Antarctic Logistic Support

Applicants can apply for funding requiring Antarctic Logistic Support from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) through all the NERC funding streams, with the principal mechanism through discovery science standard research grants and fellowship schemes. This enables all proposals that require access to BAS Antarctic infrastructure to compete on an equal footing with other proposals in that call.

There is a BAS Polar fieldwork opportunities website - external link which provides up-to-date information about:

  • the process of applying for NERC funding, for research proposals which require Antarctic fieldwork support;
  • fieldwork planning of projects already awarded funding;
  • the operation of the Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme.

Requesting Antarctic Logistic Support

The process for requesting logistics support from BAS for Antarctic fieldwork has changed.

All funding applicants whose proposals will include fieldwork in the Antarctic (or at Signy Island, or at the sub-Antarctic Bird Island) must complete a pre-award Operational Support Planning Questionnaire (OSPQ). This is a new online form which replaces the Preliminary Request for Antarctic Logistic Support. Please email the Antarctic Access Office (formerly Polar Funding Office) at BAS ( stating your name, institution and proposal title. The Antarctic Access Office will set up a new, numbered pre-award OSPQ and send you the link with instructions for completion.

The pre-award OSPQ should be submitted to the Antarctic Access Office no later than three months prior to the submission deadline of the intended call. Thus, for intended proposal submissions to the July 2020 standard grants round (closing date 14 July 2020), completed pre-award OSPQs need to be received no later than 16:00 on 21 April 2020.

Pre-award OSPQs are considered by a Logistics Panel, convened at BAS, with representation from BAS Operations & Logistics, NERC head office and the Antarctic Access Office. Panel feedback is supplied to applicants by NERC head office. If your Antarctic logistic support request is considered feasible, you will also receive a PDF of the pre-award OSPQ that will have a logistics approval reference code. You must include this PDF as an attachment with your funding application to NERC using the Joint-electronic System (Je-S).

Any funding applications that request Antarctic logistic support without having received prior logistic approval will not be accepted by NERC.

Approved pre-award OSPQs will be valid for a period of 12 months from the date of submission to the AAO.

If your proposed project is entirely ship-based, there is no need for you to submit a pre-award OSPQ. Instead, you should contact the NERC Marine Planning Officer, Natalie Clark () at an early stage to discuss your project planning requirements before completing a Ship-time & Marine Equipment (SME) application form. Further details can be found in the research grants handbook.

If your activity requires both Antarctic logistic support and the use of NERC ships or marine equipment, you must submit a pre-award OSPQ and an SME form.


Jennifer Morris
NERC head office
01793 411503

Antarctic Access Office

The Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme

The Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme (CASS) - previously known as the Collaborative Gearing Scheme (CGS) - provides opportunities for scientists in recognised UK research institutes to undertake small-scale collaborative science projects that, by attaching additional personnel, instrumentation, or tasks to existing Antarctic activities, or using research station infrastructure, offer significant additional science outcomes. CASS only provides access to Antarctic logistics and financial support to cover some specific costs (see website below for details). It does not provide funding for salaries, capital equipment or other direct science costs. Research proposals submitted for CASS support are expected to be relevant to NERC's science remit, involve minimal impact on BAS logistic resources, and lead to findings that will be disseminated in the peer-reviewed literature.

Information about the application procedure is provided on the BAS Polar fieldwork opportunities website - external link from which an application form can be downloaded.

Note that applications to the Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme, for projects that request Antarctic fieldwork during the 2020-2021 season, should be submitted as an email attachment to the Antarctic Access Office at BAS ( no later than 16:00 on Monday 9 March 2020.


Antarctic Access Office