Government publishes UK Antarctic science strategy

July 17, 2014
Credit: Pete Bucktrout (British Antarctic Survey)

A framework document, 'UK Science in Antarctica 2014-2020,' is published today (Wednesday 16 July). Prepared by the UK National Committee for Antarctic Research on behalf of the UK Antarctic community it creates a framework for British research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, highlighting key areas of Antarctic science that will inform policy and economic decision-making, and help society adapt in a changing world.

Both the Antarctic and the Arctic are unrivalled sources of information about our planet. They provide a unique natural laboratory for the study of global processes, such as climate change and allow scientists to address urgent questions relating to energy and global food security, innovation and economic growth.

Innovation and research are at the heart of the UK growth agenda. The advancement of Antarctic knowledge and understanding is essential to a promising future for the UK. The next five years will see the largest ever sustained capital spend on science investment of £1.1 billion a year protected in real terms to 2021.

Universities, Science and Cities Minister Greg Clark said, "The UK has been a world leader in Antarctic science and exploration for over 200 years, and the British Antarctic Survey has been a critical tool in helping us to understand one of the most important regions of our planet.

"UK Science in Antarctica 2014-2020 creates a framework for British research and identifies the key research areas for the Government over the next five years. It places UK Antarctic science at the heart of the international effort to understand urgent science questions that have a big impact on humanity."

Professor Jane Francis, Director of the British Antarctic Survey, said, "The British Antarctic Survey provides support in Antarctica and the Arctic to a broad UK science community. That community is focused on questions with international significance, such as reducing uncertainty in predictions of future sea-level rise and support for international decision-making on the sustainable management of Southern Ocean fisheries. The recent announcement for the funding of a new polar research ship will put UK scientists at the forefront of climate and ocean research in both Antarctica and the Arctic."

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