The International Polar Year themes were:
- To determine the present environmental status of the polar regions by quantifying their spatial and temporal variability.
- To quantify, and understand, past and present environmental and human change in the polar regions in order to improve predictions.
- To advance our understanding of polar - global interactions by studying teleconnections on all scales.
- To investigate the unknowns at the frontiers of science in the polar regions.
- To use the unique vantage point of the polar regions to develop and enhance observatories studying the Earth's inner core, the Earth's magnetic field, geospace, the Sun and beyond.
- To investigate the cultural, historical, and social processes that shape the resilience and sustainability of circumpolar human societies, and to identify their unique contributions to global cultural diversity and citizenship.
NERC's Arctic-IPY programme considered applications relevant to the NERC remit under the first four IPY themes and provided funding to enable full participation on UK-led teams in IPY.
NERC's Arctic-IPY funding was focused and directed to IPY programmes in which the UK community could make a significant contribution and which would enhance the delivery of NERC strategic priorities. Consortium proposals which foster the development of strong links between UK Arctic scientists were sought and strong international links were essential.