Software & Polar Research Workshop


The UK Polar Network are running a Software & Polar Research Workshop at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge: Tuesday 17th September 2013. Although we are currently still in the planning process, please save this date in your diaries and check back regularly for updates! Where:  Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge Lensfield Road Cambridge CB2 1ER  When: 17 September, 2013 (immediately preceding the UK Arctic Science Workshop) What: We want to bring together a group of 20-30 early career polar researchers for a day filled with topics on how software has and will play an important role in polar research and your research in particular. Session ideas right now include talks on how software has enabled unique and exciting polar research (whether controlling autonomous vehicles, or fusing large amounts of satellite data over Antarctica and Greenland, for example), a presentation on becoming ready to share your code, resources for software development best practice, tips on choosing the best computing tools for your research, and a collaborative session between workshop attendees. The event will also include a networking reception to allow participants to get to know each other and the presenters. Some funds will be available for travel to Cambridge and accommodation for the workshop, as well as possibly for the duration of the Arctic Science Conference, depending on demand. What Next: Over the next few months we’ll be forming the programme, confirming speakers, and setting up the registration process. To express interest in attending the workshop and receive updates, email If you have any ideas for what you’d like to see as part of the workshop, we’d love to hear that, too. The UKPN is always looking for volunteers who want to get involved, so let us know if you’d like to help organize this event (or a future one), even in a small role. How: This workshop is sponsored by the Software Sustainability Institute. Find out more about how they can help you do your research better at  Look out for their resources as well as their fellowship scheme, which provides researchers at all career levels with funds to attend conferences, run events, and further the aims of the SSI.

Bangor Polar Symposium

Saturday 8th December 2012 School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University (North Wales) An informal one day symposium for early career scientists to present their work, network and gain advice on polar careers. Key note speakers include Dr Stephanie Wilson (Antarctic zooplankton) and Nick Hughes (Sea Ice).
If you would like to present your work or attend this exciting event then please submit your abstract by the 10th of November at £10 registration fee includes refreshments, buffet lunch and dinner.This event is supported by the UK Polar Network, Endeavour Society, School of Ocean Sciences at Bangor University and Calegeo.

Report on the UKPN Workshop: Modelling In the Polar Sciences

The UKPN Modelling in the polar sciences workshop ran from the 2nd to the 4th of April 2012 in the Geography department at the University of Sheffield. It was attended by 30+ masters students, PhD students and early-career researchers all interested in learning about mathematical modelling and how it is applied in the polar sciences. Participants enjoyed talks and practicals covering topics from ice ages to ice divides delivered by a range of highly respected academics. Felix Ng, Sheffield, began the workshop with an introduction to mathematical modelling providing a useful summary of the different types and uses of modelling, and sharing his love of the subject by describing the links between hydrodynamics and horse locomotion. Next, Michael Griffiths from the Sheffield computing department introduced us to the Sheffield supercomputer which we used to compile and run models during the rest of the workshop. Andrew Fowler, Limerick, then ran a computer practical where participants gained experience of modelling ice ages. Later in the afternoon participants got a chance to present their work in a poster session. Judges Felix Ng, Iestyn Barr, Queens Marys, and Ian Rutt, Swansea, chose Edward Gasson’s poster entitled ‘Modelling the onset of Cenozoic Antarctic glaciation’ as the winning of the poster prize which was presented at the end of the workshop.

Participants enjoying modelling ice ages during Andrew Fowler’s computer practical. From left to right: Jonathan Day, Leeds; Christopher Williams, Leeds; Eleanor Darlington, Loughborough; Aisling Dolan, Leeds.

The next day began with talks about the GLIMMER-community ice sheet model from Ian Rutt and Stephen Livingstone, Sheffield, and a practical run by Ian aimed at teaching students how to compile and run GLIMMER for themselves. That afternoon Richard Hodgkins, Loughborough, gave a talk and ran a practical on the modelling of the glacier hydrology using linear reservoir and time-series approaches. That evening the conference dinner was held at a local restaurant called The Milestone. The next morning Grant Bigg, Sheffield, and Pete Nienow, Edinburgh, presented interesting talks about the Arctic’s contribution to Heinrich events and hydrological observations in West Greenland. These were followed by a talk and practical run by Richard Hindmarsh, British Antarctic Survey, about ice divides and grounding line stability. The workshop provided an opportunity for young scientists to interact with each other and with some of the most respected and established academics in their respective fields. Everyone who attended took a huge amount from the event both academically and socially. I would like to thank all the people who helped organise the workshop, including but not limited to: Iestyn Barr, Jeremy Ely, Stephen Livingstone, Sarah Wrathmell, Tom Hurst, Amir Levy, John Owen. I would also like to thank Sheffield University for use of the Geography Department and supercomputing facilities and Foreign and Commonwealth Office for funding that made the workshop possible. Jonathan Kingslake, University of Sheffield.

