Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research

Short Name: AWI
Country: Germany


Alfred-Wegener-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum fuer Polar- und Meeresforschung is the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI). AWI is one of the world ́s leading polar research organisations and delivers significant contributions to the international research on climate, marine and coastal issues. It coordinates the German polar research within an international framework and provides the national and international science community with polar and marine infrastructure. AWI belongs to the Helmholtz Association, Germany’s largest scientific organisation, and is the central German research facility for the polar regions.

The institute has a staff of more than 1000 people. The annual budget is the equivalent of 114 million Euros, 90 % of which is provided from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and 10 % from provincial sources. AWI is the national manager and implementation agency of the National German Arctic and Antarctic Programme.

It has the following tasks at the national level, mandated by the German Federal Government to:

1. conduct research in both polar regions, mainly in multidisciplinary environmental research,

2. support other German polar researchers,

3. manage and coordinate all German polar research activities, and

4. advise the German government in all matters concerning the polar regions.

The infrastructure of the AWI

AWI operates the research icebreaker and supply vessel PRV Polarstern, the regional research vessel Heincke and several smaller vessels, two research airplanes, and permanent research stations in Antarctica and on Spitsbergen. The research stations on the Northern Hemisphere are operated in close international cooperation. In Ny-Ålesund on Spitsbergen (Svalbard), AWI maintains the small, permanently staffed station AWIPEV jointly together with the French Polar Institute Paul Emile Victor (IPEV). The Siberian research station Samoylov in the Lena Delta is jointly operated with Russia. AWI together with the Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM) of the University of Bremen operates the World Data Centre for Marine Environmental Sciences (WDC-MARE) using PANGAEA (Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science) as its central archive. PANGAEA is a repository for any kind of georeferenced data from Earth System research.


AWI will be Work Package Leaders on WP4 Call Management and Proposal Evaluation, devoted to the management and evaluation of Eurofleets+ ship-time proposals.

AWI will also undertake activities in WP1 Project Management, and WP9 Dissemination and Communication.

Relevant Publications

  • Biebow, N., Lembke-Jene, L., Kunz-Pirrung, M., Egerton, P., Thiede, J. (2009) AURORA BOREALIS A New European Research Icebreaker with drilling capability, In: System of the Laptev Sea and the adjacent Arctic Seas: Modern and Past Environments, Kassens, H., Lisitzin, A.P., Thiede, J. Polyakova Y.I., Timokhov, L.A. & Frolov, I.E. (eds.), Moscow University Press, in Russian.

  • Biebow, N., Thiede, J (2007) Aurora Borealis – Development of a New Research Icebreaker with Drilling Capability, Scientific Drilling, 5, pp. 60-62.

  • Tannerfeldt M., Biebow N., Lochte K., Dahlbäck B. (2013) Arctic Research Icebreaker Cooperation towards ARICE and beyond: A strategy for meeting the needs for marine research in the Arctic. A Community White Paper prepared for the Arctic Observing Summit 2013.

  • Willmott, V., Azzolini, R., Brandt, A., Brinkhuis, H., Camerlenghi, A., Coakley, B., (…) Wagner, E. (Eds.). (2013). ERICON Science Perspective 2015-2030: Scientific Research in Polar Seas. p. 110.

  • Willmott, V., Lembke-Jene, L., Azzolini, R., Wolff-Boenisch, B., Biebow, N., and Thiede, J., 2011, Towards a European Research Icebreaker and Deep-Sea Drilling Facility for Polar Research: ERICON- AURORA BOREALIS, Arctic Frontiers Conference, 23 – 28 January 2011, Tromsø, Norway.


Am Handelshafen 12, 27570 Bremerhaven, Germany
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