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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

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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Postgraduate study

Postgraduate 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 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

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

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

Collaboration between women helps close the gender gap in ice core science

28th November, 2023

 

A Perspective article co-written by Dr Matt Osman and colleagues in Nature Geoscience addresses gender disparities in ice core science.

Despite historical underrepresentation, the study reveals that the gender gap is closing. Since the early 2000s, women have outperformed their estimated proportion in publishing first-authored papers, suggesting that they fill important leadership roles on coauthor teams. Crucially, woman-led studies show a 20% higher proportion of women coauthors compared to man-led studies.

The analysis emphasizes the critical role of collaboration between women, especially senior scientists, in narrowing gender gaps within the field.

Natan Obed, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, visits SPRI to give Research Seminar

21st November, 2023

 

Natan Obed is the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. He was first elected in 2015 and was acclaimed to his third consecutive term in 2021. He grew up in Nain, the northernmost community of Nunatsiavut (Northern Labrador). He graduated from Tufts University in 2001.

President Obed is the national spokesperson for Inuit in Canada and also serves as Vice-President of Inuit Circumpolar Council-Canada. As ITK President, he implements the direction set out by Inuit Leadership from the four regions of Inuit Nunangat — the Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut.

President Obed will meet with colleagues to discuss Arctic research and collections. The visit is supported by the ERC Arctic Cultures project, and is part of the HCEP cluster's Research Seminar Series. The lecture, "Unpacking Colonial Ties: Self-determination in Inuit Nunangat, Canada", is in the SPRI Lecture Theatre, 16.15, Tuesday 21 November 2023.

Becky Dell is appointed Assistant Professor in Glaciology at the Scott Polar Research Institute

3rd August, 2023

 

We are delighted to announce that Dr Becky Dell has been appointed as an Assistant Professor in Glaciology at SPRI, starting October 1st this year.

Becky first arrived at SPRI in 2017 for her PhD, which focussed on developing remote sensing and machine learning methods for the study of ice-shelf stability in Antarctica. Since completing her PhD in 2021, Becky has worked within the Institute as a European Space Agency Climate Change Initiative Fellow.

Becky has significant expertise in both remote sensing and fieldwork-based studies of Antarctic ice shelves, which will continue to be of considerable benefit to the research, teaching, and outreach of both SPRI and the Geography Department.

Marc Macias-Fauria is appointed Professor of Physical Geography

5th July, 2023

 

We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Marc Macias-Fauria as Professor of Physical Geography, a position held between the Department of Geogtraphy and the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Marc is currently Professor of Biogeosciences in the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University. He is an ecologist who studies the interactions between biological systems and the physical environment they inhabit, experience, and modify, with an emphasis on environmental change in cold ecosystems, especially in the Arctic.

Marc will take up his appointment at the University of Cambridge on 1st January 2024.

Mike Hulme, Head of Department

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Ice sheets can retreat faster than previously thought possible

6th April, 2023

 

SPRI-based researchers Drs. Frazer Christie, Sasha Montelli, Prof. Julian Dowdeswell and Evelyn Dowdeswell have published research showing that ice sheets are capable of retreating much faster than previously thought possible.

The research, led by Cambridge Geography and SPRI alumnus Dr. Christine Batchelor of Newcastle University, analysed more than 7,600 subtle landforms called 'corrugation ridges' across the mid-Norwegian seafloor. These landforms revealed that a former ice sheet underwent pulses of rapid retreat totalling up to 600 meters per day at the end of the last Ice Age. This rate is up to 20 times faster than present-day rates of ice-sheet retreat observed from satellites, and suggests that similarly rapid retreat could occur across flat-bedded areas of the Antarctic Ice Sheet in the future.

The research is published as an article in the journal Nature, and further information can be found in the Cambridge University press release.

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SPRI Centenary

SPRI Centenary

Our 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.

  • 29th February 2024:
    The flow pattern evolution of the Scandinavian Ice Sheet reconstructed from high-resolution mapping of subglacial bedforms. Details…
    Scott Polar Research Institute - Polar Physical Sciences Seminar
  • 6th March 2024:
    Inuit pastoralism in South Greenland: Navigating the spectrum from wild to domestic herds in an era of rapid Arctic change. Details…
    Scott Polar Research Institute - Polar Physical Sciences Seminar
  • 7th March 2024:
    Beyond knowledge-building: Research infrastructure, technology, and the practice of Arctic (in)security. Details…
    Scott Polar Research Institute - Polar Humanities and Social Sciences ECR Workshop
  • More seminars…