ARICE – Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium

A strategy for meeting the needs of marine-based research in the Arctic

Funding programme:
H2020 Integrating Activities for Starting Communities

Coordinating organisation:
Alfred-Wegener-Institut, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar- und Meeresforschung

Project number:


The recent changes of the Arctic and the resulting increased economic activity in the region have triggered a societal demand for accurate sea-ice and weather predictions, information on the status of the Arctic Ocean and its marine life, and complex predictions of future scenarios. To address these issues and to develop policy recommendations for a sustainable usage of the Arctic Ocean and its resources, the international Arctic science community must have access to world-class research icebreakers to access the ice-covered Arctic Ocean.

Even if European Arctic research has contributed critical knowledge to identifying the processes behind these rapid changes, datasets from the Arctic Ocean are still insufficient to fully understand and more effectively predict the effects of climate change. The largest gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the Arctic system processes are outside the summer season, when the Arctic Ocean is logistically and technologically extremely difficult to reach.

Currently, the lack of available research icebreakers from Europe and beyond that can operate yearlong in the ice covered Arctic Ocean, and a weakly coordinated polar research fleet impedes Europe’s capacity to investigate the changing Arctic. There is thus an urgent need for providing polar scientists with better research icebreaker capacities for the Arctic, to address the knowledge gaps and to develop policy recommendations for a sustainable usage of the Arctic Ocean and its resources.

This need has now been taken up by the EU funded Arctic Research Icebreaker Consortium (ARICE).

Contact information:

Dr Nicole Biebow

ARICE Project Coordinator

Dr Veronica Willmott

ARICE Project Manager