Fellowship for prospective polar researchers to be awarded | Polarjournal
Antarctica is an internationally administered area where research is the focus. This is because the seemingly isolated region is connected to the rest of the world in many ways, influencing weather, oceans and even politics. Therefore, numerous research stations have been established, such as Palmer Station near the Antarctic Peninsula. Picture: Michael Wenger

Antarctica has always been a place of peace and, above all, of science. Ever since the first explorers visited the region in the early 19th century, the focus has been on exploring this region, which actually seems remote. In the meantime, numerous stations have been established in and around Antarctica and thousands of scientists are trying to unravel its mysteries. The IAATO (International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators) and COMNAP (Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs) have a joint fellowship programme open for prospective polar researchers and look forward to receiving applicants who wish to dedicate their scientific careers to the Antarctic world.

“We have been thrilled with the response in previous years, but know that now has been an uncertain time for many.”

Amanda Lynnes, Director of Environment and Science Coordination for IAATO

The International Association of Antarctica Tour Operators (IAATO), in collaboration with the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) launched the search for the next $15,000 USD IAATO Antarctic Fellowship recipient on March 15. The fellowship, funded by IAATO and now in its third year, is an investment in the professional development of talented early career scientists and researchers and aims to further the understanding of human presence in Antarctica.

On ships of IAATO members, travellers can also participate in so-called Citizen Science projects. Interested participants are guided by scientists and introduced to scientific projects. One of these is Fjordphyto, which studies plankton communities along the Antarctic Peninsula. Image: Rutger Bianchi via IAATO

Amanda Lynnes, Director of Environment and Science Coordination for IAATO, said: “Despite the challenges created by the pandemic, our mission continues as does our commitment to supporting early career researchers, so we are delighted to bring the fellowship back for a third year. “We’ve been thrilled with the response in previous years but know this has been an uncertain time for many so don’t want them to miss this opportunity by assuming we’re not running the fellowship this year.” The IAATO Antarctic Fellowship will enable early-career persons to work with a project team from another country, opening up new opportunities and often creating partnerships that last for many years and over many Antarctic field seasons.

The fellowship was launched in 2019, and allowed two recipients, both working on their PhDs, to pursue their research; Martina Mascioni from the University of La Plata, Argentina, analyzing phytoplankton samples collected from IAATO ships since 2017 by a Citizen Science project called FjordPhyto , and Daniela Cajiao Vargas from the Free University of Madrid, studying two different areas of Antarctic travel to see how such Antarctic travel affects experience and understanding about the region. Despite the pandemic, the fellowship was awarded again last year. Last year’s recipient, Miguel González Pleiter, from the University of Alcala, Spain will further his research on understanding the consequences of microplastic introduction to the Antarctic environment. In particular he will study microplastics in Antarctic freshwater to understand their role in potentially spreading antibiotic resistance genes in pristine ecosystems. Martina Mascioni says of the fellowship, ” “For me, as a PhD student, I see the IAATO fellowship as an excellent opportunity to learn new techniques, generate new connections, and work collectively with scientists from other countries. After all, what would Antarctic science be without the collaboration between countries?” But those who still want to apply must hurry. Because the application deadline is May 31, 2021. More information and registration possibilities can be found at the end.

Source: IAATO Press Release

Link to more information: https://iaato.org/supporting-science/the-iaato-antarctic-fellowship/

Link to download the application pack: 2021_IAATO_Fellowship_Eligibility_Application_Pack

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