Modelling In the Polar Sciences Workshop – April 2012

The use of mathematical modelling is becoming increasingly important in all areas of science. This spring, the UKPN will continue our highly successful programme of workshops bringing early career polar scientists together to meet and learn about specific areas of the discipline. This free workshop will focus on the use of modelling in the polar sciences. It will be held at the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of April 2012. Following the format of previous successful UKPN workshops, we will be organising lectures and practical sessions that will cover a broad range of polar science-related subjects where mathematical modelling plays a role. These will to be led by a number of highly respected academics including Grant Bigg, Sheffield; Andrew Fowler, Oxford; Edward Hanna, Sheffield; Richard Hindmarsh, British Antarctic Survey; Richard Hodgkins, Loughborough; Pete Nienow, Edinburgh; Felix Ng, Sheffield and Ian Rutt, Swansea and more! As well as lectures and practical sessions, the workshop will include sessions on the basics of modelling, poster sessions where participants will be encouraged to present their work (modelling-based or otherwise), careers discussions, and a group dinner where we will get a chance to properly meet each other and enjoy an evening out in Sheffield! This workshop is aimed at early career polar scientists (Masters, PhD and Post-docs) who already make use of modelling or are interested in doing so, not just people who are already knowledgeable in the field. We aim to integrate the skills of students with modelling experience with those who wish to develop skills in this important aspect of research. It will be great to welcome a broad range of Polar Scientists to Sheffield in April! Please keep an eye on the mailing list and here on the UKPN website for more details regarding when you can sign up! For further details please contact: Jonny Kingslake - University of Sheffield Stephen Livingstone - University of Sheffield Amir Levy - Keele University and Iestyn Barr - Queen Mary University of London

Summary of biology and ecosystems workshop

The workshop ‘High latitude biology, ecosystems and the future; A multidisciplinary approach’ organised by Coleen Suckling ran for 2 days mid November in the British Antarctic Survey. This was the first biology based workshop from the UK Polar Network’s career development series which saw twenty-three early career stage participants arrive to network in Cambridge. Excellent talks were provided by keynote speakers discussing multi-disciplinary science and future insights for the Arctic (Ray Leakey; Scottish Association for Marine Science), Antarctic (Andy Clarke; British Antarctic Survey) and acclimations and adaptations on the polar regions (Melody Clark; BAS). Some of which will soon be available to view on the APECS website ( The participants were given opportunities to network through producing media aimed talks on their fields. Using information generated from the talks and the skill sets of the participant’s mini-mock grant proposals were generated on mutually agreed important polar questions. Future insights on these questions were discussed to determine how approaches proposed to answer them today may change over the next decade. Interestingly the participants drew to similar conclusions – molecular and satellite applications will become increasingly important in the future! Participants also presented their work to each other through a poster session. Alan Rodger (Science Leader, BAS) closed the meeting with his inspirational talk ‘Where is environmental science going?’. He informed the participants that the 21st century is the century for biologists due to the urgency to understand the repercussions of rapid climate change on ecosystems and highlighted the importance on utilizing a multidisciplinary approach. The organizer would like to thank everyone who helped and participated in the workshop, particularly to the British Antarctic Survey.

Keynote speaker Andrew Clarke


Polar Sedimentary Processes and Archives Workshop

The UKPN and Loughborough University are pleased to announce the Polar Sedimentary Processes and Archives workshop as the latest in the 2010 series of UKPN career skills workshops.

