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Antarctic researchers react to Budget’s Scott Base news

20 May 2021

The 2021 Budget held some great news for Antarctic scientists and researchers at the University of Canterbury, with $344 million committed to rebuilding Scott Base in Antarctica.


Emperor Penguins in Antarctica photographed by UC scientist Dr Michelle LaRue.

This project will replace the existing base and Ross Island Wind Farm, achieving the goal of a sustainable and long-term presence in Antarctica.

University of Canterbury (UC) academics from a range of disciplines were thrilled to hear of the Budget funding to support world-leading Antarctic science and research in the Ross Sea region.

Professor Adrian McDonald, Director of Gateway Antarctica, UC College of Science, says he is delighted to hear the government has agreed to support the Scott Base rebuild.

“This is a very significant investment and will further enhance New Zealand’s capability to complete world-class research in Antarctica,” Professor McDonald says.

“As the Director of Gateway Antarctica, UC’s centre for Antarctic scholarship and research, I have been impressed by the level of thought that has gone into the development and Antarctica New Zealand’s commitment to work with scientists to ensure that this new facility will strengthen our ability to do cutting edge research in this harsh environment

UC Political Scientist Professor Anne-Marie Brady, UC College of Arts, who is an Antarctic politics specialist, says, “New Zealand, like other Antarctic states, needs to make an investment in Antarctic capacity in order to maintain the Antarctic policies it seeks to protect. The redeveloped base and plans to invest in more ice-strengthened vessels for the New Zealand Defence Force announced just this week, will enable New Zealand to participate in Antarctic governance activities and continue to be an active member of the Antarctic Treaty system.”

Professor Rob Lindeman, Director of the HITLabNZ, UC College of Engineering, says, “The New Zealand government has taken a bold step in solidifying the country’s leading role in Antarctic research. In addition to the strong science-led efforts, we see big opportunities to contribute on the Antarctic Engineering side, including things like agile communications networks, robust remote monitoring stations, unmanned (water/land/air) vehicle design, development and deployment, and scientific outreach, all using emerging technologies developed in New Zealand.”

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