2019 NF-POGO-BAS Shipboard Training Fellowship onboard POETS-WCB cruise

General Information

14 Oct 2019 to 17 Jan 2020

(final cruise dates to be confirmed, with possible fluctuation of 1-2 weeks at start/end)

Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean (POGO) announces a special Fellowship for on-board training on an oceanographic cruise in partnership with the Nippon Foundation and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). One berth has been reserved on one of next season’s national capability cruises (operating between October 2019 and June 2020) for the selected candidate. The programme is designed to promote training and capacity building leading towards a global observation scheme for the oceans.

National Capability Cruise Opportunities

Polar Ocean Ecosystem Time Series – Western Core Box (POETS-WCB)

The POETS-WCB cruise (https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/poets-wcb/) commenced in 1996. It’s main deliverable is a consistent unique time-series of mesoscale distribution and abundance of macro-zooplankton and micronekton, and an understanding of the physical environment they are within at South Georgia, South Atlantic. These data are used to inform on the long term variability of Antarctic krill biomass at South Georgia and the influences from climate variability, fishing pressure and predation.

BAS also maintains moorings both on the South Georgia shelf and in the open ocean region of the Scotia Sea. The open ocean sustained observations in the area are carried out as part of the SCOOBIES (SCotia sea Open-Ocean BIological laboratoriES) programme, with a primary purpose to consider the flux of carbon to deep ocean layers as well as monitoring ocean chemistry parameters, particular in relation to ocean acidification. This moored instrumentation complements the WCB surveys by providing year round temporal sampling of environmental conditions and acoustic backscatter.

The cruise consists of acoustics surveys, CTDs, a variety of zooplankton nets (bongo, MOCNESS (Multiple Opening and Closing Net and Environmental Sampling System), RMT8 and 25 (Rectangular Midwater Trawl), underway logged data and mooring refurbishment and redeployment.

The programme receives funding through NERC’s British Antarctic Survey Antarctic Logistic Infrastructure and NERC national capability programmes. The POETS-WCB requests berths for up to 30 personnel for 19 days ship science time between 1st December and 31st January annually, not including transit.  This includes technical support and data management. All sample collection has to be permitted. Cruise duration and exact cruise track is dependent on whether the cruise is on its own or part of a larger science cruise or logistic component.

Priority areas

One fellowship is being offered, and the successful candidate will focus on the area of work specified below, in which he or she should have a particular scientific interest:

Lead PI: Dr Sophie Fielding (sof@bas.ac.uk)

Cruise: POETS-WCB (Currently scheduled to take place from 15 November to 22 December 2019, but subject to final confirmation)

Research area: Influence of Antarctic krill shape and size on acoustic estimates (to include fisheries acoustics and zooplankton sampling experience)

This topic aligns with the research interests of the Principle Investigators from BAS, who will be the supervisor(s) of the Fellow during the training period.

What is offered

The selected candidate will have the opportunity to:

  1. visit the British Antarctic Survey in the UK, for one month prior to the start of the cruise to participate in cruise preparation and planning;
  2. to go on the cruise (dates will be advertised related to oceanographic experience) and help make hydrological, bio-optical and/or ecological observations;
  3. and after the cruise to spend approximately one additional month at BAS, learning to analyse the results statistically and interpret them.

Total period of Fellowship: ~3 months, including cruise. Candidates should be available to participate for the full period, and should allow for flexibility of up to two weeks either side, as cruise dates are subject to final confirmation at time of announcement.

Documents available to download:

NF-POGO-BAS POETS-WCB Fellowship Announcement 2019

NF-POGO-BAS POETS-WCB Fellowship Poster


Who can apply

This fellowship program is open to early career scientists, technicians, postgraduate students (PhD or MSc) and Post-doctoral Fellows involved in oceanographic work at centres in developing countries and countries with economies in transition.

For a list of currently eligible countries, visit this page on the OECD website.

Applicants will need to be physically capable and medically fit to work in Antarctic conditions and pass the BAS medical.

How to apply

The applicant needs to e-mail the PI listed above with a short CV and a statement of interest outlining their current research and what they hope to gain from the training. They may also be encouraged to submit a project outline to the prospective supervisor. Although the area of work is well defined, there may be some flexibility in the project definition, which can be negotiated by e-mail between the applicant and the supervisor prior to submitting the application. Based on the information submitted by the applicant, the PI will decide if their profile is suitable for the project, and if so will issue an acceptance letter.

Important note: the prospective supervisor should be contacted as soon as possible, and no later than Friday 28 June 2019, to allow sufficient time for the supervisor to consider the application before the submission deadline.

Only when the acceptance letter has been obtained from the prospective host supervisor can the application be submitted.

Fellowship applicants should complete and submit the electronic application form (click on the APPLY HERE link at bottom of this section) together with a recommendation letter from the parent supervisor and a letter of acceptance from the prospective host supervisor. Additionally, the parent supervisor recommendation letter needs to be submitted as a hard copy.

Please note that the application form includes sections on the applicant's background and training requirements, capacity building intentions, a summary CV, and a fellowship proposal. In case of unstable internet connections, we recommend preparing this text in an offline document, then copy-pasting into the online form.

If short-listed, the candidate may be asked to undergo an informal telephone/video conferencing interview.

Applications and recommendation letters should be written in English and submitted in pdf format. It is recommended that descriptive sections be limited to about 100 - 150 words. Please use font sizes of 10 pt or larger. Only applications that are complete in all respects will be considered for the Fellowship.


Please mail signed original parent supervisor recommendation letter to: 

POGO Secretariat

Plymouth Marine Laboratory

Prospect Place, The Hoe


Devon PL1 3DH

United Kingdom


Deadline: The deadline for applications for the 2019 fellowship is Monday 8 July 2019. All applicants will be informed of the decision within two months of the deadline.

Review process

Representatives from POGO and BAS will review the applications. In their decision-making, the Selection Committee will consider the following points:

  1. Quality of the application;
  2. Curriculum of the applicant;
  3. Evidence that the training will lead to capacity-building with potential lasting impact on regional observations.


  1. The fellowship will provide the costs of a round-trip ticket between the home institute of the trainee and Cambridge; subsistence allowance for up to two months’ stay in the UK depending on the particulars of the proposed training (at a rate between 1,260 EUR and 1,480 EUR per month, depending on the cost of accommodation, normally for one month before the cruise and one month after the cruise); a return flight to the Falkland Islands/Chile to join the ship; accommodation in the Falkland Islands/Chile (on joining/leaving ship); ship messing fee; seafaring medical and sea survival course.
  2. The trainee’s institute will bear all expenses incurred by the fellow in his/her own nation (domestic travel, visa costs, personal insurance etc.), and the host institute (BAS) will waive any bench fees that they may normally charge trainees.
  3. POGO assumes no responsibility for compensation in the event of sickness, accident, death or disability of a Fellowship holder, nor does it arrange for insurance of a trainee or reimburse premiums paid therefore. It is the responsibility of the trainee to arrange travel insurance to cover the time taken to travel to the ship and for the subsequent return home, as well as to ensure suitable insurance cover is provided by the parent institute for the duration of the cruise.
  4. The trainees are not considered agents or members of the staff of POGO, and shall not be entitled to any privileges, immunities, compensation or reimbursements, except as otherwise provided herein, nor are the trainees authorised to commit POGO to any expenditure or other obligation.
  5. The trainee and the supervisors at the parent and host institutes are required to provide a short progress report at the end of the training period, to evaluate the success of the fellowship programme.