Through this contract, Battelle will enable researchers to efficiently, effectively, and safely conduct research in the Arctic - a region critically important to the global research community. The research is intended to advance a fundamental, process and systems-level understanding of the Arctic's rapidly changing natural environment and social and cultural systems in addition to the region's connectivity with lower latitudes.
But, conducting research in the Arctic has significant challenges. The remote locations, harsh weather conditions, difficult terrain require a contractor that can bring cost-effective field support and risk management to enable research.
The programme allows for multiple research studies to benefit from experienced research support staff to provide planning, common processes and shared resources. For example, research teams will benefit from access to established laboratory facilities, equipment and sample storage, lodging, research vessels, local guides, remote communication equipment, and snowmobiles and other vehicles. At the same time, the unique attributes of each location and project type will be considered so each study can achieve its particular goals.
"For decades, Battelle has effectively managed national laboratories for the Department of Energy. Four years ago, Battelle was awarded the management of the NEON program by the NSF, successfully turning around the programme and making it a key asset for enabling science in the ecological community", stated Mike Janus, General Manager of the Environment & Infrastructure business unit. "We'll apply that same rigor to the Arctic programme."
Battelle has assembled a highly skilled team, including three subcontractors with roles on the previous contract. Polar Field Services will provide logistics, operations, facilities and other support. Ukpeaġvik Iñupiat Corporation Science, an Alaska Native village corporation, is uniquely qualified to provide operational support on the North Slope of Alaska, support local hiring, and assist researchers in working effectively with North Slope communities. The University of Colorado School of Medicine will provide medical risk management and telemedicine support to researchers and staff working in the field.
The Battelle team also includes the expertise of specialty performers. Stantec will apply its Arctic architectural and engineering experience to design and construct needed facilities. The San Diego Supercomputer Center will apply its advanced computation and data integration expertise to support the development of an operations and data gateway that captures information needed by the researchers, the NSF, and stakeholders.