Email Print Share

Dear Colleague Letter: 2023 Update on Science Support and Infrastructure in Antarctica

June 12, 2023

Since the last NSF update in April 2022, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to severely impact the Office of Polar Program’s (OPP) ability to support science on the continent, and those impacts have been exacerbated by increasing constraints on resources arising from inflation and the need for facility renewal.

The U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP) anticipated supporting a majority of COVID-19-impacted projects and new science projects in the 2022-2023 season. The highest priority science projects included fieldwork involving international collaborations, projects with critical time-series data, and projects involving instrument maintenance to prevent irreversible damage to, or loss of, science infrastructure. Additionally, construction on a critical new lodging building and a vehicle maintenance facility resumed in McMurdo this past season.

Unfortunately, delays in early-season cargo and passenger movements, as well as COVID management protocols, hampered science deployments throughout the program. As a result, USAP is facing a severe shortage of logistics resources relative to the volume of deferred science that those resources must support.

Due to these compounding constraints, the upcoming 2023-2024 Antarctic season will be significantly curtailed. 

Read the full Dear Colleague Letter at

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2023 budget of $9.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

mail icon Get News Updates by Email 

Connect with us online
NSF website:
NSF News:
For News Media:
Awards database:

Follow us on social