The first primary audience of the Scan is the international Antarctic and Southern Ocean scientific community. As the leading, international Antarctic scientific organization, SCAR is a surrogate for this community and will be a major audience for and user of Scan outputs and products. The outcomes of the Scan will support SCAR and community strategic planning efforts by providing a collective vision of future directions in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. This vision will allow for the alignment of programmes, projects and resources with emerging scientific questions and themes. As an example, the timeframe of the current SCAR strategic plan is 2011-2016. The timing of the Scan is such that the outcomes will be available in late 2014/early 2015 for use in the next SCAR strategic planning cycle. The outcomes of the Scan will be useful to individual scientists and groups of scientists by providing a framework that assists in justifying why their science is important, documenting community concurrence on the most important future directions, identifying critical gaps in knowledge, and highlighting opportunities for partnerships and synergies across scientific disciplines and research themes.
The second primary Scan audience is those that fund and support Antarctic and Southern Ocean science, including National Antarctic Programmes and national science funding organizations. In economically challenging times, coordination across the international community will be critical for optimizing return on investments, creating synergies and partnerships, and identifying opportunities for sharing and leveraging of resources amongst Antarctic nations. A clear vision of the future will assist in ensuring that long–term investments in logistics and infrastructure are positioned to support the science and technological needs of emerging research foci. Antarctic and Southern Ocean science is but one of many scientific communities and other sectors competing for limited national resources. A unified and well thought-out vision for the future will be essential in convincing funders, faced with difficult choices, that Antarctic science is not only a wise but essential investment. This is especially important for Antarctic and Southern Ocean science given the cost of investments in major infrastructure such as ships, stations, airplanes, satellites, and other technologies that enable operations in such remote and hostile environments. Developing a community-wide view will frame future directions and emerging frontiers in a holistic and interconnected framework that informs science funding decisions.
The third primary Scan audience is the Antarctic Conservation Strategy (ACS) and Antarctic Environments Portal (AEP) projects. The Scan will not attempt to directly address policy makers but policy makers will be included as Scan participants. The Antarctic Conservation Strategy is a community-driven effort to define and address the need for scientific advice to inform policy/decision-makers about the scientific basis for addressing some of the most compelling environmental issues in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in the next 10 to 20 years. It is attempting to develop a framework for ensuring that the best science and knowledge available is brought to the attention of policy makers in formats that are understandable and utilitarian. The Antarctic Conservation Strategy will apply the science that is identified by the Scan. The Antarctic Conservation Strategy will also illustrate the value of investments in Antarctic and Southern Ocean science. Complementing the Scan and the ACS is the concept of an Antarctic Environments Portal which is developing a "one-stop shopping" website for policy-ready scientific advice led by New Zealand, SCAR, and COMNAP. Ensuring access to the latest and best scientific findings and knowledge is critically needed by the policy community. The Scan will focus on future directions in pure/basic science, the Antarctic Conservation Strategy will translate that science and knowledge into policy-ready formats, and the Portal will deliver that knowledge to the policy community.
There are a number of other potential audiences for outcomes of the Scan including:
- Partner organizations with a polar focus or an interest in the Polar Regions – using outcomes to inform partners of new directions and identify opportunities for synergy and cooperation.
- Academia/Teachers - producing teaching materials and informing educators about important Antarctic and Southern Ocean topics and why they are important.
- Next generation scientists – highlighting future directions and exciting research opportunities for the next generation of scientists, engaging them directly in the process, and providing mentoring opportunities (also invited as Scan participants).
- The Public – educating and informing by supplying high quality outputs to media outlets.
- Non-governmental environmental and advocacy groups – informing and educating.
Customized outputs/products for these audiences will be developed after the Retreat as additional funds become available.