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Contestable funding recipients announced

23 October 2019

One hundred thousand dollars has been awarded to six new Antarctic science projects. The grants have been funded by the Antarctic Science Platform, and are for early career researchers and the interpretation of existing data.

Six applicants from the University of Canterbury, University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington and Bodeker Scientific were successful in gaining funding grants between 10 and 20 thousand dollars each.

Antarctic Science Platform Director Nancy Bertler says she’s pleased to be able to support some outstanding early career researchers and the interpretation of important legacy data.

“There isn’t a huge amount of this type funding available to the Antarctic science community, so it’s great to give these important research projects this support.

“The projects fundamentally contribute to our mandate to understand Antarctica’s impact on the global earth system, and how this might change in a +2°C (Paris agreement) world,” she says.

Successful candidate Dr Helena Sodergren says this funding means a lot to her.

“This is a kick start for my research following the completion of my PhD, I’m so pleased to be able to build on my PhD project and continue this important work.

“It will allow me to further understand the underlying causes of rapid warming in the polar regions which influences the climate of the whole globe,” she says.

The successful applicants and projects are:

  • Dr. Greg Bodeker from Bodeker Scientific has been awarded $15,000 to update and expand on an earlier set of metrics describing the state of the ozone layer over Antarctica to support international policy and to allow modellers to validate their models of Antarctic climate change.
  • PhD Candidate Gemma Brett from the University of Canterbury has been awarded $15,000 and will use satellite images to identify regions where ice shelf meltwater outflows and affects sea ice thickness in McMurdo Sound.
  • Dr. Kyle Clem from Victoria University of Wellington has been awarded $10,000 to learn how to examine how the wind patterns around West Antarctica bring warm water underneath the ice shelves causing accelerated ice loss.
  • Prof. David Prior from the University of Otago has been awarded $20,000 to map the ice crystal microstructure of samples that have been collected from the shear margins of the Whillans ice stream to better understand ice sheet behaviour.
  • Dr. Helena Sodergren from the University of Canterbury has been awarded $20,000 and will use satellite data and climate model output to look at how surface warming over Antarctica could cause Polar Amplification that leads to stronger warming in the polar region compared to global averages.
  • PhD Candidate Abhijith Ulayottil Venugopal from Victoria University of Wellington has been awarded $20,000 to analyse the precise phasing of warming between Greenland and Antarctica using data from the well dated RICE ice core.


For more information about each project, or to talk to a recipient please contact

Antarctica New Zealand Communications Advisor

Georgia Nelson