Skip to main content



Explore more of Isaaffik

Activities of the Polar Research Board


Project start
Project end
Type of project
Project theme
Education & Outreach
Project topic
Education & Outreach

Project details

Science / project summary

Nontechnical The Polar Research Board (PRB) is the focal point within the US National Academies for providing scientific advice on issues related to the Arctic, Antarctic, and cold regions in general. The PRB does not conduct scientific research, but instead works to synthesize existing information so it is useful to decision makers. The PRB seeks to increase understanding of the polar sciences among state and federal decision makers and others. The Board's overall mission is to help polar science have a broader impact on society, both in the United States and in the international arena. This award will provide partial support for the expenses associated with the activities and operations of the PRB over a period of three years. NOAA and NASA provide additional funds toward the PRB's operations and activities. Technical The PRB serves at the interface of polar science and policy, across disciplines, and across both northern and southern Polar Regions. The PRB's mission is to advance understanding of the polar regions, including all areas of science, engineering, human dimensions, and policy; foster application of polar science to benefit the public and decision makers; advise U.S. research programs so they are responsive to the needs of the nation; encourage interdisciplinary and cross polar perspectives; and provide a forum for independent discussion of polar issues. Activities include discussion forums, program reviews, assistance in setting priorities and identifying research opportunities, evaluation of relevant technologies, analyses of controversial and nationally important topics, and other tasks as needed. The Board does not conduct research, but helps to focus and integrate information and thus give polar research more visibility and a broader impact on society, both in the United States and internationally. The PRB also serves as the U.S. National Committee to two international polar science organizations -- the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) and the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). The PRB's activities bring diverse scientific perspectives together in service to national needs. The PRB strives to enhance understanding of the Arctic and Antarctic, provide independent views on U.S. research efforts, ensure that the polar science community is involved in government decision-making, and grow US leadership in international activities. The Board asks the "best and brightest" scientists to volunteer their time, and these volunteers are the intellectual force behind all the Board's work. Participants are selected with care to bring a diversity of expertise and experience; they are broad thinkers who can both react to requests for assistance and look ahead to anticipate issues. The Board is increasingly effective, conducting more visible activities, and has earned a reputation for timely and frank guidance. In the three years of this award, the PRB expects to serve the Nation by addressing priority issues either requested by agencies or identified by the Board's members --through informal discussions at the Board meetings, and through the development of new ad hoc study and workshop activities. The Board will also continue to facilitate U.S. participation in IASC and SCAR, and seek ways to make these organizations valuable to U.S. interests.