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Applying for polar ship research time

British Antarctic Survey’s 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.

Scientists who have secured research funding from NERC, or from a non-NERC peer-reviewed source (eg. the EU or NSF), or from commissioned research, can bid for access to work onboard polar research ships. Research funding applications should be made to NERC before bidding for ship-time.

This page provides links to information that aims to help researchers prepare research proposals and plan polar field work.

NERC coordinates a marine facilities planning service and a ship-time and marine equipment application process.  Principal Investigators should contact NERC Marine Planning (email: marine.planning@nerc.ukri.org)  at an early stage – before commencing the Ship-time and Marine Equipment application process – to discuss project planning requirements. Detailed information about the process can be found here.

NERC’s application process involves:

  • Create a user account
  • Complete the SME application form
  • Submit the full proposal, using the online Je-S form, including the profile number generated from the SME form

Note that the requested length (days) of a marine science cruise should include:

  • sailing time from a departure port, such as Stanley (Falkland Islands);
  • time for mobilisation and demobilisation;
  • the actual number of days during which scientific operations will be conducted.

If NERC Marine Facilities (NMF) Sea Systems technical support and/or equipment from the National Marine Equipment Pool is required, then Principal Investigators must include an estimate of the associated costs in their full proposal application. Applicants should contact the NMF Sea Systems Programme Manager, Colin Day, (email: cdy@noc.soton.ac.uk) to discuss their requirements, so that an estimate of the total technician and/or equipment support cost can be determined.

Spares and consumables will be provided by BAS to keep on-board equipment operational. However, all project personnel are responsible for the provision of consumables needed for acquisition of scientific data for their project. For example: provision of XBTs, standard seawater, salinity bottle inserts and scintillation counter vials.

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