Australian Antarctic Science Program

Science is the central driver of all the Australian Antarctic Division's activities.

The Australian Antarctic Science Program (AASP) operates within the Australian Antarctic Program (AAP) to deliver world-class scientific research consistent with Australia’s Antarctic science strategic priorities.

If you have a current project or are looking to commence one, please read the frequently asked questions below. These questions and answers will be added to and changed over time to meet the needs of stakeholders.

Frequently asked questions for scientists

I'm heading to Antarctica for the 22/23 season (soon), when do I need to have my cargo lodged?

For those who intend to send cargo this season on Voyages 1 – 6 and C17 Flights 010 – 030.

As Cargo Required by Dates (CRBD) for this season are fast approaching, a reminder that all consignments need to be submitted for packing in Econ and, where possible, by CRBD.

Please see the Shipping and flight schedules page for CRBD dates.

Does the electrical equipment (scientific or other) that I will take south need to be tagged and tested?

Yes, it's 100% necessary to have all of your plug in electrical items (from meters to hairdryers) recently tagged and tested by an electrician. All tagging and testing must be done before the cargo is consigned for transport, and be valid beyond the Return to Australia date (RTA).

The onus for organising and paying for tagging and testing falls to the project's CI.

Tagging and testing is not a service provided by the AAD for partnering organisations.

How can I safely transport my scientific samples?

Follow the steps outlined on the Scientific samples and Sample transport process pages, paying close attention to the required documentation and timing of your actions, as the sample owner.

Don't forget to ensure your service level agreement includes your desired sample destination if that destination is outside of the AAD.

Avian Flu: Safety and Environment Alert September 2022

To maintain your safety and prevent the spread of Avian Flu, all scientific expeditioners must read the Safety and Environment Alert regarding Avian Flu. Further information can be obtained by emailing either WHS@aad.gov.au or AADEnvironment@aad.gov.au.

Does the AAD have processes in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic?

COVID-19 Vaccination is mandatory for all travellers with the program. Our COVID-19 and the AAP page has information on our COVID-19 processes and requirements.

Anyone travelling to Antarctica or the sub-Antarctic with the Australian Antarctic Science Program should familiarise themselves with this information (or risk being unable to travel).

Who do I talk to about my science project (new or existing)?

The Science Planning and Coordination team are here to help. Email planning@aad.gov.au or call 03 6232 3593

How can I change or vary an aspect of my existing science project?

Submit a Request for Variation form.

There are two categories of variation request, which will be determined by the impact of the request on the Australian Antarctic Program:

  • Minor – these include additional team members not travelling south, deferral requests, additional Australia-based seasons, as well as small changes to project objectives, milestones and the like.
  • Major – these include any changes where extra support is required from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD), including additional field sites or marine science support, science equipment and technical support, and kitting for non-AAD vessels. This also includes requests for additional seasons requiring field support, additional berths, and activities involving animal ethics or permit approvals.

This Request for Variation form must be submitted by the project’s Chief Investigator (CI) to SP&C at planning@aad.gov.au, and they will facilitate the approval. Major variations must be accompanied by an email or letter from the CI’s head of research unit or institution stating they are aware of and support the request.

Your variation request and the decision (once received) will be viewable as an attachment on the project in the Antarctic Applications Online system (AAO).

I have an idea for a science project. Is there a process for me to suggest it?

If you are not currently engaged in the Australian Antarctic Science Program, send your ideas to planning@aad.gov.au – for Program Leader and Chief Scientist consideration.

Please note though, that there will be no open call for new Australian Antarctic Science Program projects. The focus of any new projects must align with the Australian Antarctic Science Program priorities.

If you’re from the Australian Antarctic Program Partnership or Special Research Initiative, please talk to your program manager.

If you’re part of the Australian Antarctic Division, please talk to your Program Leader.

Can I use drones in Antarctica?

As the use of drones continues to expand, it is important that all personnel who work in this space read and comply with the recently released the Department's Drone Use Policy. The policy also refers to the operations manual which is approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

If you or your team are considering using drones for a project, or engaging contractors to do so, please email the Chief Remote Pilot and the Drone Operations and Technology Solutions (DOTS) team crp@awe.gov.au to discuss your project and request a copy of the Drone Use Policy and the Operations Manual.

I am an AAD scientist and I need to travel (not to Antarctica) for my project. What are the steps I need to take?

Check if this travel is in your Australian Antarctic Science Project.

  • If Yes – Follow the travel information found on the AAD intranet (right hand menu under finance travel and procurement)
  • If No – You will need to submit a Request for Variation form and receive approval before embarking on any travel arrangements
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