Supporting the Science Careers
There are over 200 people working in the areas of geological, biological, physical and environmental sciences — leaders in their field, conducting key research into environment and climate issues of global importance. But they would be the first to acknowledge that even their very survival, let alone their research, depends day-to-day on a whole range of support staff, such as engineers, logistics specialists, carpenters, electricians, boat handlers, diving officers, chefs and mountaineers. And people in these support roles rarely stay single-skilled for long; the environment and the operations stretch everybody’s talents and ingenuity.
Conducting research on the Antarctic is a real team effort. We employ a range of Research Scientists and Assistants who bring valuable field expertise to projects. People such as Zoological Field Assistants, Marine Biologists, Data Managers, Physicists and Meteorologists. It means you could be stationed out in the Antarctic for up to two years; it also means you could have the experience of a lifetime.
We run a busy service shipping people and supplies to and from our five stations in the South. We employ 100 Marine Personnel to support the shipping operations of our two Antarctic research vessels — RRS Ernest Shackleton and RRS James Clark Ross. The jobs include Able Seaman, Stewards, Chefs, Engineers (including Electrical Engineers) and Officers from Third to Master.
A dedicated, committed and expert team is needed to ensure the smooth running of our stations — to sort out mechanical hitches and to provide support in the field. These roles are likely to be based in Antarctica, for periods of between 4 and 32 months — although some time will be spent in Cambridge to get you up to speed with procedures, policies and life down South before you make the journey.
Roles include Carpenters, Electricians, Mechanical Services Technicians, Vehicle Operator / Mechanics, Plant Technicians, Steel Erectors as well as Chef Managers, Boat Handlers, Diving Officers, Communication Managers and Field Assistants. It’s probably the most diverse group of people within our organisation, offering a completely unique experience a world away from a typical job in the UK. Because it’s for a fixed term, people invariably join us to do a specific tour of duty — but then keep coming back for more.
Supporting a 400-strong team is a feat in itself; but supporting a team where some are stationed on the most hostile continent on the other side of the world takes extra special application and expertise. This team features staff who work in finance, personnel, purchasing and shipping, and operations. We’re responsible for recruiting and supporting the team across all sites, managing the supply of people and goods to Antarctica and back, as well as the general operational management of the organisation.
Some of the operations, logistics and administrative staff do get the opportunity to go and work in the Antarctic at least for short periods of time. This means that they gain a real empathy and understanding of some of the issues and challenges. Others, based entirely in Cambridge have no opportunity to go to the Antarctic but are still enthusiastic about work concerning this unique and interesting environment.