The European Polar Research Icebreaker Consortium - AURORA BOREALIS
Coordinator: European Science Foundation (ESF)
Consortium partners: 10 European nations,
Project duration: 01 March 2008 – 28 February 2012
Budget: 4.5 million Euro
The ERICON-AB project is generating the strategic, legal, financial and organisational frameworks for national governments and the European Commission to allocate financial resources to the construction and operation of AURORA BOREALIS.
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Year-round scientific observations are essential for understanding dynamic systems in Polar Regions and possible climate modifications induced by humans. The European research icebreaker AURORA BOREALIS will enable Europe to launch international research expeditions into the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic continental shelf seas during all seasons of the year. The planned vessel will enable polar scientists for the first time to study some of the most pressing scientific questions of the next decades.
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AURORA BOREALIS will be a major asset for a European operational capability in all Polar Regions. The vessel will be jointly owned and operated as a large-scale research initiative by European nations and other interested partners. AURORA BOREALIS will yield considerable commitments by participating nations for co-ordinating and expanding polar research programmes. The vessel will be a major factor for the realisation of the “European Research Area” and complement future Framework Programmes, long-term research strategies, and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme (IODP).
Scientific management frameworks will be set to handle large-scale, multi-year, mission-specific research programmes and closer science and technology cooperations with EU strategic partner countries like Russia are anticipated.
The Consortium Partners will develop the frameworks for joint ownership and operation of a multi-country research facility. A legal structure for AURORA BOREALIS will be proposed and connections with other existing research assets such as polar stations, air support and satellites will be sought. The final aim is to reach an agreement with nations comitting to the construction. Accordingly, a series of decision points for agencies and governments throughout the project’s duration is part of the agenda.