Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme (CASS) Open for 2023/24 Field Season
Support is available for UK researchers to access Antarctic research stations and marine science cruises for the purpose of conducting small-scale, fieldwork-based science projects.
Established in 2001, the Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme (CASS), formerly known as the Collaborative Gearing Scheme (CGS), is delivered by the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). BAS leads interdisciplinary research in the polar regions and is a component of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).
CASS provides opportunities for UK researchers to access Antarctic research stations and marine science cruises for the purpose of conducting small-scale, fieldwork-based science projects. Research proposals submitted for support are expected to:
- Be relevant to NERC’s science remit.
- Involve minimal impact on BAS logistic resources.
- Lead to findings that will be disseminated in peer-reviewed literature.
Researchers can 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.
Proposals may be in any of the range of scientific disciplines that NERC supports, including atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic sciences, from the deep oceans to the upper atmosphere. Fieldwork may be conducted at, or in the vicinity of, any BAS-operated research station, or during a planned science cruise on a BAS research vessel, subject to there being the logistic capacity available. Applicants may request the use of research facilities provided at BAS Antarctic research stations or on a BAS research vessel.
For the 2023/24 field season, applications are invited for support at Bird Island Research Station and Signy Research Station, however, projects based at Signy may face a lengthy deployment of between three and five months from December 2023 to April 2024. (Proposals are not invited for the Rothera Research Station due to capacity limitations and a backlog of projects due to COVID-19.) There may also be the opportunity to support science on the RRS Sir David Attenborough (SDA) as part of a funded science cruise, or during transit periods if spare berths exist and any sampling would not impact the itinerary (ie no dedicated ship time required).
Support is available for scientists in recognised UK higher education institutes, other research council institutes or approved independent research organisations. Eligibility requirements for the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators are the same as those for a normal NERC grant proposal.
CASS provides access to Antarctic logistics and financial support to cover certain specific costs:
- Costs of travel from the UK to Antarctica.
- Polar clothing supplied by BAS.
- Pre-deployment training.
- Medical assessment expenses for fieldwork personnel.
Applications for the 2023/24 field season should be submitted by the deadline of 27 February 2023 (16:00).
(This report was the subject of a RESEARCHconnect Newsflash.)