Supporting Arctic and marine research

As a northern nation surrounded by three oceans, Canada has a responsibility to support ongoing research that explores our marine and Arctic environments. But conducting research in these vast and harsh places often requires access to large-scale, costly infrastructure. By engaging the Arctic and marine research communities around the globe to develop a bold strategic vision for studying these fragile regions, Canada can share resources and better coordinate the use of facilities to optimize national investments in this critical area of research.

Illustration of a hand pointing and clicking a button which represents interactivity

Tour the CCGS Amundsen

A multimedia exploration of Canada’s dedicated research icebreaker


In 2013, building on our participation in the European Commission-sponsored ERA-Can project, the CFI began systematically engaging researchers, facility managers and funding agencies from Europe and the United States. The goal is to develop this vision and find improved ways to leverage each other’s resources. In this way, we can better support and facilitate high quality research in the Arctic and in our shared marine environments.

ERA-Can II 2013 Rome Symposium on Arctic and Marine Research Infrastructure

Organized by the CFI, the 2013 Rome Symposium brought together — for the first time — leading internationally accomplished researchers, senior decision-makers from European, American and Canadian research support agencies, and the managers of major research facilities. They met to explore better ways of working together, identify obstacles to international collaboration and develop strategies for sharing research infrastructure. One of the central outcomes of these discussions was the recognition that finding new ways of sharing detailed, practical information on a variety of issues is the first, and most important, step forward. Scientific plans, ship schedules, inventories of research equipment and specific funding opportunities all need to be better coordinated and disseminated among the stakeholders involved in Arctic and marine research. These initial discussions made it clear to us that more engagement on maximizing the use of Arctic and marine research infrastructure would be useful. Read documents related to the 2013 symposium.

ERA-Can+ 2015 Halifax Symposium on Arctic and Marine Research Infrastructure

In 2015, we continued to engage our European and American counterparts on how best to leverage each other’s resources in Arctic and marine research at the Halifax Symposium. This gathering also included representatives from the private sector and the Canadian Navy. It focused on issues such as finding ways of better managing research data, developing web portals for information sharing and mapping research priorities to infrastructure requirements. Symposium participants all agreed that the research challenges in both the marine and Arctic environments are at such a large scale — in terms of their importance to society, their difficulty to address and the costs involved in finding solutions — that they require sustained international collaboration. The central questions that will be investigated moving forward revolve around communication, coordination, alignment and inclusion.

Read the summary report



CCGS Amundsen Platform outcome measurement study

In November 2014, we assembled a panel of experts to assess the activities and achievements of the CCGS Amundsen research icebreaker. The panel was also asked to evaluate the degree to which our investment and those of our funding partners has had a transformative impact on Canada’s research landscape and how those investments contribute to meeting our objectives.



Excellence in research innovation (PDF) (The Globe and Mail supplement, 2015)

World-class facilities enable Canadian researchers to collaborate in the pursuit of solutions for today’s pressing challenges, including climate change, health issues, food security concerns and the economic downturn.

Why there is such a need for collaboration when it comes to research in the Arctic and our oceans (PDF)  (, 2013)

Why collaboration is key for Arctic and ocean research, and how a collective international voice at 2013 ERA-Can Symposium on Arctic and Marine Research Infrastructure will go a long way to developing key strategic priorities.

Research collaboration key to ocean and Arctic success (PDF) (Embassy, 2013)

Many countries, including Canada, are investing in ocean and Arctic research infrastructure, but it will only be through collaboration in the development and use of this expensive and often unique equipment that we can obtain the knowledge we seek.