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Welcome to SPRI

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, and projecting the history and environmental significance of the polar regions to the wider community.


Research at SPRI

We 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, working for the PhD degree or the MPhil in Polar Studies.

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The Polar Museum

The Scott Polar Research Institute holds a unique collection illustrating polar exploration, history and science. Find out how past discoveries in the Arctic and Antarctic help today's scientists to investigate our changing environment.

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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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Library

The Library offers a collection 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.

Library catalogue

Search for Endurance ends

14th February, 2019

 

Following a programme of pioneering Antarctic scientific research, and successfully reaching the Endurance wreck site, as plotted 104 years ago by Frank Worsley, the Weddell Sea Expedition team have sadly been forced to conclude the current search for the Endurance.

Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of SPRI and Expedition Chief Scientist, said: 'Through the scientific data gathered during the Expedition, we have deepened our knowledge and understanding of Antarctic oceanography and ecosystems, and our observations on the glaciology and geology will play a critical role in our understanding of Antarctic ice shelves and sea ice and, importantly, the changes that are occurring here today.'

Surface lakes cause Antarctic ice shelves to 'flex'

13th February, 2019

 

A team of British and American researchers, co-led by Alison Banwell and Ian Willis at the Scott Polar Research Institute, has measured how much the McMurdo ice shelf in Antarctica flexes in response to the filling and draining of meltwater lakes on its surface. This type of flexing had been hypothesised before and simulated by computer models, but this is the first time the phenomenon has been measured in the field. The results are reported in the journal Nature Communications.

Polar Educators International Conference

1st February, 2019

 

Calling all Polar Educators and Researchers! Registration to take part in the Polar Educators International 2019 Conference is now open. The 4th biennial workshop takes place in Cambridge, at the Scott Polar Research Institute and Christ's College, and will discuss 'Education and Polar Science in Action'. Find out more and book your place.

Bridging Binaries: LGBTQ+ tours of the Polar Museum in the News

31st January, 2019

 

New LGBTQ+ tours of the Polar Museum have been in the spotlight, along with tours of several other University of Cambridge Museums. The New York Times and The Times have both sent reporters along to find out about the spectrum of identities that exist across time, place and culture, from same-sex behaviour among penguins to the first Pride event to take place in Antarctica.

Climate change curation project for school students

17th January, 2019

 

The Scott Polar Research Institute and Selwyn College Cambridge are excited to announce a unique opportunity for Year 12 Students to curate an exhibition about climate change as part of a project that will run from Monday 19th to Saturday 24th August 2019.

Over five days a group of year 12 students will join the Institute to explore cutting edge polar research with some of the world's leading experts, and work as part of an experienced museum team to plan an exhibition from start to finish. The finished exhibition will go on public display at The Polar Museum from late 2019 into 2020, the Scott Polar Research Institute's centenary year.

Applications are open until 12 noon on 26 April 2019.

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  • 5th March 2019:
    'As Far North As Whale Hunters Go': The Medieval Arctic Environment, Experienced and Imagined. Details…
    Histories, Cultures, Environments and Politics research seminars at SPRI
  • 12th March 2019:
    Mittimatalik Arnait Miqsuqtuit Collective and the Art of Sealskin Sewing. Details…
    Histories, Cultures, Environments and Politics research seminars at SPRI
  • 19th March 2019:
    Polar Ocean: the dead end of plastic debris. Details…
    Polar Museum public events
  • More seminars…