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Division of Polar Programs Special Announcements Archive

Division of Polar Programs

u.s. antarctic program

  • Sonya Lyatsky Joins PLR's Antarctic Sciences Section (7 May 2015)
  • Michael E. Jackson Joins PLR's Antarctic Sciences Section (10 April 2015)
  • Facts about the NSF and the United States Antarctic Program (+/-) (Click to read the announcement.)

    The following information clarifies facts regarding the United States Antarctic Program and which are relevant to a prominent article in the May 4 edition of The New York Times.

    Per Presidential Memorandum 6646, signed by president Reagan in 1982, the National Science Foundation coordinates the U.S. Antarctic Program on behalf of the U.S. government.

    To meet this Presidential mandate, NSF, through the Division of Polar Programs and others, supports investigators nationwide to pursue research that is best done or can only be done in Antarctica. The research support is awarded through a competitive merit review process.

    In addition to this direct science support, the Division of Polar Programs is responsible for managing infrastructure and logistics to support that research as well as that of other government agencies, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This includes operations of three year-round stations in Antarctica—McMurdo, Amundsen-Scott South Pole and Palmer—and two research vessels, the Laurence M. Gould and the Nathaniel B. Palmer, that operate in the Southern Ocean.

    The Division also manages a prime contract for logistics support, currently awarded to Antarctic Support Contract (ASC), a division of Lockheed Martin, and coordinates with the U.S. military and other agencies to provide support such as airlift and icebreaking.

    (11 February 2015)

  • U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel (+/-) (Click to read the announcement.)

    On March 21, 2013, the National Science Foundation issued a summary response to the recommendations of the U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel that was charged with advising NSF on how to improve and streamline its logistical capabilities to more efficiently support world-class Antarctic science. The response is available at

    The U.S. Antarctic Program Blue Ribbon Panel report was released by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the National Science Foundation on 23 July 2012 during a press conference at the National Academy of Sciences.

    The report, More and Better Science in Antarctica through Increased Logistical Effectiveness, is available at

    Updated: 17 May 2013

u.s. arctic research program

  • Change of Leadership for NSF Arctic Sciences

  • National Strategy for the Arctic Region (+/-) (Click to read the announcement.)

    On 10 May 2013, President Barack Obama signed the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The United States joined our Arctic Council colleagues Canada, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Russia, and Sweden in articulating our strategic priorities for this critical region of the world.

    The Administration solicited input from Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska and others as it was developing the National Strategy for the Arctic. Successful implementation of the National Strategy will depend upon active engagement with Alaska Natives, the State of Alaska and other key stakeholders. In particular, proceeding with the stewardship of Arctic resources under an Integrated Arctic Management approach requires meaningful, up-front input by the State, Alaska Natives, and others. As a further demonstration of its commitment to such input, Administration officials have hosted roundtable discussions in Alaska to determine how best to move forward with the implementation of the concepts laid out in this National Strategy.

    A copy of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region can be found on the White House web site. In January 2014, the White House released the Implementation Plan for the National Strategy for the Arctic Region, which is designed to guide Federal Departments and Agencies in implementing the plan. The Implementation Plan will be reviewed annually to ensure that the United States is prepared to respond to changes, challenges, and opportunities in the Arctic.

    The National Science Foundation is pleased to have participated in the development of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region. The release of the Arctic Strategy is timely and builds on collaborations underway across government to identify and address priorities associated with environmental changes in this important region and implications for Arctic residents, the U.S. as an Arctic nation, and the world. One such effort is the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee, which is chaired by the director of NSF. Read more about NSF Arctic activities.

    Updated 24 July 2014

  • IARPC Arctic 5-year Research Plan(+/-) (Click to read the announcement.)

    On February 19, 2013, the National Science and Technology Council released a five-year Arctic Research Plan that outlines key areas of study the Federal government will undertake to better understand and predict environmental changes in the Arctic. For more information, go to the Interagency Arctic Research and Policy Committee — Arctic Research Plan page at

U.S. Antarctic Program


U.S. Arctic Research Program