The Australian Antarctic Science Council (the Council) was established in 2019 to advise Government on the Australian Antarctic Science Program, including Antarctic science priorities in the context of the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan.

Council priorities

The Terms of Reference PDF for the Australian Antarctic Science Council outline key areas of focus, including advising Government on:

Antarctic science strategic plan

The Council has developed a new Antarctic science strategic plan PDF (the plan) in consultation with the Antarctic science research sector, Commonwealth government agencies, Tasmanian government, universities and industry stakeholders.

The plan will oversee the delivery of key research outcomes outlined in the Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan under the following three key research areas:

  • Environmental Protection and Management;
  • Ice, Ocean, Atmosphere and Earth Systems; and
  • Human Presence and Activities in Antarctica.

The Council’s next step will be to consult further with the Antarctic science research sector and stakeholders to develop an action plan to guide implementation of the plan over the first two to three years.

Australian Antarctic Science Decadal Plan

The Council is currently developing an Australian Antarctic Science Decadal Plan. The plan will identify priority science outcomes that must be achieved during the next decade.

Australian Antarctic Science Funding Model - review 2023

In February 2023, the Minister for the Environment and Water, The Hon Tanya Plibersek MP, asked the Australian Antarctic Science Council to conduct a review of the Australian Antarctic science funding model. 

The Council

The Council is made up of:

  • Chair, Dr Nick Gales
  • Independent Member, Professor Andrew Pitman AO
  • Independent Member, Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO
  • Ex officio members:
    • Chair, National Committee for Antarctic Research
    • Director, Australian Antarctic Division
    • CEO, Australian Research Council
    • Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources
    • Bureau of Meteorology
    • CSIRO
    • Geoscience Australia
    • Chair, Australian Antarctic Program Partnership
    • Chair, Securing Antarctica's Environmental Future Special Research Initiative
    • Chair, Australian Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science

The Chief Scientist of the Australian Antarctic Division serves as the Executive Officer to the Council.


Australian Antarctic Science Council Secretariat, Australian Antarctic Division