Scientific proposals


Polarstern and Heincke

The operators of the large and medium-sized German research vessels have jointly established a procedure which offers the opportunity to exchange the applications for ship time for individual ships. This procedure provides a comparable standard as to the reviews for all ships and thus helps optimizing operation.

Proposals for POLARSTERN and HEINCKE may only be submitted to Portal deutsche Forschungsschiffe  ( Here, you will also find all necessary information on how to write the proposal.

AWI-internal main-user and secondary-user applications for both vessels have to be related very closely to the POV IV programme (exception: Third party funded projects). Therefore, it is necessary to consult the scientific coordinator ( and the AWI Board of Directors well before submitting an application.

Twice a year, you may submit proposals for all medium and large-scale research vessels: End of February and end of August each year.

For HEINCKE – season 2023:

Submission deadlines: August 31, 2022 and February 28, 2023 - in each case until 10:00 am at the latest

For POLARSTERN (main use):

Submission deadline: February 28., 2023 - until 10:00 am at the latest

TRANSIT:   from 2024 (South to North) and later (only applications without significant additional need for shiptime)

ARKTICA and ANTARKTICA: The mid-term planning for expeditions into the polar regions until March 2025 is completed. Currently, no further main-user applications can be accepted for these areas.

For POLARSTERN (secondary-use):

Currently the submission deadlines are the same as for medium-sized ships - end of August and end of February each year with a lead-time of approx. 1.5 years. Applications are currently possible for transit (south - north) at March 2024.

Please also keep informed about:

If you have any questions, please contact:

Marine Stations Helgoland and Sylt

Marine Stations Helgoland and Sylt

The AWI operates marine stations on the islands of Helgoland and Sylt and makes them available to the international scientific community. National and international users can access the marine biological stations.

Register here as user:

Individual guest research

University Courses

What happens to my request / proposal?

After registration or login to the portal and, if applicable, submission of an application for the use of the marine stations Helgoland and Sylt, including the associated infrastructures (Uthörn, Aade, Mya II, mesocosms, long-term data series, scientific diving, laboratories, material shipping, etc.), an assessment of technical and logistical feasibility is carried out.

Applications with a minimum of five user days or the equivalent of €5,000 per day will be reviewed externally; applications below this threshold will be included in the station seasonal schedule for direct use.

If you have any questions, please contact

Smaller vessels

Expeditions with the smaller vessels of the Alfred Wegener Institute require shorter periods of planning. We do, though, recommend to submit proposals in due time. Proposals for Uthörn, Mya II and Aade are sent directly to the contact persons.

Polar aircraft

Research in polar regions requires special equipment and logistics because the access to the research areas is very difficult due to extreme environmental conditions. The use of research aircraft is an important link between ground based and satellite investigations. Moreover, the aircraft are integrated into the international logistics co-operation DROMLAN (Dronning Maud Land Aircraft Network).

If you wish to use the polar aircraft for your research projects you have to send project applications to the scientific co-ordinator Daniel Steinhage in due time. In case that you bring your own scientific instruments you must add respective information and certificates to the application.

The planing phase for the polar aircraft comprises 2 years. Due to the required time for preparing the aircraft and primary use the planning phase begins in October and ends in September the following year. Project proposals are due on 30.11. for the period beginning October the year after next.

Ongoing: Deadline 30.11.2023 for projects for the period October 2025 until September 2026.

A summary on the application process can be downloaded here.

Distribution of costs

Generally, all users have to cover their travel costs for themselves and for the participants they dispatch on the expedition. External, non-university partner will be charged in addition further costs, such as flight hours and for example:

  • expenses for required certification
  • transport of freight belonging to the project
  • kerosene

The costs are calculated for each project individually. In case of shared projects the costs will be shared according to the respective share.

The decision about the amount of costs to be covered by the respective party is made by AWI based on the specifications given in the proposal. For joint porjects the contribution of each partner has to be given in the project application, and if necessary explained.

If you have any question please contact us: Coordination Polar Aircraft

Neumayer III Station, Kohnen station and Antarctic land expeditons

At the Neumayer Station III the AWI is performing a long-term research program comprising observations in the fields of meteorology, atmospheric chemistry and geophysics. During the polar summer from December until February Neumayer Station III, in combination with the plateau station „Kohnen“, is used as logistical base for flight operations all over Antarctica as well as field campaigns on the continental ice sheet.

The logistic requirements of such expeditions differ with regard to large-scale or short-term projects:

  • Short-term projects: are performed in January/February of the coming season (freight is being transported on board Polarstern), or in November/December (freight is completely being transported by aircraft).
  • Large-scale projects: long-time and/or early starting campaigns (November until February). In this case, freight can only be transported into Antarctica on board Polarstern. This means that transport hast o be effeccted in the previous season.

Information for expedition participants here.

If you have any questions, please contact .