Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) - The international Arctic drift expedition

RSS Ernest Shackleton going through ice

The inability of modern climate models to reproduce Arctic climate change is one of the most pressing problems in understanding and predicting global climate change. The Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) has been designed in response to this research need by providing a year-long observational study from the RV Polarstern.

The opportunity has arisen to participate in this €60 million initiative by partnering with the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), who have provided funding for ship berth fees on the MOSAiC expedition. To maximise the UK involvement in this expedition, NERC are investing £1·8 million to fund participants to undertake research projects that will utilise these ship berths and are compatible with the MOSAiC science plan.

MOSAiC - Announcement of Opportunity

Closing date: 31 Jan

15 Aug 2017

Proposals are invited under a new research programme which will provide the opportunity for participation in the Multidisciplinary Drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) initiative.

The Arctic is the fastest changing environment on the planet (IPCC 2014), with warming rates exceeding twice the global average. The dramatic changes in the Arctic climate system and the fast retreat of Arctic sea ice strongly affect global climate. However, the observed rate of climate change in the Arctic is not well reproduced in climate models, with many processes poorly represented because they are not well understood. This understanding is limited by a lack of year-round observations in the central Arctic.

MOSAiC has been designed in response to these research needs and will provide a step change in understanding of the coupled Arctic climate system and its representation in global climate models. It will do this by conducting a year-long study from the RV Polarstern as it drifts in the ice across the central Arctic Ocean from October 2019 to October 2020.

The MOSAiC project has been designed under the umbrella of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC), led by the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI), Russian Arctic & Antarctic Research Institute (AARI) and the University of Colorado (CIRES). The total budget exceeds €60 million.

The overarching objective of the MOSAiC initiative is to:

enhance process-level understanding of the coupled central Arctic climate system that will improve numerical models for sea ice forecasting, extended-range weather forecasting, climate projections, and climate change assessment.

The motivations for the initiative and outline of the specific science questions around which it is organised are described in the MOSAiC science and implementation plans.

The aim of this programme, in partnership with BEIS, is to provide the opportunity for the UK scientific community to engage with the MOSAiC expedition through the funding of six research proposals that will each utilise a two-month berth on the RV Polarstern.

This programme will address the 'managing environmental change' challenge in the NERC strategy.


2017 - 2022

Can I apply for a grant?

An announcement of opportunity is now open.


This programme has a budget of £1·8 million.

The following documents and links are related to or give more information about this programme.

MOSAiC Science Plan (PDF, 2MB)

MOSAiC Implementation Plan (PDF, 2.6MB)