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Update on the Status of NSF Polar Programs

October 18, 2013

Dear Polar Community,

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is proceeding through the painstaking process of restarting systems and developing policies for reversing the consequences of the shutdown, such as missed proposal submission deadlines and review panels.  Our efforts are focused on ensuring that our decisions to sequence the restart of operations reflect careful consideration of many issues, and that we do not proceed with haste that might lead to unintended consequences. Hence our ability to communicate with individual investigators is currently limited.  In the meantime, below is a synopsis of the current state of Polar Programs.

It was necessary to suspend certain science and operations activities in Antarctica just as we had begun our active austral summer season.  Although the Continuing Resolution expires in mid-January, we are working towards a plan to fund Antarctic operations through September 30.  Unfortunately, some projects, due to their time-sensitive nature, will need to be deferred.  Discussions are underway regarding how to restore remaining activities.  You can expect to hear more about that from your Program Director in the coming days and weeks.   

In the Arctic, we were fortunate that the funding impasse ended before any ongoing field science projects had to be cancelled.   The shutdown did, however, seriously curtail planning for the 2014 field season. We will be working with you and the support organizations to catch up over the next few months so that we can minimize any impacts on our upcoming season.

Despite the delay, Polar Programs staff is working diligently with our research community, our interagency and international partners, and with our supporting organizations to continue Arctic and Antarctic research programs to the fullest possible extent.

Please watch for additional updates.

Dr. Kelly K. Falkner
Division of Polar Programs