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

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

Daughters of the Snow (BBC Sounds and Radio 4)

6th April, 2021

 

A BBC Sounds / Radio 4 program, "Daughters of the Snow", broadcast this week and available to listen online, featured Dr Michael Bravo.

This collaboration between Dr Bravo, radio producer Andrea Rangecroft, and the artist and poet Himali Singh Soin, explores the North Pole as a mythologised space in literature. Reading novels like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Arthur Conan Doyle's Captain of the Pole Star at school in India, the North Pole has often been portrayed as a blank, white, mysterious and uninhabited place. The conversations in this programme, set to music, discuss the consequences of mythologising this huge region of diverse lands and cultures at the top of the world.

Greenland Ice Sheet lakes drain in the winter

1st April, 2021

 

PhD student Corinne Benedek and supervisor Ian Willis have discovered that large lakes on the surface of the Greenland Ice Sheet drain in the Arctic winter. They used satellite radar images to identify large, anomalous, sudden and sustained increases in radar backscatter, showing a switch from a water to an ice surface.

It is known that lakes can drain catastrophically in the summer but this is the first time they have been seen to disappear in the winter.

Using other satellite data they confirmed the lake drainages, which show a lowering of the surface by several metres and the loss of up to 20 million cubic metres of water, the equivalent of around 8000 olympic size swimming pools emptying to the bottom of the ice sheet over a few days, possibly just a few hours.

The findings have implications for the speed at which the ice sheet flows to the ocean.

The work is discussed further on the University of Cambridge news pages and is published in The Cryosphere.

Big Freeze Art Festival launches

4th March, 2021

 

This spring, the Scott Polar Research Institute is holding an online art festival. Featuring visual art, poetry, textile art, sound works and films the art festival presents a range of perspectives on the Arctic and Antarctic. Join our live events, catch up on films and blog posts and make your own polar self portrait.

Read more …

Environmental Diplomacy in the Arctic

19th January, 2021

 

Geographer Richard Powell appeared today, 19 January 2021, as a witness before the Foreign Affairs Committee's inquiry into 'Environmental Diplomacy'. The inquiry is examining the UK Government's strategic approach to environmental diplomacy, particularly in the context of COP26.

Richard contributed evidence to a session addressing the geopolitics and governance of the polar regions. The Committee business is all being held virtually.

Nimrod expedition sledging flag acquired for the nation

17th December, 2020

 

The Scott Polar Research Institute and the National Maritime Museum have acquired the sledging flag and sledge that Dr Eric Marshall (1879-1963) used on Ernest Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition (BAE) of 1907-1909. The sledge and sledging flag are the two most recent acquisition supported by the National Heritage Memorial Fund, with a grant of £204,700.

The flag will rejoin its partner, Shackleton's sledging flag from the same expedition, in the collections of the Scott Polar Research Institute. It will be cared for in a temperature, humidity and light controlled environment so that it can be preserved for future generations. The Institute's Polar Museum hopes to update its displays relating to the Nimrod expedition to highlight not only the feat of almost reaching the geographic South Pole, but also the scientific goals and achievements of the expedition.

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.

  • 11th May 2021:
    Languages of Emergency, Infrastructures of Response and Everyday Heroism in the Circumpolar North. Details…
    Scott Polar Research Institute - HCEP (Histories, Cultures, Environments and Politics) Research Seminars