United States
Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research

Update on Science Support and Infrastructure in Antarctica

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) Office of Polar Programs (OPP) recognizes that the Antarctic community is looking for promised updates on the infrastructure and logistics support to be provided by the United States Antarctic Program (USAP) for funded researchers during the 2024-2025 field season, and the status of the solicitation for proposals requesting USAP support in future seasons.

In response to the FY 2024 appropriations, NSF is developing a budget plan that will establish the OPP budget for the remainder of FY 2024. Concurrently, OPP and USAP staff and contractors are working to develop the science and logistics plans for the next Antarctic summer field season. Once these plans are finalized, the PIs of those projects with fieldwork scheduled for 2024-2025 will be contacted and the Support Information Package (SIP) submission process initiated.

In the June 2023 Dear Colleague Letter NSF 23-117, NSF announced that logistics capabilities for new and funded projects continued to be severely limited due to enduring impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, including delays to the major infrastructure upgrade work at NSF McMurdo Station. While much progress has been made during the current field season, there remains a significant backlog of funded projects that need logistics resources between 2024 and 2026 to achieve their research objectives. For the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 field seasons, NSF will therefore focus on supporting those projects already funded. To reduce the project backlog and achieve greater resilience for subsequent seasons, NSF will institute a hiatus in new USAP-supported fieldwork proposals in 2024. The previous solicitation NSF 23-509 has been archived and no new USAP fieldwork proposals will be solicited in Fiscal Year 2024. For the small number of projects being considered for renewal in 2024, Program Officers will contact the Principal Investigators to discuss the options available.

OPP continues to strongly encourage proposals for research projects that do not require USAP resources to support fieldwork, such as projects focused on the development of theoretical tools and/or the reuse of existing data, research conducted at other locations that sheds light upon Antarctic processes, ship-borne research, and projects for which the logistics are provided by other national programs or other organizations. Projects that support early career researchers and promote diversity in the polar science workforce are particularly welcome.

NSF remains steadfast in our commitment to supporting cutting-edge research that enhances and expands our fundamental understanding of this unique region and its interaction with other components of the Earth system. OPP will continue to provide regular updates about the challenges and opportunities associated with building a more resilient USAP through OPP Announcements, the OPP quarterly newsletter, community office hours, and the GEO Advisory Committee.

Terri Edillon 
Lead Communications Specialist 
NSF Office of Polar Programs 
Office: 703-292-7521 | Mobile: 703-398-2201 
Email: tedillon@nsf.gov