Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation Home
Arctic Sciences
design element
Office of Polar Programs
ARC Home
CH2MHILL Polar Services
Toolik Field Station
ARCUS (Arctic Research Consortium of the United States)
View ARC Staff
Principles for the Conduct of Research in the Arctic

Logistics Report, 2003: Strategies and Recommendations for System-scale Studies in a Changing Environment

Toolik Field Station
Arctic GIS Report
Opportunities for collaboration between the United States and Norway in arctic reseach
The Future of an Arctic Resource: Recommnedations from the Barrow Workshop

Arctic Research Support and Logistics

Name Email Phone Room
Patrick Haggerty (703) 292-8577 755 S
divider line
Renee Crain (703) 292-8029 755 S
divider line

The Arctic Research Support and Logistics (RSL) Program supports the field component of research projects funded through science programs in the Division of Arctic Sciences of OPP and through other programs at NSF. The RSL program also supports proposals that have benefits for the arctic research community. Examples of current awards are for the Arctic Logistics Contractor, CH2MHILL Polar Services; base support of the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States; Toolik Field Station; procurement and maintenance of instrumentation on the USCGC Healy; and the development of a digital elevation model of the Kuparuk Watershed in northern Alaska.

Investigators should outline and justify field support in the context of their proposed work. We recommend briefly outlining the field plan and associated costs within the proposal and in the budget justification. Though costs should not be itemized in the budget spreadsheet, the primary means of accessing logistics support is by describing logistics needs in the proposal. Investigators are particularly encouraged to take advantage of the following support, which can be provided by logistics contractors funded by the Research Support and Logistics program:

  • increased access to transportation to and within the Arctic (ship time, helicopters, 4-wheelers, snow machines, small aircraft, etc.);
  • satellite-based global phone networks for increased safety;
  • trained field staff who are experienced in field and boat safety and first aid;
  • participation in offered safety courses;
  • increased interactions with local communities;
  • and improved equipment.
U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy

U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Healy breaking ice during the Shelf-Basin Interaction (SBI) cruise in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, 2002.

If a third party is providing support, e.g., CH2MHILL Polar Resources (see below), those costs do not need to be included in the proposal budget, although the description of the required support should be included. The manager from the program supporting the research, in consultation with the manager of the RSL program, will determine the level of support that can be provided by RSL. In some cases, OPP may determine that several unrelated proposals can derive significant cost benefits from a centrally managed resource, e.g., helicopter support from a central location. If so, NSF's Arctic Support Contractor (CH2MHILL Polar Services) or another entity will be responsible for coordinating the support with the principal investigators, consistent with the agreements between the investigators and their program managers. Work can also be proposed as a large coordinated activity, supported by the science team or a support contractor.

Toolik Field Station

Toolik Field Station on the North Slope of the Brooks Range in Alaska is the only Long-term Ecological Research Station in the tundra.

Investigators are encouraged to discuss their projects with the arctic contractors—CH2MHILL Polar Services or others (see below)—to get information on support options. CH2MHILL Polar Services provides proposal preparation assistance for work anywhere in the Arctic. The scope of field work should be outlined in the proposal so NSF and logistics providers can plan for support needs.

A helicopter waits for an April snow storm to pass at Toolik Field Station, Alaska.

A helicopter at Toolik Field Station, Alaska

Third Party Logistics Providers

  • CH2MHILL Polar Services ( manages support at many Arctic sites, including use of military airlift; support to and within Greenland; and support in Arctic Alaska other than in Barrow and at Toolik Field Station. CH2MHILL Polar Services will also provide information and/or coordination with logistics providers from other nations, for example, Canada's Polar Continental Shelf Program if needed.

  • Toolik Field Station(TFS; is operated by the Institute of Arctic Biology of the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Reservations are required to stay at the field camp, so please contact TFS directly for arrangements.

The RSL program welcomes feedback on the performance of Arctic Logistics providers, and general input about Arctic Logistics in support of research.

Information Security

The Division of Arctic Sciences is implementing an IT security and risk management program for NSF-provided IT infrastructure and services to the Arctic Sciences Program. To make the arctic research and support communities aware of these efforts to manage risks to our IT infrastructure, we are publishing an Arctic Sciences Program Information Security Newsletter. A link to the first issue is provided below.

Work in Greenland

Most science teams planning to conduct research in remote areas of Greenland must complete a remote travel permit application in order to obtain approval from the Government of Greenland.

“Remote travel” areas are defined by the Executive Order on Remote Travel that can be reviewed at the link below. All applications for expeditions in the area covered by the Executive Order should be submitted to:

The Department of Domestic Affairs Nature and Environment
P.O. Box 1614 3900
Nuuk, Greenland

Application forms can be downloaded from

Logistics Contacts

Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S. (ARCUS) - A searchable directory of arctic researchers, calendar of arctic meetings and events, the ArcticInfo listserv, downloadable publications, arctic science education opportunities and more can be found on ARCUS' web site at

Toolik Field Station - Make your reservation and plan your field season in close contact with the managers of TFS. The necessary forms and contacts are available on the TFS web site at

University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) - Scheduling and development of oceanographic vessels for 64 universities and research laboratories is coordinated by UNOLS on the web at

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) icebreakers - Complete a UNOLS ship request form on the UNOLS web site at to use this and other arctic research vessels.

CH2MHILL Polar Services - OPP's logistics contractor for the Arctic region. Contact CPS for all regions of the Arctic, all support needs, from proposal preparation through the field season.

Other Information Resources:

Alaska Native Knowledge Network (ANKN)
Alaska Native Science Commission (ANSC)
Arctic Research Consortium of the US (ARCUS)
Forum of Arctic Research Operators (FARO)

Summit Camp, central Greenland

Summit Camp, central Greenland, is used during the summer and some winters. (NSF photo by Peter West)

Last updated: 08 December 2011

Email this pagePrint this page

Back to Top of page