DFG Priority Programme 1158 - Antarctic Research with Comparative Investigations in Arctic Ice Areas (Abbreviation: SPP 1158)

A profound understanding of the role of polar regions in the Earth system can only be achieved through coordinated research in all scientific disciplines. However, polar research – and Antarctic research in particular – is more dependent than other fields of research on logistical possibilities and a specific scientific infrastructure.

Since 1981, the German Research Foundation (DFG) has provided coordinated funding for Antarctic research in Germany. The DFG Priority Programme 1158 "Antarctic Research with Comparative Investigations in Arctic Ice Areas" is multidisciplinary in design and seeks to support German Antarctic researchers. Thanks to this funding instrument, university research groups in particular can use the logistics provided by the Alfred Wegener Institute in Bremerhaven (AWI), the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources in Hannover (BGR) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), which are essential for their research work. Due to the intensive involvement of the universities, the SPP 1158 was and is the decisive funding instrument for raising the awareness of young academics in Germany for the polar regions and for training future generations of polar researchers.

Launched as an Antarctic research programme, the SPP 1158 focused exclusively on Antarctic research in its early years. In 1997, the SPP 1158 was extended to include comparative studies in the Arctic in order to be able to investigate the coupling mechanisms between the polar regions in the Earth system more comprehensively, also against the background of the discussion on the dynamics of the global climate that has been ongoing for years. The scientific results achieved in the programme phases 2003-2007, 2008-2012, 2013-2018 and 2019-2024 are presented in detail on the DFG Priority Programme 1158 website. The results show that there is a broadly diversified, highly qualified and motivated group of scientists in Germany who, with the help of this funding instrument, are making a clearly visible contribution to the pressing issues of international polar research. The SPP 1158 website is intended to serve both young and experienced polar researchers as a contact point for applying for research projects and as a communication medium in the polar regions.