National Institute of Polar Research

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About / About Our Institute

What we do

As the core center for Japanese scientific research and observation of the polar regions

We engage in comprehensive research via our observation stations in the Arctic and Antarctica. We are also an inter-university research institute that provides researchers in all parts of Japan with infrastructure support for Arctic and Antarctic observations while working diligently to promote polar science by publicly soliciting collaboration research projects as well as providing samples, materials, and information.

As the core institution in Japan’s Antarctic observations

We plan and implement Japan’s Antarctic observation projects. Our ninth six-year plan, which starts with the 58th Antarctic Observation, will carry out various research observations, with the main theme focusing on “Exploring Geosystem Changes from the Polar Regions.” In addition to maintaining and operating the facilities at our Antarctic observation stations, our tasks include organizing the Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition Team, conducting various training evolutions, procuring goods and supplies necessary for observation projects (together with the development of appropriate delivery plans), as well as managing and storing the samples and materials obtained via our projects.

As the core institution in observation of the Arctic region

We conduct Arctic observations that cover observations of the atmosphere, ice sheets, the ecosystem, the upper atmosphere, the aurora, the Earth’s magnetic field and so on, from ground-based observation stations in Svalbard, Greenland, northern Scandinavia, Iceland, and other areas. We also conduct observations of the oceanic ecosystem and the atmosphere in the Arctic Ocean and its peripheral seas. Additionally, we are one of the representative institutions implementing the Arctic Challenge for Sustainability (ArCS) Project, which is a subsidiary project funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), and which kicked off in FY2015.

As an educational institution to foster researchers

As part of efforts to foster researchers with a broad, global perspective and a sense of originality, we offer a five-year doctoral program for graduate students of the Department of Polar Science at the School of Multidisciplinary Sciences of SOKENDAI (the Graduate University for Advanced Studies).

What are the Inter-University Research Institutes?

Inter-University Research Institutes are unique research organizations in Japan that seek to promote joint research across disciplines among universities. The institutes offer large-scale and cutting-edge facilities, large volumes of academic data, and valuable materials, which a single university would find it difficult to create and maintain, making them available free of charge to researchers in Japan as institutes shared by universities in different disciplines. Given this situation, close collaboration with universities is essential. Inter-University Research Institutes have been established as research bodies that address areas outside the reach of any single university, to pursue world-class studies. Their most fundamental characteristic is to offer the infrastructure needed to facilitate university-led research, and they have made significant contributions to the academic world. Inter-University Research Institutes are likely to become even more important in the years ahead. Inter-University Research Institutes will continue to play an important role in supporting education and research at universities, and in advancing the academic research that is principally conducted by universities. Features of Inter-University Research Institutes includes Cutting-edge research, Joint use and joint research and Graduate education. (Abstract from ROIS HP)

As “centers of excellence” in Japan

About Research Organization of Information and Systems

Conducting research that crosses the borders of traditional disciplines is becoming essential to solve important issues in the fields of life, environmental and information sciences that greatly impact our lives in the 21st century. The Research Organization of Information and Systems (ROIS) is a parent organization of four national institutes (the National Institute of Polar Research, the National Institute of Informatics, the Institute of Statistical Mathematics and the National Institute of Genetics) and the Joint Support-Center for Data Science Research. It is our mission to promote integrated, cutting-edge research that goes beyond the barriers of these institutions, in addition to facilitating their research activities, as members of inter-university research institutes. (Abstract from ROIS HP)

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