Antarctic Logistic Support - NERC

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 research grants and fellowship schemes. This enables all applications that require access to BAS Antarctic infrastructure to compete on an equal footing with other applications in that funding opportunity.

Visit the BAS polar fieldwork opportunities website for up-to-date information about:

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

Flexibility in new project applications

Deep field polar support and the RRS Sir David Attenborough as a marine science platform are heavily tasked. As a result NERC are encouraging flexibility in new project applications to:

  • share resources and locations
  • focus on use of digital approaches or existing data

BAS and NERC will engage with teams to identify where interlinkages may be possible.

You must contact the NERC marine planning team or BAS operations, or both, to discuss any potential project in detail and possible timelines. You should note the likely scheduling timeline for new applications.

Email NERC marine planning team:

Email BAS operations:

How to request Antarctic Logistic Support

All funding applicants whose applications 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 an online form. Please email the Antarctic Access Office (AAO) at BAS ( stating your name, institution and application title. AAO 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 AAO no later than three months prior to the submission deadline of the intended funding opportunity. Please check the funding opportunity for the OSPQ deadline.

Pre-award OSPQs are considered by a Logistics Panel, convened at BAS, with representation from BAS Operations and Logistics and the AAO. Feedback is supplied to applicants by the panel. If your Antarctic logistic support request is considered feasible, you will also receive a PDF of the feedback letter containing the pre-award OSPQ that will have a logistics approval reference code.

In funding applications to NERC using the Joint-Electronic Submissions system (Je-S) you should tick the ‘Research Council Facilities’ box and select ‘Antarctic Logistics Support’. You must include this PDF as a ‘technical assessment’ attachment with your funding application to NERC using the Joint-Electronic Submissions (Je-S) system.

In funding applications to NERC using the Funding Service you should state that you will be using ‘Antarctic Logistics Support’ and that you have applied to the facility. You should not submit the OSPQ or feedback letter with the application, but you must confirm you have received it and the request was fully supported by the AAO. If the proposal is in the funding frame, you will be asked to submit the relevant documentation which will contain confirmation of the costs.

NERC services and facilities must be costed within the limits of the funding.

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 NERC Marine Planning Officer, at an early stage to discuss your project planning requirements before completing a Ship-time & Marine Equipment (SME) application form.

See the research grants handbook for more information.

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.

Contacts for more information

Antarctic Access Office


NERC Research Facilities team


Last updated: 15 June 2023

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