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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 staff and students 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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Shackleton 100

Shackleton 100

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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SPRI Library catalogue search now online

12th May, 2017

 

We are proud to announce that the Library catalogue of the Scott Polar Research Institute is now available to be searched online. This has been the culmination of many years of data improvements and technical conversion work. The collection will also be added to the main University Library catalogue in 2018.

New Cambridge research tracks changes to supraglacial lakes on the Greenland Ice Sheet

11th May, 2017

 

A new paper by a team at the Scott Polar Research Institute presents a novel method for tracking changes to individual supraglacial lakes in West Greenland using MODIS satellite imagery. The method developed is a Fully Automated Supraglacial lake Tracking ("FAST") algorithm that tracks changes to individual lake areas and volumes over successive images. This builds on previous research by calculating supraglacial lake volumes as well as areas, and can be applied to large areas of the Greenland Ice Sheet. The FAST algorithm is being used in ongoing research into Greenland Ice Sheet hydrology. The team comprises PhD student Andrew Williamson, University Senior Lecturer Dr Neil Arnold, Leverhulme/Newton Trust Research Fellow Dr Alison Banwell, and University Senior Lecturer Dr Ian Willis.

SPRI Review 2016

21st April, 2017

 

SPRI Review 2016, is now available online. SPRI Review is the Annual Report issued by the Scott Polar Research Institute, giving information on the Institute's activities over the past year.

Water on Antarctic Ice Shelves

20th April, 2017

 

Alison Banwell and Ian Willis, who have recently returned from Antarctica studying the effects of meltwater on the flexure and stability of ice shelves, have been commenting about two adjacent studies that have just been published in Nature. They've been commenting in Nature, The Independent, The Atlantic, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Climate Central.

New book: Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms: Modern, Quaternary and Ancient

1st February, 2017

 

Professor of Physical Geography and Director of the Scott Polar Instititute, Julian Dowdeswell, has co-edited a new Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms.

The Atlas of Submarine Glacial Landforms presents a comprehensive series of contributions by leading researchers from many countries that describe, discuss and illustrate landforms on the high latitude, glacier-influenced seafloor. Included are submarine glacial landforms from modern, Quaternary and ancient glacimarine environments.

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