Germany and Russia look back on successful 15 years of joint polar and marine research in the Siberian Arctic. Joint research projects such as the Laptev Sea System project led to a joint initiative focusing upon the support of young scientists in Russia and Germany. In 2000, this initiative culminated in the establishment of the OSL.

By way of its fellowship program, the OSL enables young highly qualified scholars to carry out specific research projects in polar and marine sciences. The program pairs master students, graduated research assistants, and postdoctoral fellows with experienced scientists in Russia and Germany. Together they work on well-focused tasks of mutual interest. Summer school courses are offered and an exchange of scientists is promoted.

To fulfil its tasks in research and education, the OSL is equipped with a state-of-the-art laboratory for polar and marine research, computer workstations incl. periphery (such as scanner, AO-Plotter, LCD projector, Internet access) and an international library. Meetings and workshops of up to 15 participants can be accommodated. LCD projector and wireless Internet access are available.