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Office of Polar Programs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

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What does the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) do?

Where can I find out information about funding opportunities?
Where can I find data on NSF and polar research?
Where can I find a list of OPP policies?
Polar job opportunities I am a student. What opportunities are there for me to participate in polar research? I am interested in the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. How do I learn more?
I am trying to get information or data for my research project. Can someone at NSF help me?
Media inquiries General questions about Antarctica

Office of Polar Programs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

What does the Office of Polar Programs (OPP) do?

  • Mission. The Office of Polar Programs promotes creative and innovative scientific research, engineering, and education in and about the polar regions, catalyzing fundamental discovery and understanding of polar systems and their global interactions to inform the nation and advance the welfare of all people.
  • OPP's priorities (Advisory Committee and Advisory Committee report). OPP works to provide access to the polar regions by prioritizing:
    • The support of research and education ranging from core discipline to systems levels
    • STEM engagement and workforce development (education & people)
    • Carry out work in a sustainable and collaborative fashion with a wide range of partners

    • The Advisory Committee for Polar Programs provides advice and recommendations to the National Science Foundation concerning support for polar research, education, infrastructure and logistics, and related activities. Review the latest report from the advisory committee on the OPP Advisory Committee webpage.

  • Organization Chart. Visit the OPP website for the latest organization chart.
  • OPP Budget. The OPP budget can be found as part of the larger NSF budget.

Where can I find out information about funding opportunities? For the latest list of OPP funding opportunities, visit the NSF funding webpage.

Where can I find data on NSF and polar research? The National Science Foundation supports the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES). NCSES is a principal statistical agency mandated to collect, interpret, analyzes, and disseminate objective data on the science and engineering enterprise.

The Office of Polar Programs also supports open access data from NSF-supported projects. Data from polar-related projects can be found at:

Where can I find a list of OPP policies? A list of polar program policies can be found on the OPP policies webpage.

Polar job opportunities

  • Jobs in Antarctica. Currently, the Antarctic Support Contract (ASC) is composed of several companies that hire employees to work in Antarctica, with the main contractor being Leidos. The list of these employers can be found on the U.S. Antarctic Program website. Hiring opportunities through contract companies can be found on each contractor's website.

    Additional opportunities for participation in the U.S. Antarctic Program are located on the OPP website.

  • Jobs in the Arctic. Battelle Arctic Research Operations (ARO) is composed of several companies that hire support personnel for work in the Arctic. Information on jobs and opportunities can be found on the Battelle website.

  • Jobs at NSF. NSF hosts several different job opportunities including scientific personnel, support staff, and rotator positions. All full-time positions are posted on USAjobs.

    Additionally, OPP has positions for scientists, engineers, and educators to join us as temporary program directors, know was rotators, and short-term Science Assistant positions. Information on the rotator program and other job types can be found on the NSF careers webpage.

  • Internship opportunities. Interns are hosted at NSF and hired through other organizations. Two organizations that hire for internships are the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) and Quality Education for Minorities Network (QEM). Interns from both of these organizations are occasionally hosted by NSF and OPP.

I am a student. What opportunities are there for me to participate in polar research?

  • As a high school student. OPP works with multiple organizations that focus on high school students. The Joint Science Education Project (JSEP) takes students to Greenland and the Joint Antarctic School Expedition (JASE) takes students to Antarctica.

  • As an undergraduate student. Research Experience for Undergraduates (REUs) is a great way to get involved in polar research. There are different opportunities each year for Polar REUs and information about REUs can be found on the NSF REU webpage. From the REU page, you can search for polar-specific opportunities.

    Additionally, the Juneau Icefield Research Program (JIRP) has excellent opportunities for undergraduate students to gain experience working in glacial environments.

    If you are interested in internship opportunities, please see the FAQ titled Jobs at NSF.

  • As a graduate student. There are many opportunities for graduate students. The Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) can assist students pursuing graduate degrees. Additionally, the OPP Arctic Science Section supports Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants (DDRIG).

    If you wish to join a team conducting research in the polar regions, we recommend reaching out to principal investigators (PIs) or Co-PIs that are currently funded by NSF. The NSF Awards Database allows you to explore recent awards to find a project and PI working on research that is of interest to you. You can also look specifically at recent Antarctic awards and recent Arctic awards.

