMBER 2020