In this section we aim to provide all necessary information to help plan your fieldwork at the UK Arctic Research Station.
Photo credit: Elise Biersma, BAS
Prior to departure to Ny-Ålesund
Once initial project approval has been obtained from NERC, it is really important that you register your project on the Research in Svalbard (RiS) database. The Sysselmann (Governor) of Svalbard has now made it obligatory to register research projects in the “Research In Svalbard” (RiS) database which is maintained by the Svalbard Science Forum in Longyearbyen.
Once registered, you will need to book your flights from Longyearbyen to Ny-Ålesund, your accommodation in Ny-Ålesund and any related safety courses you may require. However, it is important to discuss your dates first with the Station Manager. All bookings need to be done through the Research in Svalbard system. The Arctic Office is happy to guide you through this process – please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need assistance with this. Please also note that any changes to bookings in the RiS must first be discussed with the Station Manager.
The Station Manager is the logistical point of contact for all approved projects and should receive updates from the Principal Investigators on a regular basis prior to arrival in Ny-Ålesund. Applicants are expected to have appropriate field clothing and footwear for the proposed field activity.
Documents to complete
Personal Details Form – this will be sent with the approval letter to the Principal Investigator to pass onto the field team members. All field team members must complete this form as soon as possible post approval of your project. Please note that all visitor details forms should be sent directly to the Station Manager and Megan Smith.
Medicals – Since there is no doctor in Ny-Alesund, all applicants must be medically fit. The BAS Operations Team will send all field team members medical 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. The cost of the medicals for each field team member will need to be met by the project. Medical details forms and medicals should be completed at least six weeks prior to departure from the UK. It is also strongly recommended that all field team members have a dental check-up prior to departure to Ny-Alesund.
Rifle course – 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). Rifle bearers must now hold a permit provided by the Svalbard Governor’s office following new rifle laws imposed by the Norwegian Government in 2021. Permit applications, which can take up to 6 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 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. 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.
Chemical Approval Request form – if using any chemicals, this needs to be completed and sent to the BAS Health and safety advisor at BAS, copied to the Station Manager. A copy will be sent to you if applicable.
COSHH Forms – if applicable
Risk Assessments – the Station Manager can provide generic risk assessments for most field activities.
Code of Conduct – all field team members must confirm they have read and understood the BAS Polar Code of Conduct and return a signed copy to the Station Manager prior to departure from the UK.
Please note that all researchers planning field activities in and around Ny-Ålesund should recognise that their institute or university has a duty of care to their employees. Whilst these employees are in transit or undertaking field research on and around Svalbard appropriate insurance arrangements should have been made by the employer to cover their staff whilst abroad.
On arrival in Ny-Ålesund
On arrival in Ny-Ålesund, you will be taken to the Kings Bay Reception where you will check in. You will be met here by the Station Manager who will take you back to the station where you will be given a full Station briefing. In addition, Personnel who plan to carry a rifle will be further assessed by the NERC Station Manager/Deputy Station Manager. For their own safety in the field, all researchers are required to carry a rifle when away from base. Further information can be found in the Health and safety section.