Health and Safety in the field

SPI is offering medical training in order to address the needs of researchers planning to undertake a field trip to Polar regions. These courses aim at enhancing the preparedness of expedition parties in the field of first aid.

Planned courses for 2019:

  • Arctic Tundra / Remote environments: 26/27April 2019
  • Ice / extreme Polar temperatures: exact date to be confirmed – will be held between end of November and early December.

More information here.

Join APECS Switzerland for their event on science communication

APECS Switzerland is organizing a workshop on the topic of communicating science to a public audience. The workshop consists of a hands-on exercise, followed by two presentation and a panel discussion with established scientists. After the panel discussion, all participants are invited for lunch. This event will take place on the 24th of April 2019 in Bern and is free of charge. Registration is mandatory and open until 1st of April here. For more information, have a look at the flyer of the event!

SPI Science Plan open for consultation!

A draft version of the first science plan prepared by the SPI is currently under public consultation. Inputs are welcomed! If you wish to submit a feedback, you will find the relevant information on the process, the draft version of the Science Plan and guidelines here. The consultation will remain open until Sunday, 3 March 2019. Inputs and proposed amendments will then be analysed by the SPI Science and Technology Advisory Board.

Gaining a better understanding of the Arctic

GLACE is the second major scientific expedition organised by the Swiss Polar Institute. It aims to complete the first circumnavigation of Greenland in August and September 2019. By gathering scientific observations all around Greenland, the expedition will be able to provide a unique holistic understanding of this region critically affected by climate change.

To learn more about the expedition, have a look at its newly created website and follow it on twitter @GLACEexpedition.

Presentation of the GlobalArctic project

The Swiss Polar Institute (SPI) and the EPFL are pleased to announce a workshop on the GlobalArctic project to be held on 19 February, 2019 from 10:00 to 12:00 on the premises of the EPFL, Lausanne.

Florian Vidal, PhD in Political Science (Paris Descartes University), will hold a lecture based on the results of his doctoral research on the Barents region from a social sciences and humanities perspective.

Prof. Matthias Finger (EPFL) will then engage the discussions on the brand new MOOC GlobalArctic, a trans/interdisciplinary initiative, and related research activities.

After the workshop, the SPI invites the attendees to an informal sandwich lunch.

Further information regarding the venue of the workshop will be communicated, once your participation is confirmed.

Everybody is cordially welcome, to RSVP contact .

Workshop on Polar Social Sciences and Humanities in Switzerland

SPI is organizing a workshop on Sciences and Humanities interested in Polar regions. The objectives are to identify and discuss opportunities, needs and structural barriers for Swiss researchers from social sciences and humanities (SSH) interested in Polar regions. This will be a great opportunity better place these fields in the Swiss Polar research landscape and to see if the SPI activities meet there particular needs.

We would be very happy to count on your active participation in order to highlight the importance of social sciences and humanities and the Swiss competences in this field, and introduce them in the current SPI planning for the period 2020-2025.

The workshop is scheduled on 18 February, at the Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle Neuchatel. If you would like to join the event or need more information, please contact us at

A Polar Year to be released in Swiss Cinemas

A Polar Year recounts the encounter between a Danish teacher and an Arctic community. Below is the synopsis of the movie in German and French. For more information on the release, set for 13 December 2018, click here.

Der Däne Anders Hvidegaard kommt als Lehrer in der atemberaubenden Landschaft im Osten Grönlands. Tiniteqilaaq ist ein Dorf in dem sich die Einwohner das Leben zwischen jahrhundertealter Tradition und moderner Technik eingerichtet haben und mit dem Wenigen das sie haben zufrieden sind.
Ein Fremder mit dem „dänischen Blick“ ist nicht gerade willkommen. Schnell muss Anders erkennen, dass er hier mit seiner pädagogischen Ausbildung nicht weit kommen wird und dass die Herze der Inuit nicht so einfach zu gewinnen sind. Es sind andere Fähigkeiten die das Überleben in dieser Wildnis sichern. Mit Beharrlichkeit, Humor und einer Portion Wut im Bauch macht er sich daran, die kulturellen Hindernisse zu überwinden um seinen Platz in der Gemeinschaft zu finden.
Fasziniert vom Leben der Menschen und der grandiosen Landschaft ist der französische Regisseur Samuel Collardey während über einem Jahr immer wieder nach Tinitequillaq gereist. Sein Film basiert auf den Geschehnissen aus dieser Zeit. A POLAR YEAR feierte Premiere am Sundance Filmfestival.

