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The International Polar Year is a large scientific programme focused on the Arctic and the Antarctic. The program officially ran from March 2007 to March 2009 but was closed in September 2011. IPY was organized through the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It was actually the fourth polar year, following those in 1882-3, 1932-3, and 1957-8.

IPY involved over 200 projects from around the world on Arctic and Antarctic issues. Thousands of scientists from over 60 nations examined a wide range of physical, biological and social research topics. It was also an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate, follow, and get involved with, cutting edge science in real-time.

Arctic Portal is a good example of a project which started out as an IPY project.