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National capability

We deliver a portfolio of ‘National Capability Science’ activities that provide the backbone for UK polar science.  Our programmes of Sustained Observation focus on crucial Earth System indicators in Antarctica. These are vital to the UK and global scientific effort to understand our changing world.  Capabilities (instruments, facilities and expertise), unique to BAS, are available to the UK science community to ensure Britain’s success in the field of polar science.

South-westerly gale at Bird Island


Antarctic ice-loss research capability

Our science and operational activities contribute to the UK’s National Capability through the the provision and management of large research infrastructure, services and facilities, data, national-good services and long-term science. These essential national assets are supported by the UK Government and NERC.  As the focal point for UK polar science our aims are to:

  • Sustain a UK national capability that delivers scientific understanding of environmental processes over large time and space scales, supports world-leading environmental science, and meets national needs
  • Enable the most ambitious Earth-system science by facilitating long-term, global-scale programmes that integrate research across disciplines
  • Reduce the long-term cost of our large research facilities and invest in new technologies that make far-reaching environmental research and observation more cost-effective
  • Ensure that our research centre thrives as vibrant, innovative, sustainable organisation that attracts and retains the best scientists

Scientific community access to Antarctic and Arctic infrastructure is coordinated and managed by BAS through the Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme and opportunities for polar fieldwork for NERC-funded scientists.