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Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition ("ACE") - Call for proposals

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The goal of the ACE Project is to offer to international teams of distinguished scientists an outstanding and unique opportunity to study the marine and terrestrial environment of the sub-Antarctic ecosystem, based on the following components :

  • A round trip of Antarctica in a single expedition (see Annex 1 Travel plan) of a 3-month duration. Project teams can participate in the whole expedition or only in one or two of the scheduled legs. Please see the Travel plan set out in Annex 1 (“Travel plan”), which shows the anticipated route along with a tentative time line for the three-month expedition, including proposed timing for island landings and cruising timelines between the islands. It should be noted that this map is purely provisional and will be adjusted, within the time frame, as required in light of the selected scientific projects.
  • A polar vessel proposed by the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute of St Petersburg will be made available for the Project, offering research labs and other facilities such as helicopters and other means of transport (see Annex 2 - Vessel description and research facilities).
  • A high level International Panel composed of distinguished scientific experts from polar institutions located in ACE partner countries including South Africa, Australia, Norway, the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and the Russian Federation, with participation by external experts, will be established. The Panel will play a strategic role in selecting the scientific projects that will participate in the ACE project ;
  • Two kinds of projects are expected : 1) Projects which are going to use the vessel and the research platform without any requested funding ; and 2) Projects which require additional funding. For the latter, funding will be provided by a sponsor with anticipated grant levels of up to 200 thousand Euros per project.

The ACE project seeks to enhance international relations and collaboration amongst countries as well as to promote the interest of a new generation of young explorers in polar research. Therefore, we expect research projects submitted to the Panel to be open to any country or institution.
Applicants should pay attention to the strict conditions and rules allowed by countries to conduct research projects in the islands and their environs. Annex 3 provides an overview of the key elements applicable to research projects seeking access to the islands and their environs. Applicants are requested to confirm that their project will comply with the rules presented in the annex and to read the complete Island Management Plan if necessary.


The call for proposals is a joint call between Ecole Polytechnique Federal of Lausanne -EPFL- (as coordinator) and the partnering polar institutes (Australia/ France/ Norway/ Russia/ South Africa/ UK) under the patronage of Mr Frederik Paulsen.

The call will be open between 23 November 2015 and 31 January 2016.

The Panel will select about 20 scientific research projects.
The access to the vessel and its facilities is free for the scientific teams whose projects are selected. Proposals that rely only on access to the vessel will be considered as well as those which require specific additional funding for running the project. Matching funding with existing projects is also encouraged.

Total allocation for science is EUR 2 million with anticipated grants up to 200 thousand Euros per project. However, it should be noted that the selection panel will look for scientific excellence regardless of the size and budget of the project.
Grants will cover the travel costs, the cost of science on board the ship or on the islands and the associated costs needed to perform the research (cost of materials/ samples/ use of observation collections/ purchase of specific equipments, travel costs etc.). For more information, see Annex 4 - Submission template for research projects part funding.

Proposals will be selected by 28 February 2016 by the Panel and the selection announcement will be made by the sponsor at the beginning of March.
The Antarctic Circumnavigation Expedition is expected to start in December 2016.

Contact in France
 : Pascal Morin - IPEV

Deadline for soumission : 31 January 2016