Pour son premier poste d’instituteur, Anders choisit l’aventure et les grands espaces : il part enseigner au Groenland, à Tiniteqilaaq, un hameau inuit de 80 habitants. Dans ce village isolé du reste du monde, la vie est rude, plus rude que ce qu’Anders imaginait. Pour s’intégrer, loin des repères de son Danemark natal, il va devoir apprendre à connaître cette communauté et ses coutumes. Il conquiert non seulement les cœurs des habitants mais découvre des paysages et une faune surprenante. Tourné dans le froid nordique Une année polaire est un film d’une grande chaleur humaine.

MRI/PAGES/Swiss Polar Institute IPCC SROCC Information Event for ECRs – 18 December

A half-day information and networking event specifically dedicated to ECRs based in Switzerland and whose scientific background, research or expertise relates to climate change will be held on 18 December 2018 in Bern, Switzerland.

This is a chance to join the discussion, network, and learn from prominent climate scientists and experts participating in the IPCC assessment process. This event will provide background information on the assessment process, and perspectives from the scientific communities working on mountains, polar regions, and past climates on the challenges and prospects for research on climate change in these environments.

Speakers will be Valérie Masson-Delmotte, IPCC Working Group I Co-Chair; Gian-Kasper Plattner, Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow, and Landscape Research (WSL); Christian Huggel, University of Zurich; Ulrike Lohmann, ETH Zurich; and Darrell Kaufman, Northern Arizona University.

For more information on the event and to register, click here.

Pôles, Feu la glace

SPI is happy to partner with the Muséum d’histoire naturelle of Neuchâtel for an exhibition on the Poles and climate change.

The exhibition will take you to extreme latitudes, notably thanks to footage brought back from ACE, in order to introduce you to the most remote ecosystems in the world. You will learn why Polar bears have never met emperor penguins and much more.

The exhibition outlines how pressure from human activity affects these extreme environments and the biodiversity they support. The journey will however not only confront you to climate change related issues, as you will also be immerged into a penguin colony in the middle of a storm in Antarctica or into the lifestyle of indigenous Arctic communities and the strategies they have developed to survive in these harsh conditions.

The exhibition, catering for young and old, is complemented with a rich programme of activities for children, guided tours, discussion with scientists and even life streams with people sailing through the Arctic. The exhibition will remain open until the 18 August 2019. For more information, just click here.

Call for proposals for the SPI Exploratory Grants is open!

The SPI is happy to announce that the call for proposal for the SPI Exploratory Grants is now open for the first time. This new funding instrument has been designed to support established Swiss scientists (at least 3 years after PhD graduation) active in Polar regions (including remote high-altitude regions) by allowing them to launch short-term new ideas, fund additional field work or launch new collaborations with financial support for logistics, scientific work and more. The call for proposals will be open to all disciplines interested in working in Polar Regions. Deadline for this year’s call is set for the 22 October. This call will be repeated annually from 2018. For more information on eligibility and guidelines on the application process, click here.

Over €40 mio EU funding available for polar research!

The EC has confirmed a call topic within its research and innovation framework programme Horizon 2020 dedicated to research on the cryosphere, earmarking over €40 mio in 2019.

The call topic LC-CLA-07-2019: “The changing cryosphere: uncertainties, risks and opportunities” includes subtopics on sea-level changes, changes in Arctic biodiversity, and sustainable opportunities in the Arctic which are expected to be tackled by international consortia involving a range of disciplines. Moreover, funding is available for the development of standards for cold-climate technologies and services. Deadline for stage-1 proposal submissions is 19 February 2019.

A detailed topic description as well as other relevant information can be found on the ECs Participant Portal. Euresearch, the Swiss network informing and advising on EU funding, moreover is happy to provide further information and advice free of charge. Don’t hesitate to contact the National Contact Person for the relevant part of the program and/or your regional contacts!

