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Polar Office of FCT

Framework for creation of the Polar Office

The International Polar Year 2007-2008 was a significant milestone, which marked an increasing participation of the national scientific community on polar research. The importance of studying the polar regions comprehends the variety of information made possible concerning the climate system, global changes and paleoenvironmental reconstructions, as well as the knowledge provided in multiple fields such as oceanography, ecology, microbiology, glaciology and space. Thus, in addition to the potential that the polar region contains in itself, its particular characteristics allow very significant analogies for understanding and predicting the dynamics of planets and other environments.

Portuguese scientists have been developing its activity in the Arctic and Antarctic regions benefiting from the collaboration of countries with settlements in these areas. The autonomy of the national scientific community dedicated to polar research and the good continuity of the work carried out revealed a lack of logistical structure to ensure the sustainability and consolidation of the undertaken activities. Following the assessment carried out by the national scientific community on inherent needs to the evolution of polar research; the obligations derived of the adherence to the Antarctic Treaty in January 2010; the specificity of the logistical infrastructure involved, namely technological, and the markedly international level of the partnerships and entities which the Portuguese participation integrates, the creation of the Polar Office of FCT on December 2011 intends to constitute a base of institutional support and monitoring of national research in the polar regions.

The Polar Office has two scientific advisors: Professor Gonçalo Vieira (University of Lisbon) and Dr. José Xavier (University of Coimbra), in permanent connection with FCT in the different initiatives of polar research.

Objectives of the Polar Office

  • Organize dissemination and communication actions on Portuguese polar research in Antarctic and the Arctic.
  • Propose and coordinate measures of logistical support to the Portuguese polar research.
  • Establish the necessary practices to be correctly followed by the researchers from national institutions, in order to meet the standards for research in Antarctica under the signature of the Antarctic Treaty and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty (Madrid Protocol).
  • Propose the necessary actions to strengthen international collaboration and protocols in the field of polar sciences.
  • Serve as liaison between FCT and the national scientific community interested in polar research.
  • Ensure the connection between the Ministry of Education and Science and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to promote polar science and the correct integration of national scientists in international protocols.
  • Ensure the representation of Portuguese scientific community in major scientific and management organizations of international polar science, such as the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the European Polar Board (EPB), the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and Council of Managers of National Antarctic Program (COMNAP).
  • Support the FCT Scientific Council of Natural Science and Environment and the Directive Board on matters of polar science.
  • Organize a national polar database, and make it available to the Antarctic Master Directory, as suggested by SCAR and COMNAP Advisory System under the Antarctic Treaty.
  • Propose and foster partnerships between research institutions and industry in order to promote technological transference and the economical valorization of knowledge.


Ana Quartin - Coordination

Tel. (351) 21 391 15 42