Arctic Icebreaker Consortium to Facilitate Research Ship Use

Aft Deck of the U.S. RV Sikuliaq, one of three ships available for use in the ARICE open call for shiptime. (Image: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license from user Z22.)

Fifteen partners from 13 countries including two North American partners from the U.S. and Canada have joined forces to improve the capacities for marine-based research in the Arctic Ocean. In the project, ARICE – Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium, they aim at better coordination of the existing polar research fleet, at offering scientists access to six research icebreakers, and at collaborating closely with the maritime industry.

The European Commission funds the project, which is coordinated by the German Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), with 6 million Euros.

The ARICE kick-off meeting was held at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven in February and brought together 45 participants, representing all 15 partner institutions from Europe, Canada and the U.S., as well as key cooperation partners. The two-day meeting allowed work package leads to give an overview of the tasks ahead and fostered constructive discussions to pave the way toward a fruitful collaboration across borders.

One of the first goals of ARICE is to provide transnational access to the six participating research icebreakers. The consortium currently has an open call for ship-time proposals. Collaborative applications from teams and institutions where no equivalent research infrastructure exists and early career scientists are strongly encouraged to apply. The consortium also welcomes international and/or industrial partners.

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