2019 GreenLAnd Circumnavigation Expedition – GLACE: The call for proposals is open!

We are excited to announce that the call for proposals for our latest project, the GreenLAnd Circumnavigation Expedition (GLACE), is now open.

The expedition will offer an unprecedented complete circumnavigation of Greenland in a single expedition over a 2-month period in August and September 2019, providing access to the remote and critically understudied Northern Greenland area.

The R/V Akademic Tryoshnikov (AARI, St Petersburg) will be available for the expedition after a partial refit. During the Northern Greenland section of the expedition, the Akademic Tryoshnikov will be escorted by the nuclear icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy.

The science framework of GLACE will entail four topics: Ocean, Atmosphere, Cryosphere, and Terrestrial. Collaboration between these topics, and interdisciplinary research towards a holistic view of the region, are particularly encouraged.

For more information on the call, eligibility and the application process, just click here.


The Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition will be present at POLAR2018, the joint conference from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research SCAR and the International Arctic Science Committee IASC taking place in Davos from 15 to 26 June. With 47 papers and posters submitted relating to ACE, the expedition will be well represented amongst the different presentations and speeches of the conference. On Friday 22 June, a mini-symposium will furthermore be organised to present the expedition as well as preliminary findings and results of the different science projects which were on board (for further information on this event, just click here). Finally, as POLAR2018 will gather the Polar science community, a meeting with the PIs of the expedition will be held in order to sustain collaborations and contacts established during the expedition.

“The Poles are warming up. Why should we care?”

Echoing the World Environment Day, the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation and the Swiss Polar Institute are hosting an evening debate event to explore with a panel of experts the pressing matters of the Poles’ general warming.

For this debate we are delighted to welcome experts on polar issues with Konrad Steffen (Scientific Director of the Swiss Polar Institute), David Walton (Chief Scientist on ACE expedition, British Antarctic Survey), Mike Sparrow (Senior Scientific Officer, World Climate Research Programme and former Executif Director of Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research), Michael Lehning (specialist on snow and ice, Prof. EPFL / WSL Davos) and Iris Thurnherr (ETH Zurich).

The event will take place on Thursday 7 June 2018 from 17:30 to 19:00 in Geneva.

If you wish to participate to the event, please contact us at before 25 May 2018, as the event is upon invitation only.

ARICE call for ship-time proposals is open!

The EU funded project ARICE (Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium) offers fully funded transnational access to research icebreakers. It has now opened its first call for ship-time proposals to access the icebreakers CCGS Amundsen, RV Sikuliaq and PRV Polarstern. This call will remain open until the 5th of July 2018 and might be of interest to you and your colleagues.

Applications are welcome from international teams of researchers and industry partners from all career stages. Female applicants are encouraged to apply. Check full eligibility criteria and funding conditions here.

The access to PRV Polarstern is offered in the frame of the Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) Expedition, the first year-round expedition into the central Arctic exploring the Arctic climate system. Specific access regulations to PRV Polarstern in the frame of MOSAiC apply. For further information, click here.

Learning in the frozen lands of the Inuit

Carla Perez Mon, PhD student at WSL, has participated with financial support from SPI to the 1st International Arctic Field School organised by Sentinel North in Iqualit (“city of many fishes”), the capital of Nunavut, the largest and northernmost territory of Canada. The focus of the programme was put on the changing Arctic cryosphere. Here is an article on her experience.

Swiss Polar Day 2018, a great success!

The Swiss Polar Day 2018, held on 4 April, has gathered the Swiss scientific community working in Polar regions at the ETHZ in Zurich. More than 150 students, young scientists and experienced researchers have joined the event to meet colleagues, debate on future scientific priorities and listen to international keynote speakers active in the Arctic, Antarctic and high-altitude regions. The great attendance and participation really made the success of the event. The SPI team would therefore like to thank all the participants to the event – we hope to see you again at next year’s edition! The date will be announced in due course.

