Each year the United States deploys to Antarctica about 600 people to perform scientific research and about 1,800 people to operate and maintain year-round research stations and provide logistics in support of this re- search. These persons include research teams from academia, industry, and government, military personnel, and contractor employees.

The National Science Foundation is the federal agency responsible for funding and managing U.S. activities in Antarctica, but the Foundation does not directly hire individuals. They are selected by participating organizations and institutions as described below. Successful applicants will have been prepared through specialized study, training, or experience in polar- related topics. Opportunities fall into these categories:


Scientific opportunities in Antarctica center on terrestrial and marine biology, medical research, meteorology, glaciology, the earth sciences, the ocean sciences, atmospheric physics, and astronomy. Eligi- bility generally is limited to U.S. scientists with advanced degrees, who initiate proposals that are submitted by their employing organizations. Graduate students are not encouraged to submit research proposals, but are welcome as members of research teams.

Scientist's assistant

The scientist who submits a successful proposal typically is authorized to assemble a research team to help implement his or her project in the field. Preference is given to graduate and undergraduate students in the per- tinent scientific discipline. Although assistants usually are chosen from within the scientist's organization, a well qualified individual may be successful in joining the team. The Foundation encourages investigators to include qualified young people (high school graduates and beyond) in their field projects and offers several programs to fund such participation. The Foundation's Antarctic Journal of the United States lists recent awardees and the titles of their research. Inquiries should be directed to the awardee, not to the Foundation.

Technician or field assistant (support contractor)

Because of the far flung and difficult environment of Antarctica, the program has many supporting persons. These people operate stations, laboratories, machinery, and research ships, build or renovate facilities, maintain vehicles, outfit field parties, and manage camps. Many trades and levels of skill are involved. A contractor is empowered by the Foundation to do hiring for performance of these tasks. The current contract is with Antarctic Support Associates. Employment enquiries should be directed to Antarctic Support Associates, 61 Inverness Drive East, Suite 300, Englewood, Colorado 80112, 800-688-8606. Direct inquiries to the contractor, not the Foundation.

Active duty military

The U.S. Navy operates helicopters and airplanes in the Antarctic Program and performs other logistics functions. The Coast Guard operates icebreakers in Antarctica to escort supply ships and support science. Employment with these organizations generally is limited to active duty service personnel and involves a long-term commitment that might not include antarctic service. Direct inquiries to a Navy recruiter or the Coast Guard, Department of Transportation, Washington, D.C. 20590.

Public information representative

Each year the Foundation endeavors to send a small number of members of the press or television crews to Antarctica to observe and report on U.S. activities. Selection is based on ability to understand and present scientific subjects, written commitment from employing organization, and expected size of audience. Contact: Public Information Branch (703-306-1070) or Polar Information Program (703-306-1031), NSF.

Artist or writer

To enable interpretation and presentation of the Nation's antarctic heritage, the Foundation's Antarctic Artists & Writers Program will consider requests from particularly well qualified writers, historians, artists, or others in the liberal arts to work in Antarctica. This is a limited opportunity that provides field support but no direct award of funds. The successful candidate will be well established and working full time in the appropriate field and will have a means of presenting his or her work to the public. Ask the Polar Information Program for USAP Information Series No. 31, Antarctic Artists & Writers Program.

Excluded categories

Because some types of activities are not considered to contribute to the U.S. mission for Antarctica, NSF will not consider or approve applications for participation in the program in these categories: private expeditions by mountain climbers or adventurers, visits to promote com- mercial products, photography (except as in one of the above categories), ``space-available'' passage on support aircraft flights, and sightseeing or other superficial visits. The support organizations are also bound by this National policy. The Government does not provide support to private expeditions, but does not discourage citizens from participating in such expeditions if they are self- sufficient and meet environmental standards.

Equal opportunity

The National Science Foundation and its contractors and grantees are equal opportunity employers. Women and members of minority groups are encouraged to apply for participation in all aspects of the U.S. Antarctic Program. A number of NSF programs specifically encourage such participation and are described in the Foundation's annually updated Guide to Programs, available from NSF Publications (address above).


Inquiries regarding opportunities for scientific research project support, employment, specific research results, availability of specimens and data, and other aspects of the U.S. Antarctic Program may be directed to the Polar Information Program, Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230. Telephone: 703-306-1031. Facsimile: 703-306-0139. Electronic mail: dfriscic@nsf.gov.