New funding opportunities for young Antarctic researchers | Polarjournal
For the IAATO, supporting Antarctic research is an essential area. For this purpose, not only grants are awarded, but also Citizen Science projects and also national research programs in many fields are supported. Image: Rutger_Bianchi_via_IAATO

Research in Antarctica is not only a logistical challenge, but also a financial one. Although the region is becoming more popular and important in many branches of science, funding is difficult to come by, especially for early career scientists such as graduate and PhD students. Therefore, the announcement by the International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators IAATO together with the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs COMNAP is all the more welcome. This is because they are again awarding fellowships for prospective Antarctic researchers this year and have now launched the search for this purpose.

The US$15,000 fellowship, now in its fourth year of funding by IAATO, is an investment in the professional development of talented early career scientists and researchers and aims to advance understanding of the human presence in Antarctica. Amanda Lynnes, Director of Environment and Science Coordination at IAATO, explained: “The launch of the annual Antarctic Fellowship is a highlight of the year. Our hope is it will encourage the involvement of early career persons in Antarctic research endeavours and boost international cooperation. This is in the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty and, as part of that, we welcome applications that aim to further understanding of human presence in Antarctica.”

Those countries that operate a national research program in Antarctica (pictured is the longest running Antarctic research station, Base Orcadas) are grouped together in COMNAP. In order to continue to support high-class Antarctic research in the future, IAATO, together with COMNAP, awards fellowships to prospective researchers. Photo: Heiner Kubny

IAATO joins other Antarctic organizations now announcing their grant awards. In addition to IAATO, COMNAP is also offering one scholarship with funding of up to US$15,000 for 2022. Both the IAATO and COMNAP fellowships allow early career scientists to work with a project team from another country, creating new opportunities and often long-term partnerships over many field seasons in Antarctica. The application deadline for COMNAP and IAATO fellowships is June 30, 2022.

The Monegasque Prince Albert II Foundation has been supporting research projects worldwide for years. It recently launched an initiative to promote polar research (Polar Initiative) and is now funding additional Antarctic research grants. Image: JC Vinaj / FPA2

Following the recent launch of the Polar Initiative the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has funded an additional Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) fellowship. As a result, SCAR will offer a total of four to five scholarships of up to US$15,000 each for 2022. The details for the SCAR scheme will be similar to previous years but with the opportunity for applicants to propose partly or entirely remote fellowships to reflect the impact of COVID-19-related travel restrictions. The application deadline for the SCAR Fellowship is August 31, 2022.

In the past four years, young researchers such as Martina Mascioni (left) from Argentina and Ross Nichols (right) from the USA have benefited from the IAATO fellowship and furthered their research careers in Antarctica. Pictures: IAATO

The IAATO Antarctic Fellowship was launched in 2019 and at the time allowed two recipients, both working on their PhDs, to continue their research; Martina Mascioni, University of La Plata, Argentina, analyzing phytoplankton samples collected by IAATO vessels since 2017 as part of a citizen science project called FjordPhyto, and Daniela Cajiao Vargas, Autonomous University of Madrid, who is studying two different sectors of Antarctic travel to find out how visiting Antarctica affects the experience and understanding of the region.

Whales are one of the highlights for tourists in Antarctica. But sailing in their feeding areas brings the risk of collisions. Therefore, IAATO supports research to minimize the risk. Picture: Michael Wenger

The IAATO 2022 Fellow, Ross Nichols of the University of California, Santa Cruz, is sponsoring research to help ship operators minimize the risk of collisions between whales and ships around the Antarctic Peninsula. IAATO has a special area that stretches 22,000 kilometers along the peninsula and requires its operators to slow down for whales. By looking more closely at the behavior of whales and ships, it is hoped that Ross’ research will inform management decisions about vessel operations in the region.

Text: Press release IAATO

Link to the information page about COMNAP and IAATO scholarships

Link to the “Polar Initiative” page of the Prince Albert II Foundation

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