Postdoctoral Fellow for ACE-DATA project wanted

For the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition DATA project in the Aerosol Physics Group, the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) is looking for a Postdoctoral Fellow. The main tasks include leading the ‘Antarctic Sea-Atmosphere Interactions Data’ (ASAID) sub-project and supporting the set-up of the ACE Database in coordination with the respective work package leaders.

The employment contract is limited to 2 years.

For further information, have a look at the online advertisement.

Call for proposals for the Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship award is open!

The call for proposals for the 150 000 € Baillet Latour Antarctica Fellowship award is currently open. The fellowship programme provides young scientists with the opportunity to conduct research in East Antarctica while operating out of Princess Elisabeth Antarctica research station over two seasons.

The fellowship is open to applicants from any country in the world. Applicants must be either doctoral researchers or post-doctoral researchers who have completed their PhD within the last 10 years. The call is open for research in the disciplines of Atmospheric Sciences, Geology, Glaciology and Microbiology. Deadline for application is on 15 May 2018.

For more information on the call, eligibility and the application process, just click here.

Participate in the 2018 CESM Polar Modeling Workshop with sponsorship from SPI

The Swiss Polar Institute will support Swiss early career scientists selected by the organisers by covering their travel and accommodation costs with a maximum amount of CHF 1200.

The call for applications for the CESM Polar Modelling Workshop, organised by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a US research and development center devoted to service, research and education in the atmospheric and related sciences, is open until 9 March 2018.

Participants will gain hands-on experience planning, designing, executing, and analyzing earth system modeling experiments using high-performance supercomputing. Attendees will engage in advanced activities focused specifically on capacity building for using CESM (Community Earth System Model) in polar research (e.g., sea ice, land ice, atmosphere, ocean, land, paleoclimate).

The workshop will take place in Boulder, Colorado, from 13 to 17 August 2018, at the National Center for Atmospheric Research Mesa Laboratory.

Please apply directly via the organiser of the workshop (more information here) and contact us if your application has been approved. For any questions, please contact the SPI Secretariat:

Save the date for the Swiss Polar Day 2018!

Where: à ETHZ Hauptgebaüde D1.1

When: à 4 April 2018

The Swiss Polar Day 2018 will gather the Swiss scientific community around international keynote speakers active in the Arctic, Antarctic and high-altitude regions. Following the Swiss Polar Institute’s Call for Ideas, the Swiss Polar Day will also be the opportunity to debate and give inputs into the preparation of a roadmap on SPI’s future priorities.

The one-day conference is free of charge and open to all active or aspiring members of the Swiss academic community interested or experienced in polar regions. Students, young scientists and experienced researchers from all fields are warmly invited to network and contribute to the debate!

Detailed information on the programme, keynote speakers and more will follow soon!

To check for the latest updates, click here!

Add a polar dimension to your research with the Polar Access Fund!

The Swiss Polar Institute will launch in January the Polar Access Fund, a funding instrument with the goal of enabling early career scientists (doctoral students or early post-doc) to undertake field trips in Polar Regions. These field trips must be inserted into an existing research project affiliated to a Swiss research institution. The grant of max. 20’000 CHF will fund logistics and travel costs and allow to enlarge the scope of the project or open new comparative perspectives.

The call for proposals will be open to all disciplines interested in working in Polar Regions. Interdisciplinary initiatives as well as initiatives from, e.g., Social Sciences, Humanities and Economics, are particularly encouraged. However, all projects should be related to climate change issues.

The upcoming call will be opened on 8 January 2018 and all documents and forms will be available on the SPI website. Deadline for application will be 1 March 2018.

The Polar Access Fund is an instrument co-funded by the Swiss Polar Institute and the BNP Paribas Swiss Foundation. It is expected that 5 to 6 field trips can be funded each year. For more information, click here.

Apply for Sentinel North International PhD School and get sponsorship from SPI

The Swiss Polar Institute will support up to three Swiss early career scientists to cover the registration and travel costs.

The call for applications for the International PhD School under the leadership of Sentinel North of Université Laval, the Canadian transdisciplinary research program dealing with the changing North, is open until 28 January 2018.

This year’s edition will take place on board the Canadian research icebreaker CCGS Amundsen from 12 to 24 July 2018 under the motto Shedding Light on Arctic Marine Ecosystem Services.

