Given the unique setting and rapid changes seen in the polar environment, the International Council for Science (ICSU) recognizes that now it is more important than ever to re-assert the Universality of Science principle in the polar regions. Research in the Arctic and Antarctic region and bipolar opportunities were therefore important agenda points at two recent meetings that included representatives from ICSU, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), the Association of Early Career Scientists (APECS) and IASC.

At the 30th ICSU General Assembly held in Rome, Mike Sparrow (SCAR), Jenny Baeseman (APECS) and Volker Rachold (IASC) were given the unique opportunity to address the ICSU General Assembly and reflected on the past, present and future of polar science, including lessons learnt from IPY. In Siena a two day symposium on "Research Urgencies in the Polar Regions and their Links to the ICSU Grand Challenges in Global Sustainability" endorsed the continuation of relevant polar activities as a contribution towards the ICSU Grand Challenges and as a legacy of the IPY.