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Virtual event
ESA European Commision
26-30 October 2020

2020 European Polar Science Week
Virtual Event



Polar regions have experienced the most rapid rates of warming in recent years and its expected impacts will exceed those forecasted for many other regions in the planet resulting in local, regional and globally significant consequences affecting natural ecosystems and human activities.

Improving our observation capacity and enhancing the basic understanding of the different drivers and processes governing those changes and translate that knowledge into actionable solutions for society is a major challenge for the future.

Earth observation from space and Earth system science will represent an essential element in this process. However, addressing the major challenge in Polar research will require a significant collaborative effort and an integrated approach to science where the synergistic use of EO satellite data, in-situ and citizen observations, advanced modelling capabilities, interdisciplinary research and new technologies will be essential elements.

EC and ESA are working together to define a common scientific agenda identifying the set of grand science challenges in Polar research that may drive joint EC-ESA scientific activities in the coming few years.

As part of the implementation ESA and EC have organised the “European Polar Science week” as a virtual event that will take place during the week of October 26-30 2020. The overall objective of the European Polar Science Week is to bring together the European Polar science community, EC and ESA project teams, stakeholders and key scientists worldwide to discuss the major challenges and opportunities in front of us, promote networking and collaboration across projects and activities and support ESA and the EC to collect recommendations and define a common scientific agenda to drive the implementation of this important Flagship Action.

This common scientific agenda will represent the basis for an stronger ESA-EC partnership and a more effective and coordinated European Polar Science Programme.


  • Establish a coordinated EC-ESA European Polar Cluster promoting and fostering closer collaboration and networking across the EU Polar Cluster and ESA Polar Science Cluster activities;
  • Defining a common science agenda as the basis for future ESA-EC joint activities and a more effective and coordinated European Polar Science Programme.

To this end, through this event, ESA and EC aims at addressing and achieving the following objectives:

  • Reviewing the progress and latest results in polar science with major focus on EO- advances in the domain of polar research and applications
  • Identifying the major Polar scientific challenges, observation gaps and research needs for the coming years
  • Identifying the coming opportunities offered by the increasing international EO capacity from space in synergies with in-situ observations, citizen science, advance modelling, new technologies and interdisciplinary research
  • Exploring effective mechanisms to promote networking and collaborative research in Polar sciences, bringing together different expertise, data and resources in a synergistic manner ensuring that the final result may be bigger than the sum of the parts
  • Advancing towards the definition of major scientific priorities in polar research that may drive EC and ESA collaborative activities in the coming years
  • Exploring the need for major multi-year coordinated interdisciplinary experiments (involving advances in EO satellite observations, large in-situ data collection campaigns, advances in modelling, ...)

It is expected that the European Polar Science week will deliver the following outcomes:

A EC-ESA Common Science Agenda including:

  • Set of Grand Challenges, based upon wide consensus in the European Polar Science community and stakeholders
  • Set of recommendations on science actions (cascading from the Grand Challenges) to be addressed by ESA-EOP and EC-RTD programmatic activities in the near to mid term (1-5 years)
  • Set of recommendations to reinforce the modalities of cooperation between ESA and EC activities and programmes and maximise its benefits

Submit your contribution

The abstract submission is now closed. Please click here to access your submitted contribution.

Call for Abstracts

The morning sessions of the first two days will consist of state-of-the-art scientific talks within these categories:

1) Advances in EO polar geophysical (e.g., novel satellite products and observations over ice-sheets, glaciers, permafrost areas, terrestrial snow, sea-ice and snow on sea-ice, sea state, ocean biology, atmosphere chemistry and dynamics, etc.)
2) Advances in Polar sciences, process understanding, predictions and modelling modelling (e.g., ice sheet mass balance, Ice sheet hydrology, surface mass balance and melting processes, carbon and radiation budget, methane emissions and permafrost degradation, sea-ice-atmosphere-ocean interactions, Arctic ocean spin-up, Arctic amplification, Arctic and Antarctic ocean circulation, atmosphere circulation and polar changes, Polar ecosystems and biodiversity, etc.)
3) Integrating citizen observations and local knowledge in science (e.g., exploitation of local knowledge, local observations and crowd sourcing)
4) Observation system and data management (e.g., land, sea and atmosphere in-situ and airborne observations, data networks and infrastructures, data management etc.) and
5) Novel technologies. (e.g., AI and polar research, big data and cloud computing platforms, data intensive science, virtual Labs...)

