4 December, 2017

Applications are invited for the Collaborative Antarctic Science Scheme (CASS) for Antarctic fieldwork in the 2018/19 field season. The closing date is 5th March 2018.

CASS provides opportunities for UK-based researchers in recognised Higher Education Institutes, other Research Council Institutes, or approved Independent Research Organisations to carry out small-scale research projects in the Antarctic. It is an invaluable opportunity to undertake either additional fieldwork to expand a funded project or initial research in preparation for submitting a full NERC grant proposal.

Seven CASS projects were funded in the 2016/17 field season. They involved research at several of the BAS Research Stations including Rothera, Signy, Bird Island, King Edward Point as well as one marine project on board the RRS James Clark Ross.

Jesamine Bartlett from the University of Birmingham, who undertook research at Signy Island under the CASS scheme last season, says:

“The CASS scheme enabled me to travel to Signy Island, where my species Eretmoptera murphyi has invaded so that I could assess it in field conditions. And it also helped me fulfil a life-long dream of visiting Antarctica. The application process, whilst lengthy, was necessary and the staff at British Antarctic Survey were so patient and helpful in getting my paperwork in place, couldn’t rate their help enough! The work I conducted through one season on the CASS scheme has provided me with enough data for my entire thesis and will lead to multiple papers in the near future. Moreover, it provided me with a life changing experience for which I will be forever grateful.”

Heading towards Signy research station on the South Orkney Islands. Photo credit: Jesamine Bartlett

Requirements and Costs

Proposals to CASS should:

  • Be led by UK-based researchers in recognised UK Higher Education Institutes (or other Research Council Institutes, or approved Independent Research Organisations)
  • Propose research that can only be conducted in Antarctica or at a sub-Antarctic BAS-operated research station, rather than in a more accessible location.
  • Be relevant to NERC’s science remit.
  • Work collaboratively by joining a specified Antarctic activity funded by NERC, and working within the logistic framework agreed for that activity. This ensures that minimal additional logistic commitment is required to support the CASS project.
  • Lead to findings that will be disseminated in the peer-reviewed literature.

Meeting the training and development needs of UK scientists at an early stage of their careers is an important part of NERC’s responsibilities. CASS proposals which incorporate such opportunities for early-career scientists are welcomed.

To support CASS, NERC provides funding to meet the costs of travel from the UK to Antarctica, and of the polar clothing supplied by BAS, together with pre-deployment training and medical assessment expenses for fieldwork personnel.

How to apply

Further information including the application form can be found on the CASS webpages. If you have any questions please contact Katie Gosling, Polar Funding Coordinator: afibas@bas.ac.uk, 01223 221399.

The CASS application deadline for the 2018/19 field season is Monday 5th March 2018, 4pm.