British Antarctic Survey (BAS)

Photo: British Antarctic Survey

About the United Kingdom’s National Antarctic Program

COMNAP Representative (MNAP): Simon Garrod, Director of Operations
(DMNAP): John Eager, Operations Manager

The United Kingdom has a long history in the Antarctic and in the Sub-Antarctic islands, starting with the “heroic era” of exploration, and is an original signatory to the Antarctic Treaty. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) is the British public body formed in 1962, charged with managing the UK interest in Antarctica. BAS aims to deliver a world class programme of scientific research, national capability and long-term observations. There is a strong focus on the regional and global role of polar processes.

BAS conducts its research at Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic research stations. In the Antarctic these are the year-round stations at Rothera and Halley, and the seasonal Signy station. There are also seasonal logistic facilities at Fossil Bluff and Sky Blu.

Halley VI Research Station

In support of Antarctic science, BAS operates the ice strengthened ships RSS James Clark Ross which is used for oceanographic studies, and the RRS Ernest Shackleton which is used to resupply the Antarctic stations. BAS also operates a Dash 7 plane and four Twin Otter planes in support of science.

BAS field camp, with Twin Otter

About the Organizational Structure of the British Antarctic Survey

BAS is a component of the UK Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). The BAS headquarters are located in Cambridge, England, with over 400 employees. The organization is governed by the BAS Board, and has a Science Board to provide strategic science direction. The BAS Programme Office is the key for international relationships and for collaboration.

The total BAS budget for 2011-2012 was £48 million. Of this, £13 million was spent on the science programme, and £35 million on supporting the science, which includes the costs of running the ships, aircraft and research stations.

Our Science Programme: Polar Science for Planet Earth (PSPE)

Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and Earth Sciences are the main focus of scientific research conducted by BAS. The Polar Science for Planet Earth (PSPE) comprises six programmes involving 25 projects. There are also, long-term monitoring programmes in place.

Find information on our current science program at

For logistical support for science, researchers need to apply to BAS. This is also available for researchers outside BAS working through NERC opportunities. While not a degree awarding body, BAS works closely with students and higher education institutes in the UK and abroad. There are currently around 50 postgraduate research students funded by a variety of mechanisms.

Collaboration is a key part of BAS research and a necessity for the complex science now being conducted in Antarctica. Ties are established with over 40 UK universities, and BAS has more than 120 national and international collaborations. There are also strong links with other NERC centres, governmental departments, research organization, leading international scientists and other National Antarctic Programs. Collaboration is conducted through shared use of logistical support, personnel, and exchange of knowledge and data.

Our Contact Details


Postal/Physical address

British Antarctic Survey
High Cross, Madingley Road

Phone, Fax

Tel: +44 (0)1223 221400
Fax: +44 (0)1223 362616