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Education & Training

Early Career Scientists


Extracted from the SCAR Strategic Plan 2004-2010

Education & Training

To meet the objective of developing scientific capacity in all SCAR Members, especially with respect to younger scientists, and promoting the incorporation of Antarctic science in education at all levels, SCAR will take the following strategic approach:

To meet these requirements, SCAR will begin by developing a capacity building and education strategy, in consultation with COMNAP.

Developing an Education and Training Programme

The Antarctic research programmes of SCAR Member nations vary greatly in their size and capacity. Some have scientific communities that are large, scientifically advanced and long standing. Others have relatively small and new Antarctic science communities that are still developing. To enable all in the SCAR family to participate in, contribute to and benefit from SCAR's activities, it is incumbent on SCAR to work with appropriate agencies to help to enhance the research capacity of all of its Members and Associate Members. This requirement has become more pressing with the significant increase in SCAR Membership in recent years.

Until now, efforts at capacity building and education have been ad hoc, and left largely to the inclinations of individual Member nations. To give a few examples, New Zealand has provided opportunities for Malaysian scientists to work at Scott Base, and runs a postgraduate certificate course and a Masters degree programme at Gateway Antarctica. The UK and Germany provided initial Antarctic opportunities for Dutch scientists. The US has run and financially supported several post-graduate training courses at McMurdo Station that are internationally advertised and strongly competed for.

SCAR itself used the opportunity of the Prince of Asturias award in 2002 to offer 5 Fellowships creating new opportunities for young scientists. SCAR considers it desirable to continue such a fellowship programme with funds attracted from external sources. This is consistent with an aspect of capacity building and education that is particularly important to all SCAR Members - the need to create the cadre of Antarctic scientists for the future. It is vital to engage the young, and to interest young scientists, everywhere, in Antarctic research.

As a first step towards developing a capacity building and education strategy, SCAR XXVIII agreed to create a SCAR Capacity Building and Education Group. The Group should involve the Executive Director and report to the Delegates Committee on Outreach and Administration. A Vice President will carry the responsibility for the Capacity Building portfolio within the Executive Committee. SCAR should obtain advice on capacity building and education from other practitioners in the field, notably from ICSU and its scientific committees.

On the education front, to interest young people in Antarctica and its science it is desirable to contribute information about Antarctica and its science to educators in as many countries as possible. This should be the responsibility of National Antarctic Programmes in their own countries. Ideally, those national programmes should be made available to SCAR, so that SCAR can make them available to other countries through its web site. In due course, SCAR may wish to consider investing in an international educational package that draws on examples from different Members.