Announcement of Opportunity: Drilling Subglacial Lake CECs in Antarctica

Owing to COVID 19-related difficulties in both procurement for the hot-water drill from suppliers (some of whom have ceased to take orders under the lock-down and others who are supplying health-related products), and uncertainty about the likely logistic support in the upcoming Antarctic field season (2020/21), BAS, CECs and NERC have decided to delay the schedule of the Subglacial Lake CECs Drilling programme by one year. The preliminary season will now be scheduled for austral summer 2021/22 with completion of the drilling in 2022/23.

Prospective PIs should be advised that grant start dates will therefore need to be one year later than originally planned (1 February 2023). Given the imminent deadline for proposals, please do get in touch with NERC ( to discuss if this amendment is going to cause an issue or if you have already submitted your proposal.

UKRI recognises that the current situation may present additional challenges to those intending to apply.

To help with that, the deadlines on all open funding opportunities have been extended to give applicants more time to submit their applications.

The closing date for the "Drilling Subglacial Lake CECs in Antarctica" call has been extended by two weeks to 16.00 on 7 May 2020.  The assessment and programme timetable is also subject to change.

If you have any further questions regarding the Drilling Subglacial Lake CECs in Antarctica call, please contact Jennifer Morris.

Closing date: 16:00 on 7 May 2020

Proposals are invited for a new Research Programme that, through joint collaboration between the UK and Centro de Estudios Científicos in Chile, provides the opportunity to gain access to water and lake bed sediment samples from Subglacial Lake CECs, Antarctica.

This research programme aims to answer fundamental research questions that will inform us about the future contribution of West Antarctica to sea-level rise and the adaptation and persistence of life in extreme environments.

It is expected that this Announcement of Opportunity will lead to the funding of four proposals, two under each research question, at a cost of £574k at 80% FEC per proposal.

Proposals for this call are invited from eligible UK researchers (see NERC Grants Handbook for standard eligibility criteria).

For full details of the call and how to apply, please see the Announcement of Opportunity document below.

Applicants should consult the ‘Contamination control and samples’ document ahead of developing their proposals to be clear on the number and type of samples that may be available for the programme. 

Applicants are advised to contact Andy Smith, the programme Science Co-ordinator, ahead of submitting their proposal to discuss feasibility of obtaining sample requirements for proposed research.

Announcement of Opportunity (PDF, 115KB)

Contamination control and samples (PDF, 302KB)


For further information please contact:

Jennifer Morris

Programme Manager

Andy Smith

Programme Science Co-ordinator

Natural Environment Research Council
Polaris House,
North Star Avenue,