COMNAP Representative (MNAP): Ho-Il Yoon, President, KOPRI
(DMNAP): Hyoung Chul Shin, Head, Department of International Cooperation, KOPRI
Republic of Korea’s National Antarctic Program
Republic of Korea’s polar research history began in March 1987 when the polar
research center was opened at the Korea Ocean Research & Development
institute (KORDI) and the Korean National Committee
on Antarctic Research (KONCAR) was founded in August that same year. Then, the
Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) was created as part of KORDI and it has
been the operator of Korea’s national polar program since 1987, being a
government sponsored research institute dedicated to polar science and logistic
support which was established to contribute to the development of national
science and technology capacities and to advance knowledge for the benefit of
all mankind by undertaking world-class scientific research programs in
cooperation with national and international partners.
KOPRI is the lead agency for conducting polar
scientific research and operating the research infrastructure, such as King
Sejong Station and Jang Bogo Station (currently under construction and will be
completed in early 2014). KOPRI is also in charge of the icebreaking research
vessel Araon, advises the Korean
government on polar affairs and organises public outreach programs. KOPRI has
been an active participant in various international organisations and fora such
as the ATCM, CCAMLR, SCAR and COMNAP.
King Sejong Antarctic station is located in King George Island, in the Antarctic
peninsula. The station has been in operation as a year-round research platform since
its inauguration in 1988. Araon is
Korea’s first icebreaking research vessel. Her name “ARAON” is an original Korean word that combines “ARA,” which means
“sea,” and “ON,” which means “all,” in the archaic Korean language. As her name
suggests, Araon signifies a will to
be a platform for unhindered expedition all over the oceans around the globe. The
primary mission of Araon is to supply
logistics to King Sejong and Jang Bogo Stations and to conduct scientific
research in worldwide oceans, including both polar areas. To perform
world-class scientific activities, the research vessel is installed with
state-of-the-art scientific equipment. Araon
is committed to operate logistics and research activities for nearly 300 days a
year including surveys in Arctic and Antarctic waters, and assistance with the
construction of the second Korean station on the Antarctic continent as well. The
construction of Jang Bogo is scheduled to be completed in the 2013-14 austral
summer season. This station will be operated as a continent-oriented research
station in the field of meteorology & atmospheric chemistry, upper atmosphere
physics, glaciology, geodesy and long-term marine monitoring.
polar research history began in 1987 when Polar Research Center was opened at
the Korea Ocean Research & Development institute (KORDI) to initiate Antarctic research program and station
construction. Some important milestones
in our history:
Nov. 1986 Acceded
to the Antarctic Treaty as the 33rd signatory.
Mar. 1987 The
Polar Research Laboratory was established at KORDI.
Aug. 1987 The
Korean National Committee on Antarctic Research (KONCAR) was founded.
Feb. 1988 King
Sejong Station was inaugurated in the Antarctic (King George Island).
Oct. 1989 Korea
joined the Antarctic Treaty as a Consultative Party.
Jul. 1990 The
Polar Research Laboratory was expanded renamed as the Polar Research Center; Korea
acceded to SCAR as a regular member.
May 1995 The
19th Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) was held in Seoul, Korea.
Oct. 2001 The
Korean Arctic Science Council (KASCO) was formed.
Jun. 2002 The
Korean National Committee on Polar Research (KONPOR), combining KONCAR and
KASCO, was formed.
Jul. 2002 The
Polar Research Center was renamed as the Polar Sciences Laboratory.
Sep. 2003 The
Polar Sciences Laboratory was expanded to the Korea Polar Research Institute
Apr. 2004 KOPRI
was re-established as an affiliated research institute to KORDI.
Mar. 2006 KOPRI
moved from Ansan city into Songdo Techno Park, Incheon Free Economic Zone,
Oct. 2009 Korea's
first ice-breaking research vessel ARAON
was delivered to KOPRI.
Mar. 2010 The
site for Jang Bogo Antarctic Research Research Station was determined to be in Terra
Jul. 2010 Korea’s
first icebreaking research vessel ARAON
finished her first Arctic Cruise
Dec. 2012 The
construction of Jang Bogo Antarctic research station started.
Apr. 2013 KOPRI’s
new campus to be completed and opened.
Our Science Program
1988 the first Antarctic field survey by the Korean Antarctic Research Program
took place. KOPRI pursues Antarctic research in four core areas: 1) Polar
Climate Change and its Impact on Ecosystems, 2) Biodiversity and Adaptation of
Polar Organisms, 3) Study on the Tectonic Structures and Their Activities in
Antarctica and 4) New Emerging Science in Antarctica: Meteorite expedition, Ice
Core Drilling to restore paleoclimate changes.
1990, the Polar Research Laboratory was expanded to the Polar Research Center,
and Korea acceded to the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) as a
Asian Forum for Polar Sciences (AFOPS) started in 2004 and KOPRI provided the
initial momentum. The AFOPS aim is to provide a foundation for cooperative
research activities, presenting Asian achievements toward international polar
communities and encouraging the involvement of nonpolar Asian countries in
polar research. Korea served as the first chair of AFOPS for two years.
In addition to its own research, KOPRI runs a variety of joint programs to promote the
participation of investigators from domestic universities and other research
institutes to Antarctic science and outreach programs to raise awareness
particularly among the young generation through various outreach programs such as
“Pole-to-Pole Korea”. This program provides an annual opportunity for the
general public to experience the Korean Arctic and Antarctic Stations with a
view to increase awareness and interests about global environmental changes and
to foster a science-minded culture. Since its launch in 2005, the program has
recruited secondary & tertiary students, science teachers and artists for
the Antarctic and Arctic field experience.
Our Contact Details
Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI)
Phone: +82 (0)32 770 8431
Fax: +82 (0)32 770 8439