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Antarctic research facility to be upgraded in £100M partnership

A £100M deal has been struck to upgrade the Rothera Research Station the British Antarctic Survey has announced.

The facility, which lies on Adelaide Island, is a centre for biological research and a hub for supporting deep-field and air operations. This new investment will ensure British scientists remain at the forefront of polar-based innovation and research, gaining insight into the impact climate change is having on the world.

From 2019, Rothera will become home to the RRS Sir David Attenborough, one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world. At approximately 128m long and 24m wide the new ship will be capable of spending 60 days at sea without resupply, and have a range of over 35,000 km. It will provide a multi-disciplinary research platform to support a wide range of science and has been designed to be very quiet for environmental monitoring.

Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said: “Key to the long-term success of science and innovation in the UK is ensuring our world-class research sector has the tools it needs to thrive on a global stage.

“The government’s £200M investment on specialist research ships including RRS Sir David Attenborough underlines our commitment to this burgeoning sector and our upcoming industrial strategy will go even further, placing science and innovation at its absolute core.”

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) commissioned the partnership and their CEO Professor Duncan Wingham said: “The Polar Regions, although geographically remote, are of equal importance in our drive to understand how the Earth is changing. NERC science in Antarctica plays an important role in meeting this challenge.

“Working with BAM and design partner Sweco, on this long term approach to modernising our infrastructure in the Antarctic, we will jointly foster and further build the UK’s high level of expertise, experience and good practices for working in challenging design and construction environments.”

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