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Norway among the largest contributors to The International Polar Year

Norwegian researchers and institutions will play a central role in The International Polar Year (IPY) that begins 1 March 2007. Contributions from at least 50,000 scientists and technicians from more than 60 countries will make the Polar Year the largest globally co-ordinated research programme in the last 50 years.

The Research Council of Norway has now distributed NOK 288 million (approximately € 35 million) for the polar research period 2007-2010 (subject to the national budget for 2008-2010). Research funding will be distributed to a total 26 projects. This is extraordinary funding that comes in addition to appropriations earmarked for ongoing polar research. The total Norwegian contribution to the Polar Year can increase further through appropriations to other research programmes.

"Norway manages areas in both the Arctic and Antarctic. I am certain that we with long-standing tradition as a polar nation with a highly qualified polar research environment will actively contribute in the international research boost that the Polar Year promises to be,” says Øystein Djupedal, Minister of Education and Research. "We must show the world that we will take our part of the responsibility to ensure the knowledge-based administration of these vulnerable areas.”

Most for meteorology and climate

“Roughly two-thirds of the funding will be for meteorology and climate research, while the remaining third will go to several different basic research projects that will make the most of the polar areas’ distinct research opportunities,” explains Arvid Hallén, Director of the Research Council of Norway. “That so much will go towards climate research and meteorology must be seen in the light of the exceptional global efforts during IPY, having the goal of finding more clear answers about the connections between ongoing climate change and natural phenomena such as the Gulf Stream, and we must also succeed in making our three-day weather forecasts as good as today’s two-day forecasts.”

Broad research

Both the most projects (6) and largest amount (about NOK 100 million (€ 12 million)) are earmarked for ocean research. An additional NOK 50 million (€ 6 million) will go toward glaciology and biology on land (5 projects). Three projects within meteorology and the upper atmosphere will receive equivalent funds. For the first time, the Polar Year also embraces the social sciences. A total of NOK 23 million (€ 2.75 million) will be distributed to five projects that deal with the human dimension and social issues in Northern Norway. Other projects will focus on environmental poisons, animal health and, not least, on geological research.

Thomas Evensen | alfa
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