Location: Loughborough University Dates: 18th and 19th of November 2010. Sedimentary archives are key indicators of past environmental change across a range of timescales.  Coupled with an understanding of contemporary sediment processes, they make it possible to reconstruct terrestrial, cryospheric, atmospheric, marine, and lacustrine conditions, which are vital for accurate modelling of future scenarios for climate change. The workshop aims to explore the following themes: • How is the polar sedimentary archive used to understand past environmental processes? • How can past polar sedimentary processes be interpreted in terms of environmental and climatic change? • What uncertainties are there in the sedimentary record (past and present), and what are the strengths and weaknesses of the differing sedimentary records available in polar regions? •       How can we use polar sediments from different sources to obtain a regional perspective on past and present environmental change that would benefit climate modelling? We intend to appeal to early career researchers (MSc, PhD and post-doctoral researchers) working in polar, sub polar or alpine regions with an emphasis on sediments. The intention is to cover a range of sub-disciplines within the earth sciences including, glacial and periglacial sedimentology, limnology and palaeolimnology, hydrology, aeolian, marine and atmospheric sciences. This is not an exhaustive list and we welcome all polar researchers. Proposed sessions include • Glacial and periglacial sediments • Lacustrine sediments • Aeolian and Atmospheric sediments • Marine sediments • Arctic hydrology • Modelling future change in the Polar regions Planned sessions also include advice about publishing and a panel session on field research skills by leading academics. The workshop will provide an opportunity for peer to peer networking, skills training, encouraging collaborations and increasing the technical and scientific knowledge of participants. All delegates will be encouraged to do an oral presentation or produce a poster about their research, and will be encouraged to help in the organisation of the workshop, such as chairing sessions. It is anticipated that a small fee (no more than £10) will be charged for all delegates attending the workshop. This is a postgraduate event and costs will be kept to a minimum. The UKPN has donated some funding towards the conference which will be used to support travel and accommodation expenses of delegates. We invite all delegates to claim some funding towards the conference costs. We ask interested participants to pre-register by the 31st of August 2010 by using the online questionnaire at  If you have any questions please email

Investigating Variability in Polar Climates: Past, Present and Future

As a great start to the Career Skills series this year, the University of Leeds hosted a multi-disciplinary workshop Investigating Variability in Polar Climates; Past, Present and Future.  The workshop took place on the 8th and 9th of April and saw over 30 PhD, Masters students and Post-Docs gather to discuss the latest topics surrounding variability in Polar environments.

The workshop was organised by PhD students at the University of Leeds; Aisling Dolan, Amber Leeson, Sarah Monks, Thomas Pleavin, Jo Browse and Abigail Clifton.

Two keynote talks were given by leading scientists from the British Antarctic Survey.  Dr. Anna Jones gave a presentation on ‘Air/snowinteractions and its influence on polar tropospheric chemistry’ and Dr. Adrian Jenkins gave a talk on oceanic forcing on the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.  Other speakers included Prof. Jane Francis and Prof. Piers Forster (IPCC Author) looking at the past and future evolution of Polar Climates.  Technical sessions included An Introduction to Modelling Polar Climates, Polar Meteorology, Polar Atmospheric Composition and Cryosphere Remote Sensing.  A speed researcher networking session was given by Dr. Andrea Howarth (Skills Training, Leeds) and anintroduction to Science and the Media was given by Hannah Isom; a Senior Press Officer at Leeds.  Practical sessions on ice sheet modelling (Dr. Daniel Hill, BGS) and a Q&A panel on fieldwork also provided an interactive learning environment.

Many researchers gave a poster of their current or projected research and all posters were of a very high standard.  Three posters were chosen by a panel of senior academic judges as outstanding; Kathryn Nye (Durham, best overall poster), Carys Cook (Imperial College, highly commendable) and Daniel Grosvener (Manchester, highly commendable).  The poster session and conference dinner offered a valuable networking opportunity and allowed for many in depth discussions about current Polar research.

We feel that the workshop was a huge success and we hope that early career researchers found the event of value and that it may have sparked off future collaborations.  We would like to take the opportunity to thanks all of the participants and presenters who made this event as enjoyable as it was.

Particular recognition must also go to our sponsors – the Natural Environment Research Council, International Polar Year International Programme Office, the University of Leeds (Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Science, Earth System Science Institute and the Sellwood Group for Palaeo-Climatology) and the Royal Meteorological Society - for making this event financially possible.

Aisling Dolan (UKPN Committee)