The Otto Schmidt Laboratory for Polar and Marine Research (OSL) was founded in 1999. Hosted at the Federal State Budgetary Institution "Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute" (AARI) in St. Petersburg, the OSL provides a basis for coordination and development of the research projects carried out within the framework of the Bilateral Agreement on Cooperation in Marine and Polar Research between the Russian Ministry of Education and Science and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Its mission is to support and develop research activities in the field of polar and marine research with a focus on the qualification of young scientists. Since its opening, the OSL has provided scientists, PhD students and undergraduates from more than forty German and Russian universities and research institutes with a platform for their joint research. Thus, the German-Russian network in the field of polar and marine research has been significantly intensified.
For the purpose of promoting the qualification of young researchers, the OSL served as the logistic and scientific basis for the OSL Fellowship Program, funded by the BMBF, for sixteen years (from 2000 to 2016).