POLAR research and projects

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Polar research

Polar Knowledge Canada (POLAR) is Canada’s lead federal agency to strengthen Canadian leadership in polar science and technology. POLAR fulfills a brokering role, strengthening connections between the Canadian research community and decision makers, and facilitates collaboration and partnerships to address key knowledge gaps in the polar regions. It is Canada’s adhering body to the International Arctic Science Committee (http://iasc.info/) and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (http://www.scar.org/). POLAR also serves as a primary point of contact for the international polar research community to explore opportunities to pursue research in Canada’s Arctic and to collaborate with Canadian researchers in the Antarctic.
POLAR’s pan-northern Science and Technology Program priorities for 2014-19 consist of:

  • Alternative and renewable energy for the North;
  • Baseline information to prepare for northern sustainability;
  • Predicting the impacts of changing ice, permafrost, and snow on shipping, infrastructure and communities;
  • Catalysing improved design, construction, and maintenance of northern built infrastructure

POLAR will operate the world-class Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) research campus in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, which will be a major node in the Canadian Network of Northern Research Operators. The phased construction and occupancy of the campus facilities will be complete in 2017.
Under its Antarctic mandate, POLAR is coordinating the development of a Canadian Antarctic Research Program to better coordinate, increase and expand Canadian Antarctic research to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the Antarctic region, global systems, and polar linkages. This program will operate primarily through partnerships with the national polar programs of other countries to facilitate Canadian access to existing Antarctic research infrastructure and logistics. POLAR’s Canadian Committee on Antarctic Research (CCAR) provides advice and guidance to POLAR on Antarctic matters.

Research projects funded by Polar Knowledge Canada

POLAR funds science and technology, capacity building, and knowledge management projects as well as national workshops. Read more...

Resources for researchers



  • The Antarctic Treaty – Establishes Antarctica as a place for peaceful and scientific purposes (http://ats.aq/e/ats.htm)
  • The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty – Designates Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science (http://ats.aq/e/ep.htm)
  • Antarctic Environmental Protection Act  - Canada’s Act to protect the Antarctic environment, which serves as the legislative basis the Canada requires to oversee Canadian activities in the Antarctic and fulfill the obligations of the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (https://www.ec.gc.ca/gdd-mw/default.asp?lang=En&n=56303427-1)
  • Antarctic Environmental Protection Act Permits – Provides information on how to apply for a permit from Environment and Climate Change Canada to undertake activities in the Antarctic (https://www.ec.gc.ca/gdd-mw/default.asp?lang=En&n=4C72FBAF-1)
  • Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) – The international association that brings together national Antarctic programs to develop and promote best practices in managing the support of scientific research in Antarctica (https://www.comnap.aq/SitePages/Home.aspx)
  • The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) – Initiates, promotes and coordinates scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and provides international, independent scientific advice to the Antarctic Treaty system and other bodies (https://www.ec.gc.ca/gdd-mw/default.asp?lang=En&n=56303427-1)
  • Antarctic Environments Portal – Makes science-based information available to the Antarctic Treaty System and all Antarctic Treaty nations (https://www.environments.aq/)
  • Quantarctica – A free geographic information system package for Antarctica (http://quantarctica.npolar.no/)
  • Southern Ocean Observing System (SOOS) – An international initiative that aims to facilitate the collection and delivery of essential observations on dynamics and change of Southern Ocean systems to all international stakeholders through design, advocacy and implementation of cost-effective observing and data delivery systems http://www.soos.aq/
  • Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) – Established by international convention with the objective of conserving Antarctic marine life (https://www.ccamlr.org/)
  • International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO) – Advocates and promotes the practice of safe and environmentally responsible private-sector travel to the Antarctic (http://iaato.org/home)


  • Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS) – Creates opportunities for the development of innovative, international, and interdisciplinary collaborations among current early career polar researchers (http://www.apecs.is/)
  • Polar Data Catalogue (PDC) – A database of metadata and data that describes, indexes, and provides access to diverse data sets generated by Arctic and Antarctic researchers (https://www.polardata.ca/)


Polar Blog

Produced in partnership with the Canadian Geographic Magazine, the Polar Blog features the work of Canadian researchers on polar knowledge topics. It is hosted on the Canadian Geographic website.

Polar Knowledge App

The Polar Knowledge App (also downloadable through iTunes) provides information about a wide range of polar knowledge topics – from Canada and the circumpolar world:

  • connect with Arctic and Antarctic experts
  • find out where polar research is being done
  • locate polar science infrastructure and monitoring sites
  • learn about northern communities
  • find upcoming workshops and conferences in the polar events calendar
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