New Zealand and Korea are poised to start a new collaborative research effort in the Antarctic following plans for a $90 million state-of-the-art station being built on the frozen continent at Terra Nova Bay.
The Jang Bogo Antarctic Research Station being constructed by South Korea over the next two years will benefit New Zealand's research in the area, says University of Canterbury's Gateway Antarctica Director Professor Bryan Storey.
Professor Storey, who has been awarded a key role in the collaboration as the Focal Point Coordinator for Antarctic Research Joint with Korea, has received $174,000 funding from the New Zealand Government for the three-year project.
"My role will be to identify common research links between the New Zealand and Korean Antarctic programmes. The funding is to organise Korean researchers to come to New Zealand for workshops and vice versa, to discuss common interests and develop joint research programmes," he says.
Professor Storey says that Korea has increased its Antarctic expenditure from US$10 million to US$60 million over the past five years.
"Korea is aiming to become a very significant Antarctic research nation. They are not only building a new station using advanced renewable energy technology, in addition to the one they have had since 1988, but they have also built a new ice-breaker ship worth US$1 billion," he says.
"Korea wants to partner with a country with a long background of Antarctic research that knows the area and what issues can arise. New Zealand has a lot of experience in Antarctic research so in some sense we are providing the experience while they heavily invest in resources."
Professor Storey says the partnership will open up a new geographical area in which to work, new directions for New Zealand research and assist marine research.
"Marine research in the Southern Ocean will be enhanced because New Zealand doesn't have an ice-breaker and you really need a ship like that to do that sort of research. So to work collaboratively with a country that's prepared to invest so heavily in a new ice-breaker and station is a great opportunity," he says.
"It's really important for New Zealand to establish these links with an emerging Antarctic nation like Korea. Antarctic science is very much an international currency so partnering with nations that are bringing logistical resources through our country, and staging through Lyttelton, is great for our researchers."
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