23 November, 2009

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) launches its new science strategy — Polar Science for Planet Earth — this week (Monday 23 November) at its offices in Cambridge. The new science strategy builds on BAS scientific and operational achievements over the last 60 years, addressing the themes of the science strategy of NERC, of which BAS is part. A new additional focus on the Arctic will maximise BAS knowledge and expertise to nurture new partnerships and collaborations that will enhance scientific understanding of both Polar Regions and provide the scientific evidence essential for understanding global environmental change.

Lord Drayson, Minister for Science and Innovation said,

“We’re a world leader in polar science. The British Antarctic Survey’s discovery of the hole in the ozone layer changed international policy and resulted in vital production limits on harmful chemicals.

This new strategy will help us to conduct the science essential to understanding and addressing climate change.”

Professor Alan Thorpe, Chief Executive of NERC said,

“The UK carries out excellent research on polar science, and the impact of this is hugely significant in advancing knowledge on climate change and the role that human activities play. British Antarctic Survey is at the forefront on this research effort and the new strategy highlights the critically important areas we will be pursuing.”

Director of BAS Professor Nicholas Owens said,

“BAS recognises the urgency for continued investigations into the regional and global consequences of disappearing ice and melting permafrost. There is a critical need for greater interdisciplinary within our research programme and continued national and international cooperation within the polar scientific community. Polar Science for Planet Earth will provide the framework to achieve this. By working with the NERC Arctic Office and through a collaboration with our Canadian and European counterparts BAS will use its considerable knowledge base, position within the international scientific community and operational expertise to enhance UK research effort in the Arctic and provide an integrated and coordinated approach to science at both poles.”


Issued by the British Antarctic Survey Press Office

Linda Capper, Tel: +44 (0)1223 221448; mobile: 07714 233744 email: lmca@bas.ac.uk

Heather Martin, Tel: +44 (0)1223 221 414; mobile: 07740 822229 email: hert@bas.ac.uk

British Antarctic Survey (BAS) delivers world-leading interdisciplinary research in the Polar Regions. Its skilled science and support staff based in Cambridge, Antarctica and the Arctic, work together to deliver research that underpins a productive economy and contributes to a sustainable world. Its numerous national and international collaborations, leadership role in Antarctic affairs and excellent infrastructure help ensure that the UK maintains a world leading position.

BAS has over 450 staff and operates five research stations, two Royal Research Ships and five aircraft in and around Antarctica.

British Antarctic Survey and the Arctic

In February 2009 the governments of UK and Canada signed an agreement that enables sharing of facilities and other operational resources and development of collaborative programmes in both the BAS sphere of operations in Antarctica and in the Canadian Arctic. The arrangement encourages collaborative working between leading Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) funded researchers and their Canadian counterparts. The key NERC research centre in this agreement is British Antarctic Survey (BAS) which operates and manages all the aircraft, ships and polar field stations that have been offered as the central UK contribution to the negotiated agreement.

The UK is not an Arctic Rim state, has no territories in the region and its only High Arctic research facility is at Ny Alesund on Svalbard. Canada is a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty but has no Antarctic research facility.