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Office of Polar Programs

Outer Margin of Furtwangler Ice FieldThe Earth’s polar regions offer compelling scientific opportunities, but their isolation and extreme climate challenge the pursuit of these opportunities.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports Arctic and Antarctic research and education, both to improve understanding of the regions and their relationship with global processes and to seize opportunities presented by the regions as research platforms. Support is provided for investigations in a range of scientific disciplines in the physical, biological, and social sciences. This range and the unique aspects of polar regions provide opportunities to advance discovery while promoting teaching, training, and learning.

In addition to providing individual grants to scientists and educators at U.S. institutions, NSF funds contractor-provided operational support to field and laboratory science in Antarctica, the Southern Ocean, and the Arctic.

*Although these areas of NSF do not generally offer polar-specific programs, they do consider and support polar proposals.

For More Information
Refer to the appropriate program announcement for definitive information about research areas, field support, and proposal preparation.

Other information sources are the Office of Polar Programs home page (, which describes research areas and operational support; and the OPP Advisory Committee web page (, which discusses the NSF broader impacts merit review criterion.

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