Managing polar research is a tremendous challenge. It covers work at sea on rough and intimidating oceans, and on land over crevassed terrain or rotten sea ice with the prospect of death or frostbite. These environments are extremely hostile and difficult to work in. Results are costly to obtain, and yet the work is of vital importance, as the polar regions are the world's freezers, critical components of the climate system, and repositories of amazing biodiversity. These regions are grossly undersampled, and relatively poorly monitored. National efforts are best carried out in an international framework, in which cooperation is essential for major breakthroughs, and the exchange and sharing of data and information and facilities is essential for ongoing monitoring of change. Under the circumstances the managers of polar research institutes must proceed with well-developed strategies. Given the growing interest of different countries in the polar regions, it would seem useful to bring together advice won through hard effort over the years in how best to develop strategies for polar scientific institute management. This discussion paper offers advice on how such strategies may best be developed.
The author has compiled this based on many years of management experience in both the ocean and polar sciences with the following institutions: the UK Natural Environment Research Council's Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Deacon Laboratory, the UK's National Oceanography Centre, UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, and the International Council for Science's Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research