Participants will experience an exceptional transdisciplinary training in close interaction with top scientists and in a highly technological environment.

Bringing together a wide range of disciplines, the school will focus on the following themes:

  • The fundamental role of light in marine ecosystems;
  • The potential of light for the study of the changing Arctic;
  • Light-driven processes and Arctic marine ecosystem services.

Please apply directly via the website of the organiser. For any questions, please contact the SPI Secretariat:

ACE immortalised in a book!

Are you still looking for gifts for the festive season or do you need some good reading material for cold winter days? Around Antarctica, Journal of a scientific Epedition, the logbook of the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition, also available in French, has just been released. Published by Éditions Paulsen, the book relates the epic journey of the Russian icebreaker Akademik Treshnikov around Antarctica from Cape Town to Cape Town and familiarises the reader with the different scientific projects onboard. Embellished with colourful, impressive and powerful images, the book will take you to some of Earth’s most remote and isolated places and introduce you into the fascinating and exciting world of polar science: Wilderness, science and adventure right at your fingertips!

To order the book from the editor, click here.

The French version is available in Swiss bookshops such as Payot.

Quervain Prize Award Ceremony

On 23 November, the Swiss Alpine Museum in Berne will host the annual Award Ceremony for the Quervain Prize, which rewards young high altitude and polar researchers. The Quervain Prize is awarded by the Swiss Committee on Polar and High Altitude Research and other Swiss research actors of the same fields. For more information on the symposium and to register, click here.

Celebrate Antarctica Day!

Since 2010, 1 December is dedicated to the commemoration of the signature of the Antarctic Treaty, which was adopted the same day in 1959. Antarctica Day was initiated by Our Space, Foundation for the good governance of international spaces in order to celebrate this historically unprecedented event achieved under the banner of science, peace and international cooperation. Indeed, the Treaty declares Antarctica as a scientific preserve, grants scientific freedom and bans military activities on the continent. Initially signed by 12 countries, the treaty now has 53 parties, including the main scientific players in the region and most of the G20 countries.

Antarctica Day is thus a good opportunity to reflect on the challenges of climate change in Antarctica and the rest of the World. The Swiss Polar Institute encourages research actors and other stakeholders involved in the region to mobilise and to make their voices heard. It is time to reach out to a larger audience!

Consequently, we invite you to celebrate Antarctica and the role of science in enabling a peaceful international cooperation. If you are looking for pedagogic material (available in German, French, Italian, English and much more) on the topic, just follow this link.

Thank you and happy Antarctica Day!

The SPI Call for Ideas is open!

In order to define its future priorities and activities, the Swiss Polar Institute is asking for inputs and ideas from the Swiss Polar Community. Please contribute and make sure your ideas are submitted! The deadline for submission is Friday 12 January 2018. For more information on the call, please click here and to submit your idea, here.

Horizon 2020: Calls for Polar research projects opening soon!

The work programmes for the period 2018 to 2020 of Horizon 2020 – Europe’s largest research funding programme – have been released. The different papers, defining funding opportunities by theme, reveal where the priorities will be. We are glad to note that polar research has not been left out.

The work programme on Climate action, environment, resource efficiency and raw materials seems particularly promising for polar scientists. Climatologists, glaciologists, oceanographers or biologists doing science in high latitudes might want to take a closer look at the document, climate and the changing cryosphere being two of the hot topics.

However, natural scientists are not the only ones to be targeted by the calls for proposals. Engineering new technologies for Arctic and Antarctic regions will be another priority in the coming years. Finally, social sciences are part of the package too, with a focus on the increasing impact of polar communities on their environment.

Find more information on Horizon 2020 and the new work programmes here. If you need help with your application, contact the Euresearch office of your institution or their head office in Bern and if you are simply looking for new opportunities, check out their opportunity finder.

Interview with our newly appointed Scientific Director, Konrad Steffen

An afternoon with ACE at the FIFAD (Festival International du Film Alpin des Diablerets)

On 7 August 2017 at 14:00. An afternoon will be dedicated to the Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition with films and talks by scientists and organisers.