The Data, Products and Society (DPS) Node of the South African Polar Research Infrastructure (SAPRI) is planned to bring together the SAPRI Data Centre, the various types of generated data and downstream products, including modelling and the societal outreach program.
DPS is built on a phased integrating approach. The Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) contributed to creating a community ethos, via the creation and administration of the ALSA and South African National Antarctic Programme (SANAP) websites as well as updates on the different social media platforms. The potential for this initiative to become a reference for the South African “polar society” at large is enormous, and it is at the core of the DPS facility. Building on the ALSA experience, and through a complete integration of ALSA within SAPRI, it will bring the infrastructure closer to research/training institutions and stakeholders that have historically been less involved with polar science.
The appointment of the DPS Node Coordinator (Manager), Dr Anne Treasure, and the Digital Marketing and Communications Manager, Anche Louw, were approved by the DPS User Fora and the SAPRI interim advisory committee in March 2022 to ensure the integration of ALSA in phases and to establish data management within SAPRI. The committee and User Fora approved that the DPS node will be hosted at Stellenbosch University and the node was established in November 2022.
Dr Anne Treasure has been part of ALSA for the past 5 years as a collaborator, with a focus on data management, and is currently fulfilling the role of SA representative on the Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management (SCADM) at the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) as well as on the SA National Committee for SCAR. Dr Anne Treasure was on the SAPRI proposal writing committee, and was responsible for compiling the data management, and the data infrastructure and system requirements that will be implemented within SAPRI. She will have a huge impact on implementing the data management component of SAPRI. The DPS Coordinator is to bring this Infrastructure together with its different components to support the community of SAPRI and all its stakeholders, including all governance structures such as the SAPRI management team, the advisory committee, and the User Fora, as well as the SANAP community, which includes overwintering team members (past and present), scientists and researchers, vessel crew, maintenance crew and take-over personnel. The coordinator will ensure to make the data centre, products, and society available to all stakeholders and a large component will be to inform national and international communities about the work done by South Africa in the polar environment. Anne has overwintered on Marion Island as part of Marion 65 (ALSA Archive) and has participated in many Marion take-overs and other visits to the island. She has also spent time on Prince Edward Island, and has participated in many oceanographic research cruises, including ice experience.
Anche Louw has been part of ALSA for the past 9 years, first on part-time basis and later as Communicator, Assistant Project Manager and Co-Investigator. Anche specialises in digital marketing and has built a huge social media presence for ALSA and SANAP. She is a SA representative on the Standing Committee on Humanities and Social Sciences (SCHASS) at SCAR and on the SA National Committee for SCAR. She is a member of the action group for Public Engagement with Antarctic Research (PEAR) at SCAR and was nominated for the SCAR medal on outreach and awareness in 2022. Her current position at ALSA will now be carried on within SAPRI as part of the integration of ALSA in phases. Her role as the Digital Marketing and Communications (DMC) Manager is to maintain the relevant websites related to SAPRI, SANAP and ALSA. A huge role is keeping track of digital marketing trends and to ensure that SAPRI and its stakeholders have a social media presence on a daily basis, on a national and international level. The DMC Manager is to bring the awareness and outreach together with its different components to support the community of the South African Polar Research Infrastructure and all its stakeholders, as well as the SANAP community, which includes overwintering team members (past and present), scientists and researchers, vessel crew, maintenance crew and take-over personnel. Anche has overwintered on Marion Island as part of Marion 70, participated in take-overs to Marion Island and has visited SANAE IV during the 2019 take-over. Anche has represented SA at various international conferences and has visited four of the five Gateway Cities to Antarctica (Punta Arenas, Chile; Ushuaia, Argentina; Cape Town, South Africa and Hobart, Australia).
The DPS Manager, DMC Manager, together with ALSA need to manage a space that makes the community feel it is their own, and to showcase the work done by all those in the community. The DPS node has a cross-cutting role and the DMC Manager needs to engage with the other SAPRI components to transform the perception of the polar environment in society. The DPS node will play a major role in transforming, consolidating, and strengthening polar sciences.
SAPRI proposal has been approved by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) as part of the South African Roadmap Infrastructure (SARIR) in 2021. As Principal investigator of the Antarctic Legacy of South Africa (ALSA) Project I have been involved since the start of the SAPRI proposal. SAPRI is also based on the Antarctic and Southern Ocean plan (2014) and the Marine and Antarctic Strategy (2016).
Ria Olivier, Antarctic Legacy of South Africa, 17 January 2023