The Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) is inviting applications from researchers for projects in Antarctica in 2004–05. AAD representatives will travel to all states and the ACT to talk to prospective Antarctic researchers about the opportunities available.

Parliamentary Secretary for Antarctica Dr Sharman Stone said that it was one of the largest national programs conducted under the Antarctic Treaty.

“Around 130 projects are conducted each year at Australia’s Casey, Davis, Mawson and Macquarie Island stations and, when possible, at remote Heard Island in the southern Indian Ocean,” Dr Stone said.

The Australian Antarctic Program’s chief scientist, Dr Michael Stoddart, will lead the tour.

“The programs cover an extensive range including Antarctic Marine Living Resources, Biology, Glaciology, Meteorology, Oceanography, Space and Atmospheric Sciences and Human Impacts,” said Dr Stoddart.

“The nature of Antarctic science is facing change with the future prospect of air transport between Hobart and Casey station,” said Dr Stoddart.

“Indications are that with the establishment of an intercontinental air link more senior scientists, not only from Australia but from around the world, will be attracted to Antarctic research. Senior scientists don’t have the time to spend the many weeks at sea currently taken by ship,” said Dr Stoddart.

Presentations across the country will explain the new air transport opportunities, directions of the recently established Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), the Australian Antarctic Grants Scheme and the Antarctic Science Program.

Dr Stone said that the presentations were an excellent chance for researchers to learn more about the opportunities in Antarctic science.