Call for Discussion Sessions

The objective of the workshop is to define a scientific agenda identifying a set of major scientific challenges to be faced in the coming years that may drive future ESA and DG-RTD coordinated investments in Polar research. To this end, the community is invited to propose discussion sessions focused on major Polar science challenges to define a number of major community initiatives and experiments that will require an integrated and multi-disciplinary approach to science involving advances in Earth Observation satellite data, in-situ observations, modelling, interdisciplinary research and the use of novel technologies in a coordinated manner. The structure of the proposal should be:

  • High level description of the grand challenge
  • Proposed chairs and reporters
  • Proposed introductory key notes
  • Proposed discussion agenda
  • Proposed discussion participants

The output of the discussion sessions should be a report in the form of a white paper providing a well-structured description of the problem, the scientific and observations needs and recommendation for the way forward.

Discussion sessions guidelines


The event will be based on a dynamic combination of different type of sessions promoting different levels of interaction with the community:

  1. Main “plenary” sessions based on invited key note speakers and including a final round table discussions focused around key topics of general interest. These sessions will be organised on dedicated times during the day without overlapping with other sessions.
  2. Virtual Poster and virtual exhibition area. Using a tool allowing e-posters and other electronic material submitted by the community to be explored, presented and discussed, with open interaction among participants and the authors through the networking and contact opportunities offered by the tool.
  3. A set of parallel discussion sessions or side events proposed by the community focusing on different topics and including presentations from key note speakers.

The event is open to EO scientists, polar researchers and students, modellers, Earth system and climate scientists, industry, operational agencies, policy makers, representatives of local communities and other stakeholders interested in sharing their knowledge and experience and contributing to drive the European polar scientific agenda. The event will be completely virtual with all presentations and discussions done remotely.

The European Polar Science Week initiates a new phase in the ESA-EOP EC-RTD cooperation in the Polar context and will be followed up with annual events to review and further stimulate the cooperation.

Contact info

Schedule and Deadlines

Abstract submission opening 17 December 2019
Abstract submission closure Closed
Notification of acceptance 30 September 2020
Issue of Preliminary Programme 30 September 2020
Virtual Event 26-30 October 2020


The event will be held online on 26-30 October 2020.
Additional information on the virtual event will be provided in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned!

Organising Committee

Mark Drinkwater


Diego Fernandez


Rene Forsberg


Attilio Gambardella


Ola Grabak


Anica Huck


Gaëlle Le Bouler


Sabrina Lodadio


Irene Renis


Giulia Vinicola


Alberto Zocchi


Scientific Committee

Jonathan Bamber

University of Bristol

Jérôme Benveniste


Monique Bernier


Jérôme Bouffard


Jason Eric Box


Matilde Brandt Kreiner


Wolfgang Dierking


Craig Donlon


Claude Duguay

University of Waterloo Canada

Marcus Engdahl


Fausto Ferraccioli

British Antarctic Survey

Andrew Fleming

British Antarctic Survey

Carolina Gabarró


Sebastian Gerland

Norwegian Polar Institute

Noel Gourmelen

University of Edinburg

Anna Hogg

University of Leeds

Angelika Humbert


Christine Hvidberg

Niels Bohr Institute

Johnny Johannessen


Michael Kern


Giovanni Macelloni


Kenichi Matsuoka

Norwegian Polar Institute

Eva Mätzler

ASIAQ Greenland

Mal McMillan

University of Lancaster

Heinrich Miller


John Moore

University of Lapland

Ruth Mottram


Thomas Nagler


Steffen Olsen


Tommaso Parrinello


Jouni Pulliainen

Finish Meteorological Institute

Eric Rignot

UC Irvine / NASA JPL

Louise Sandberg Sørensen


Stein Sandven


Andrew Shepherd

University of Leeds

Rune Solberg

Norwegian Computing Center

Julienne Stroeve


Johanna Tamminen


Marco Tedesco

Columbia University

Leif Toudal Pedersen


Anna Maria Trofaier


Gonçalo Vieira

University of Lisboa