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Welcome to SPRI

The Scott Polar Research Institute, established in 1920 as part of the University of Cambridge, is a centre of excellence in the study of the Arctic and Antarctic. Research covers both the natural and social sciences and is often interdisciplinary. The Institute also houses the World's premier Polar Library, extensive archival, photographic and object collections of international importance on the history of polar exploration, and a Polar Museum with displays of both the history and contemporary significance of the Arctic and Antarctic and their surrounding seas. The Institute is a sub-department of the Department of Geography.

SPRI's mission is to enhance the understanding of the polar regions through scholarly research and publication, educating new generations of polar researchers, caring for and making accessible its collections (including its library, archival, photographic and object collections), and projecting the history and environmental significance of the polar regions to the wider community for public benefit.


Research at SPRI

SPRI's five research groups investigate a range of issues in the environmental sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities of relevance to the Arctic and Antarctica:

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Graduate study

SPRI has a friendly community of postgraduate students. Many are working for the PhD degree, awarded on the basis of individual research and requiring three years of full-time study. Others are working for the MPhil in Polar Studies.

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The Polar Museum

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a unique collection of artefacts, journals, paintings, photographs, clothing equipment, maps and other materials illustrating polar exploration, history and science. Come and find out how past discoveries in the Arctic and Antarctic help today's scientists to investigate our changing environment.

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Features

Collections

The Library offers a collection developed since the 1920s with over 700 current journals and over 250,000 printed works covering all subjects relating to the Arctic, the Antarctic, and to ice and snow wherever found.

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Staff and students

SPRI's staff publish regularly in a range of leading journals, and attract research funding from a wide variety of sources.

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The Shackleton 100 site brings together in one place information on events taking place across the world to commemorate the 1914-17 Antarctic expeditions.

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News


After the Iron curtain: Poor parenting and state intervention in cross cultural perspective: a one-day workshop

1st June, 2015

 

This workshop, on Wednesday June 10th 2015, is concerned with the issue of 'poor' parenting in cross-cultural perspective, and particularly a UK comparison with post-Soviet countries. Taken at face value, the concept of 'poor' parenting may look very different in countries with different political, ideological and socio-economic structures such as liberal democracies of the UK and the US, yet one study has revealed some (tentative) similarities in child welfare practices. This workshop problematizes the concept of 'poor' parenting by making it an analytical concept and placing it in a comparative context, asking three main questions: (1) What constitutes 'poor' parenting in a particular country? (2) What are the underlying concepts of childhood and parenthood this relies on? (3) What are the similarities in child welfare practices, and how do we account for these?

Visit SPRI Prints

26th May, 2015

 

The Scott Polar Research Institute is pleased to offer high quality prints from our unique collection. Images are available in various sizes, framed or unframed. Visit SPRIPrints.com.

The Polar Museums Network: Connecting polar collections around the world

7th May, 2015

 

SPRI is pleased to announce the launch of the Polar Museums Network (PMN), a new initiative which brings together polar museums and collections around the world to strengthen and spread the knowledge of polar history, science and exploration. The PMN will foster greater cooperation and collaboration amongst polar museums in the key areas of exhibitions, research, outreach and learning, documentation and conservation. The Polar Museum at SPRI is one of the six founding members of the network.

Perspectives on the Nepal earthquake

1st May, 2015

 

Typical Nepal mountain hazards were made worse by the recent earthquake. Senior Lecturer Dr Ian Willis, and PhD student Evan Miles contemplate the fate of people in a remote part of the country, where they have been doing research for the past two years.

TalkScience: Scientists in Extreme Environments

24th March, 2015

 

Why do scientists work in extreme environments, and is it worth the financial and human cost? A discussion at The British Library on 25th March 2015.

Scientists travel to the tops of mountains, the polar regions and even outer space in order to conduct experiments, make observations and set up instruments. What have we learned from doing science in extreme environments? Is what we gain worth the high financial, and sometimes human, cost? Does exploring these places also make science a vehicle through which geopolitics is played out? Do we need to explore for the sake of exploration? University of Cambridge geographer and historian of science Dr Michael Bravo joined a panel discussion chaired by science journalist Dr Gabrielle Walker, along with Director of the British Antarctic Survey Professor Jane Francis, UCL anaesthetist and space medicine expert Dr Kevin Fong.

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