  • As a post-graduate student. The Polar Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship (OPP-PRF) provides opportunities for early-career scientists, including social scientists, to accomplish one or more of the following goals:
    • Expand their work across traditional disciplinary lines
    • Develop new partnerships connecting the polar regions and/or non-polar research communities
    • Provide entry to researchers who have traditionally had limited access to polar research resources, sites and facilities
    All other scientists should explore the funding opportunities in the FAQ titled Where can I find out information about funding opportunities?.

I am interested in the Antarctic Artists and Writers Program. How do I learn more?
The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program (AAW) is currently being restructured and no opportunities are available in the immediate future. Please check the AAW webpage for the latest updates about the program.

I am trying to get information or data for my research project. Can someone at NSF help me?
Unfortunately, no. The National Science Foundation has a strict policy that results in staff not being able to participate in interviews in studies, dissertation research projects, outside research, and other similar activities. NSF staff receive many inquiries and are unable to respond to all of them. Thus, in the spirit of fairness and to avoid an appearance of endorsement, the agency policy does not allow us to participate in such activities.

Media inquiries

UPDATE: There are currently no 2022-23 media visits to the Arctic and Antarctic.

  • Media visits to the Arctic and Antarctica
    Each year the NSF endeavors to host members of the press and media to observe and report on U.S. activities in the Arctic and Antarctic. Selection is based on the ability to understand and present scientific subjects, written commitment from the organization, and the expected size of the audience. There is an annual application deadline several months before research seasons begin. For information about applications for participation during a field season, please contact

  • Interviews
    If you are interested in interviewing a researcher or someone in the Office of Polar Programs, please contact

  • Connecting with research teams
    The Office of Polar Programs is unable to connect media with research teams. If you are interested in teaming up with a research team for a project, we encourage you to check the OPP's current funded awards webpage and contact the principal investigator directly. Additionally, the Arctic Research Mapping Applications (ARMAP) Viewer shows scientific research projects across the Arctic with most being funded by the Office of Polar Programs.

  • Photo and video information
    The Office of Polar Programs receives frequent requests to assist with photos and videos for various projects, and we do our best to accommodate each requester's needs. Please send any photo and video requests to We also recommend you look at the NSF multimedia gallery.

General questions about Antarctica

  • My classroom or group would like to speak with a researcher in Antarctica.
    Communications with researchers in Antarctica is challenging, and unfortunately, we cannot accommodate all requests. Any events with researchers will be advertised on the Office of Polar Programs events page, and additionally, Antarctic-specific events will also be posted on the USAP website.

    You can also follow NSF on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for information about any upcoming events and check out videos of previous events on the NSF YouTube Channel.

  • I want to travel to Antarctica. How do I get to one of USAP's stations?
    Traveling to Antarctica and the stations is for U.S. Antarctic Program participants only. Personal or private trips can be arranged through private travel companies. If you are interested in being a USAP participant, visit the Opportunities for Participation in the United States Antarctic Program page.

  • How can I contact someone in Antarctica?
    The U.S. Antarctic Program does not give out the contact information of program participants.

  • I would like someone in Antarctica to participate in one of my projects so I can have representation from all continents. How can I do this?
    The U.S. Antarctic Program receives many requests for involvement in all types of projects. However, it is impossible to fulfill all requests. These requests are evaluated on a case-by-case basis and should be directed to

  • My company would like to donate our product to the U.S. Antarctica Program (USAP). Who should I talk to?
    The U.S. Antarctic Program is funded and managed by the National Science Foundation, a federal government agency. While we appreciate the offers, we cannot accept donations.

  • My family member participated in USAP/Operation Deep Freeze and I have all of these photos, slides and other items from their time in the program. Can I donate them?
    We welcome photos, slides, videos and items from previous operations to Antarctica, but cannot take all that is offered. Please send information about your items to

  • How do I get my Antarctic Service Medal?
    For additional information about the Antarctic Service Medals and eligibility through the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP), please see the Antarctic Service medal page on the USAP website.

  • I have been contacted by someone in Antarctica and they are asking me for money. What should I do?
    Please be aware that there are scams of people impersonating NSF employees or USAP participants living in Antarctica. They will befriend you and then ask you to send them money. You should never assume that they are an NSF employee or USAP participant, and USAP cannot confirm if they are employed by the program.