Xavier Grosmaître, Science and Higher Education Attaché at the French Embassy in Ottawa, spoke at the CSPC – Canadian Scientific Policy Conference, for a presentation on international cooperation in Arctic research.

Organizer : Dr. Urs Obrist, Scientific and Technical Advisor at the Swiss Embassy in Canada.
Participants : Robert Kadas, Deputy Director Nordic and Polar Relations at World Affairs Canada // Anne Kari Ovind, Ambassador of Norway to Canada // Hwasue Sung, Political and Environmental Advisor at the Embassy of South Korea in Canada.

He first reviewed the long history of French research in the polar regions which was marked by the pioneering figure of Paul-Emile Victor (1907-1995) who led his first expeditions to Greenland in 1935, but also that of Jean Malaurie, whose ethnographic and topographical studies in these regions have opened up very dynamic fields of research today.

Today, France has several international research centres in both the North and the South.

  • Dumont d’Urville station opened in the 1950s, located in Antarctica.
  • Concordia Antarctic base since 2005 in co-management with Italy.
  • In 2003, France and Germany pooled their locations and logistics resources in Ny-Ålesund, forming the Franco-German polar base AWIPEV, the first Arctic research station managed as part of an international collaboration. It hosts the second largest contingent of researchers in Ny-Ålesund (after the Norwegians).


Institut Paul-Emile Victor

Although not an Arctic country, France has been an observer member of the Arctic Council for almost twenty years. As such, it initiates scientific and environmental projects and promotes its research expertise in many polar programs.

The priorities that France has set in this area are first of all the development of the European dimension of Arctic research within the framework of the Horizon 2020/Horizon Europe programme, but also to financially support initiatives such as EU-PolarNet. Finally, it follows the “Chantier Arctique” strategy undertaken by the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique), which complements the actions undertaken by the Paul Emile Victor Institute.

The consequences of climate change in the Arctic already have – and will have even more in the future – aftermaths that extend far beyond the borders of the Arctic continent. No country can pursue research on this space alone, the context strongly invites us to pursue the path of international cooperation.