skip to primary navigation skip to content

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.

Read more

Graduate study

SPRI has a friendly community of postgraduate students, working for the PhD degree or the MPhil in Polar Studies.

Read more

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.

Read more

Staff and students

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

Read more


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

Quaternary Glaciations - top of the pops!

22nd January, 2020


Quaternary Glaciations - Extent and Chronology - A Closer Look. Developments in Quaternary Science 15. 1108 pp. published by Elsevier: Amsterdam in 2011, ISBN: 978-0-444-53447-7, edited by Emeritus Professor Philip Gibbard with J. Ehlers and Philip Hughes was the most downloaded e-book from the Geological Society of London's Library in 2019.

Antarctic research features on BBC Radio 4 Today programme

9th January, 2020


Current glaciological research being undertaken by Ian Willis and Alison Banwell as part of a joint US-NSF and UK-NERC funded project featured on a recent edition of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, guest edited by Greta Thunberg. The research investigates the role of surface meltwater movement on the stability of Antarctic Ice Shelves and involves fieldwork on the George VI Ice Shelf on the Antarctic Peninsular from where the SPRI scientists have recently returned. Their work is mentioned as part of a larger report into Antarctic glacier melt and sea level rise, which begins about 47 minutes into the programme.

Drone images show Greenland Ice Sheet becoming more unstable as it fractures

5th December, 2019


In a new study, researchers at the Scott Polar Research Institute used drones to observe how fractures form on the Greenland Ice Sheet. The new research, published 2nd December 2019 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, explains why supraglacial lakes in Greenland drain rapidly, and how the drainage creates conduits for continued supply of surface meltwater to the base of the ice sheet.

Launching 'Shackleton Online'

20th November, 2019


We are proud to announce the launch of our new site: Shackleton Online.

This part of the Polar Museum website showcases our exceptional material related to Sir Ernest Shackleton. It is a source of information on everything from the stories of Shackleton's expeditions to the Antarctic, the biographies of his men, and the objects which they took with them to the far South. We also have some audio-described objects from our collection as well as videos on subjects voted for by the public over the summer.

This project has kindly been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.

We can't wait for you to see it!

Applications open for new climate project

14th November, 2019


Applications for the Cambridge Climate Life and Earth (C-CLEAR) NERC Doctoral Training Partnership, are now being accepted.

The C-CLEAR NERC DTP is among the first programmes in the world to study the connected issues of global change, past, present and future from a cross-disciplinary vantage point. Students will gain deep insights into the processes and outcomes of global change in the past and be equipped with the tools to understand and question the processes of human and planetary change and transformation taking place now and into the future.

Students will engage in research projects of global significance across NERC science, and receive high-quality training in research, professional, technical and transferable skills through a focused core programme.

The application deadline is noon Tuesday 7th January 2020. Find out more and apply.

View all news

Twitter Instagram Facebook

SPRI Centenary

SPRI Centenary

Our 2020 Centenary Campaign aims to build the endowment funds of the Institute to support new academic posts, to enhance our ability to undertake polar fieldwork, to secure the future of our Museum and Archive activities, and to train the next generation of polar researchers.

  • 3rd March 2020:
    Fridtjof Nansen’s FRAM expedition and the Making of a Transnational Hero. Details…
    Scott Polar Research Institute - HCEP (Histories, Cultures, Environments and Politics) Research Seminars
  • 5th March 2020:
    Hydrological networks and flow of the Greenland Ice Sheet: Overview of the RESPONDER project. Details…
    Scott Polar Research Institute - Physical Sciences Seminar
  • 12th March 2020:
    ‘No work before breakfast’: Putting people first at Halley Bay research station, Antarctica. Details…
    Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop
  • More seminars…