The UK government’s plan to merge the British Antarctic Survey with the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton goes along with a substantial cut back on polar research. Sign the petition!
Find the full story in the Guardian.
Sign the petition.
Rationale for signing the petition prepared by SPARC scientists:
1. It is of strong national importance to have a dedicated polar research institute with a leading international reputation given the threats posed to the UK by dramatic climate change in the polar regions (e.g. Arctic sea ice decline potentially leading to adverse winter weather in the UK and the unstable West Antarctic Ice Sheet leading to a risk of significant sea level rise).
2. It is of strong national importance to have a dedicated polar research institute with a leading international reputation given the sensitive geopolitical situations in the Arctic, Antarctic and South Atlantic. Indeed I am told that, for example, every other nation who is a claimant to the Antarctic territories has a dedicated polar research institute.
3. The world-leading scientists that currently work at BAS enhance our international reputation. Those excellent scientists have been proud to work for BAS: the culture is very strong. But such internationally renowned scientist are internationally mobile. With BAS’s demise, there is a significant risk of an international brain-drain of polar scientists.
4. With its HQ in Cambridge, BAS was also embedded in a wider centre of research excellence (and indeed polar excellence with the Scott Polar Research Institute which is part of the University of Cambridge). With a new centre based in Southampton, these links will be greatly weakened.
In addition, it is not clear that the merger will save any money, and any synergies in the science or logistics could be achieved without merging institutes.