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Greenland 22°C degrees hotter than normal, the Canadian and Siberian permafrost melting with unprecedented speed, local populations facing new challenges to survive, the European climate under the impact of the changing Arctic - the Arctic is ever more in the headlines. The EU-funded Arctic research projects met in Brussels to discuss synergies and common strategies to boost their impact on policy and people.

The EU Arctic project representatives discussed how to best provide added value to the results of each single project in the field of communication, dissemination, stakeholder engagement (including local communities and policy makers), education and data management. This was the 2nd EU Arctic Cluster meeting and the main objectives were to take stock of the actions carried over the last year and to facilitate the organisation of future activities.

The EU Arctic Cluster is a network of Horizon 2020 and 7th Framework Programme funded Arctic projects. Currently it involves 11 projects: APPLICATE, ARCSAR, ARICE, BLUE-ACTION, EU-PolarNet, ICE-AR, iCUPE, INTAROS, INTERACT, KEPLER and NUNATARYUK.

These projects address a broad spectrum of research and coordination activities: the most up-to-date findings on permafrost and sea ice, enhancing observation to improve predictions, networking of research stations, coordinating access to icebreakers, building scenarios to help local communities adapting to the changing Arctic and more. Bringing together the insights from various areas of expertise, the Cluster provides one entry point to the EU-funded Arctic/polar research.

It aims at providing policy-relevant information and supporting the EU in implementing its integrated policy for the Arctic by fostering international cooperation, reporting on the impacts of climate change on the Arctic's fragile environment and promoting sustainable development of the region in cooperation with policy makers, indigenous peoples and local communities, business and NGO representatives as well as other societal actors.

With the recent approval of new Horizon 2020 projects with an Arctic/polar component and additional funding projects under the ongoing Horizon 2020 call on the cryosphere, the Arctic cluster will broaden its scope to include also the Antarctica, to become a “Polar” cluster, ensuring a bigger impact of around 20 EU-funded projects from the beginning of 2020.

Picture © Steffen M. Olsen (Danish Meteorlogical Institute)

Source: European Commission