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The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Arctic Research Support and Logistics (RSL) Program supports the fieldwork of research projects funded through science programs in the Arctic Sciences Section. The RSL program may co-fund logistics for proposals funded elsewhere at NSF or at other agencies as a result of co-review and co-funding discussions involving the Arctic Sciences Section program officers. The RSL program was created to make Arctic fieldwork safer, more efficient, and more cost-effective. Battelle ARO is the prime logistics contractor for the RSL program. The NSF encourages researchers to make use of services provided through the RSL program by working with Battelle ARO. For more information on the RSL program visit the Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program (RSL) website.

Researchers submitting to the ARO solicitation (NSF 16-595) should review the solicitation, specifically the section entitled 'Proposals Involving Arctic Field Work' (under 'Proposal preparation Instructions'). NSF will consider the full cost of supporting a project, including logistics, prior to making recommendations. To access the ARO solicitation, search for document number 16-595 at

Researchers planning to include a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) estimate for logistics support from Battelle ARO in their proposals are asked to provide Battelle ARO with a detailed support request four weeks prior to the date the estimate is required. Early submissions are strongly encouraged. Researchers should submit field plans and support requirements to Battelle ARO Science Planning Manager Naomi Whitty. NSF asks that all researchers requesting a ROM estimate from Battelle ARO review the Proposal Checklist document. This document provides important information on the Arctic Research Support and Logistics (RSL) Program and conducing fieldwork in the Arctic.

In addition to the logistics support provided by Battelle ARO, RSL provides support via other third-party providers such as the Ice Drilling Program (IDP), Toolik Field Station (TFS) and UNAVCO. RSL engages these third-party providers through NSF subcontracts, grants, and cooperative agreements. In many cases using one of the third-party providers reduces the overall logistics costs to a proposal due to resource sharing and economies of scale. For the full list of third-party providers visit the Arctic Research Support and Logistics Program (RSL) website.

Important items to consider when submitting your proposal

When you submit a proposal to the NSF that includes field work, you must include a logistics description in the timeline/work plan section. If you plan to pay for field logistics through your grant you must also include the year-by-year costs in your budget and detail the costs in your budget justification.

If you would like assistance from a third-party provider, do not include these costs as a budget line item. Instead, identify your plans clearly and realistically in the logistics description, include statements in your budget justification signaling your intent to request third-party logistics provider support, and obtain a support letter and budget estimate from the provider to include as a supplementary document to your proposal. If your proposal is awarded, this rough order of magnitude estimate will form the basis of the approved logistics support scope. Researchers who request logistics support/funds beyond the scope of that identified in their funded proposal will be required to justify changes to their Program Officer before any additional support or funding is approved. For this reason, it’s important to clearly identify all anticipated support requirements at the proposal stage.

If you plan to use Battelle ARO as your logistics provider, we will work with you to develop a Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) estimate for inclusion in your proposal. Depending on the complexity of the proposed field work, it may take four weeks to develop an estimate. We reserve the right to turn down proposal assistance requests received after the four-week cutoff due to work-load constraints.