USAP Updated Science Planning Process - Phase 2
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Logistics Assessment Phase

Phase 2 begins with an NSF Office of Polar Programs Section for Antarctic Sciences (ANT) request for a logistical assessment of science proposals and completes with the supportability determination. This phase is the same for every proposal and happens every year between November and mid-January.

USAP Science Planners evaluate proposal logistical needs against available resources according to the appropriate logistics support level - details are provided below. A final supportability determination is made mid-December.

Based on merit review and ability to logistically support the proposal, the proposal will either move onto Phase 3 or be returned to the ANT Program Officer for final determination of the proposal status. The ANT Program Officer will keep the proposal PI informed of the proposal status through this process. For proposals moving onto Phase 3, the Program Officer will also alert the PI to the assigned supportability level and approximate deployment date.

Time to earliest possible deployment ranges from 16-28 months from proposal submission, depending on the support level assigned. NSF assigns one of six support levels to each proposal during Phase 2 based on the logistics support required. Planning timelines for each level are described in Phase 3 Planning.

  • Logistics Support Level 1: Proposals with no fieldwork are assigned a logistics support level 1 and returned to ANT as not assessed.
  • Logistics Support Level 2: Proposals with fieldwork that can easily be accommodated are assigned logistics support level 2. These proposals do not require heavy airlift on continent or South Pole deployments
  • Logistics Support Level 3: Proposals with fieldwork that can be accommodated with available resources are assigned logistics support level 3. These proposals may include support provided by other national programs and/or require a maximum of five persons at the South Pole at any one time per year.
  • Logistics Support Level 4: Proposals with fieldwork that require extensive support such as new locations, traverse support, a research vessel-based helicopter, or modification of existing infrastructure are assigned logistics support level 4. These proposals may also require a timescale of total support exceeding a single grant, or the proposal requires an Incidental Harassment Authorization (IHA) from NOAA.
  • Logistics Support Level 5: Proposals that require new infrastructure, a new platform, or recapitalization of existing infrastructure are assigned logistics support level 5. All NSF Mid-Scale Research Infrastructure-2 (MSRI-2) and NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) proposals are automatically assigned logistics support level 5.
  • Logistics Support Level 6: Level 6 science proposals meet the requirements of Major Research Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) and must follow the requirements found in the NSF Research Infrastructure Guide. An SLP is also required prior to completing the Operational Notice. PIs with possible MREFC proposals must contact the appropriate Antarctic Sciences Program Officer to discuss steps and possible timelines.

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