South African research in the Southern Ocean: New opportunities but serious challenges
Keywords:Southern Ocean, research, NRF, DST, SANAP
South Africa has a long track record in Southern Ocean and Antarctic research and has recently invested considerable funds in acquiring new infrastructure for ongoing support of this research. This infrastructure includes a new base at Marion Island and a purpose-built ice capable research vessel, which greatly expand research opportunities. Despite this investment, South Africa’s standing as a participant in this critical field is threatened by confusion, lack of funding, lack of consultation and lack of transparency. The research endeavour is presently bedevilled by political manoeuvring among groups with divergent interests that too often have little to do with science, while past and present contributors of research are excluded from discussions that aim to formulate research strategy. This state of affairs is detrimental to the country’s aims of developing a leadership role in climate change and Antarctic research and squanders both financial and human capital.
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