The science behind the OSL

Consequences of climate change are evident everywhere in the Arctic and Antarctic. Recent studies have shown that continued warming is putting the polar regions at growing risk of abrupt and irreversible changes.

Scientific cooperation with Russia in the field of marine and polar research is based on an agreement signed by the relevant ministries in 1995. Since then, a German-Russian steering committee has met regularly to evaluate ongoing project activities and identify new key topics. The meetings take place alternately in Russia and in Germany.

On the German side, the investigations are integrated into the new BMBF framework program "Research for Sustainable Development" (FONA3) and are implemented in the research program "MARE:N".

Joint research expeditions, publications and an intensive exchange between Russian and German scientists are proof of the good, partnership-based relations at working level.

Core topics of German-Russian cooperation in marine and polar research are

  • Decrease of Arctic sea ice and feedback to atmosphere, ocean and ecosystems,   
  • Arctic climate change in space and time,
  • Methane hydrates and their release in permafrost regions,
  • Opportunities and risks of increasing economic exploitation of the Arctic.

Projects under the program of funding bilateral projects within the framework of technical-scientific cooperation in the field of polar and marine reseach:

Quantifying Rapid Climate Change in the Arctic – QUARCCS (expired project funding)

PLOT – Paleolimnological transect (expired project funding)

Permafrost-affected landscapes in the Siberian arctic – KoPf (expired project funding)

Biogeography of the northwest Pacific fauna – BENEFICIAL (expired project funding)

The Changing Arctic Transpolar System – CATS-Synthesis (Project duration until 31.12.2021)

POMOR master program

POMOR is a double degree research-oriented interdisciplinary master program at Saint Petersburg State University and Hamburg University in close cooperation with the universities of Bremen, Kiel and Potsdam, Hamburg University of Technology, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute and Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research Warnemuende.

During the two first terms, lectures, seminars and practical trainings are held at the Institute of Earth Sciences of the St. Petersburg State University, at the Otto Schmidt Laboratory for Polar and Marine Research at the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute and at other Russian partner institutions. After the second term the students complete their field practice participating in current research projects, in international expeditions to the Arctic or being trained at the partner research institutions. The third term is completed at one of the partner universities in Germany: in Hamburg, Bremen, Kiel or Potsdam. During the fourth term students are working on their master thesis.

German and Russian lecturers hold the courses and supervise the master theses together. After the master thesis defence the students are awarded a Master of Science of Hamburg University and St. Petersburg State University.

Funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), POMOR was established in 2001. Since 2007 POMOR has been funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, DAAD, the universities of St. Petersburg, Hamburg, Bremen, Kiel and Potsdam, GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel and Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.

The master program was internationally accredited at Hamburg University in 2012.

The OSL fellowship program

From 2000 to 2015, 14 fellowship programs with 211 funded projects were carried out, in which 517 fellows from 37 Russian research institutes and universities took part. The results of their research were published in more than 500 papers and presented at conferences with c. 1,400 posters and talks in total. 254 fellows had the opportunity to stay at their German partner institution for close cooperation with their German partners. All in all, one habilitation thesis, 33 PhD theses, 18 diploma theses, 21 master theses and 8 bachelor theses were finished within the framework of the fellowship programs.

Currently (2016 to 2021) the OSL fellowship program of the CATS project supports young Russian scientists with grants to help them realize their project-relevant research tasks using the OSL infrastructure.

Please click on the links below to access the abstracts of the individual fellowship programs.


Fellowship Program 2015

Fellowship Program 2014

Fellowship Program 2013

Fellowship Program 2012

Fellowship Program 2011

Fellowship Program 2010

Fellowship Program 2009

Fellowship Program 2007/08

Fellowship Program 2006/07

Fellowship Program 2005/06

Fellowship Program 2004

Fellowship Program 2002

Fellowship Program 2001

Fellowship Program 2000

Our scientific network

The OSL network comprises senior and early career scientists from Russia and Germany. In the following we provide a list of research institutes and universities cooperating with the OSL: