NERC invites applications for use of the NERC Arctic Research Station for the 2023 season.The health and safety of researchers, visitors and staff of the NERC Arctic Station is our highest priority. At this stage we are planning for a full and regular season at the NERC Arctic Research Station in 2023. The COVID situation, travel and entry requirements in the UK and Norway are kept under close scrutiny and we will advise of any changes to the availability of the Station or its use, as needed. In the meantime we look forward to receiving proposals and working with you to plan your projects.
Our approach is to always remain as flexible as possible, whilst ensuring all those who are supported by the Station are safe at all times. However, it is strongly encouraged that you contact the Station Manager before submitting an application form to determine the feasibility of your project. The Station is open from March through to September, however, those wishing to use the station outside of these months should notify the station manager and submit their application to the Arctic Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible. Late applications will be given consideration if there is space available.
To submit an application to access the NERC Arctic Station please follow these steps:
- Contact the Station Manager to discuss your project, support required and potential timings.
- Complete the NERC Arctic Research Station Application Form (Word document) and return to the Station Manager (email@example.com).
- Guidance on what is required within the form can be found below.
- Applications should state the scientific objectives of the research and outline the fieldwork programme proposed for Ny-Ålesund. This information may be published on the NERC website and circulated to other Ny-Ålesund stations. Applicants should indicate any agreed collaborative arrangements, especially those with Norwegian colleagues.
- Information on personnel involved, specialised equipment use, storage requirements and the length of stay are also required. For health and safety reasons applications from lone individuals are not accepted. Projects should involve at least two individuals. Please also note that since there is no doctor in Ny-Ålesund, all applicants must be medically fit. The BAS Operations Team will send all field team members medical (including dental) details forms once approval has been given which will then be assessed by the British Antarctic Survey Medical Unit (BASMU). As part of this process, all field team members will also be required to complete a medical examination. It is also requirement that all field team members have a dental check-up prior to departure to Ny-Alesund. The cost of the medicals and dental checks for each field team member will need to be met by the project/individual. Medicals, dental checks and medical details forms should be completed at least six weeks prior to departure from the UK.
- To help scientists achieve their scientific goals and to make sure their fieldwork is safe and productive, applicants are required to provide a project description outlining the geographical area(s) in which research will take place, activities proposed and details of the level of field proficiency (i.e. mountain/glacier travel, boat handling etc.) for each member of the project team.
- Because polar bears can pose a danger, field teams must include at least two members who are rifle trained, (the Station Manager will discuss your plans in detail and will assess the total number of persons who should receive training). In 2021 the Norwegian Government imposed new rifle laws in Svalbard. Rifle bearers must hold a permit provided by the Svalbard Governor’s office. Permit applications, which can take up to 4 weeks to process, must be accompanied by a police background check (issued in your home nation) and proof of rifle training. Because of the 6-8 week permit application lead time, the BAS Operations Group have arranged a course that can be held at various shooting ranges in the UK. No other UK course is acceptable to the Svalbard Governor or BAS. Please contact the Station Manager who will discuss details and arrange a course for you. The cost of the course and background check for each field team member will need to be met by the project. Costs can be found on the ‘What to budget‘ page. Please note: Personnel who plan to carry a rifle will be further assessed by the NERC Station Manager/Deputy Station Manager on arrival in Ny-Ålesund as part of the Station briefings.
- Evidence of sources of financial support for research costs, travel and accommodation must be given. Please provide grant reference numbers where applicable and approximate budget. Researchers wishing to use the NERC station at Ny-Ålesund will be responsible for their own travel, in transit accommodation costs and Kings Bay Mess Hall charges. Please note, the Station Manager will try to allocate NERC Station bedrooms, however, it is advisable to include in your budget, the cost of Kings Bay accommodation in case it is not possible to allocate a NERC Station bedroom. For information about what you should budget for please see the ‘What to budget‘ page which also provides a link to the Kings Bay price list.
- Applicants should note that individuals and/or project teams working in challenging or risky areas, must consider the need for a suitably skilled ‘field assistant’ or ‘guide’ to accompany them in such areas, and if advised that this is necessary, make provision for such an individual. Any associated costs for a field guide and their related travel costs must be met by the project.
Applicants should also note that BAS is responsible for the duty of care for researchers from departure from Longyearbyen to arrival back in Longyearbyen.
Each application will be assessed on safety requirements, on the science case provided, ensuring it meets the NERC science remit, and also on the contribution to the Ny-Ålesund international research strategy. The Station Manager will steer all proposals through a formal hearing process. If the project is approved, a letter will be sent from the NERC Arctic Office to the applicant informing them of the decision.