Korea Konversations with Kim Ellis – EVENT WRAP UP

On Monday 27 September, the AKBC hosted the 9th episode of Korea Konversations with Kim Ellis, Director, Australian Antarctic Division. Here are the key take aways:

  • Antarctica is the fifth largest continent in the world – even larger than Australia.
  • It is the “world’s air conditioner” and its scientific analysis is extremely important as small changes on Antarctica can have massive impacts for the world.
  • It is an international place where the focus is on working together. There are 70 permanent research stations located in Antarctica, representing 29 countries. Their occupation and activities are governed by the Antarctic Treaty system and Madrid Protocol.
  • Australia has a strong commitment to this treaty system, operating 4 permanent research stations in Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic. Our Summer expeditions include 500 expeditioners, 4 sea voyages, 26 flights and 3 million tonnes of fuel. Everything we need must be taken into camp, and then taken out.
  • In 2016, the Australian Government launched a whole-of-Government Australian Antarctic Strategy and 20 Year Action Plan, which sets out Australia’s national Antarctic interests and our vision for Australia’s future engagement in Antarctica.
  • To build our role as a leader in Antarctica, the strategy was backed by a $2.2 billion funding package, which included:
    • $1.9 billion to construct the new icebreaker, RSV Nuyina – “the most powerful vessel in the Southern Ocean” – which will provide a significant new capability to the Antarctic Program, as a science research platform and resupply vessel.
    • Funding to re-establish Australia’s overland traverse capability including a campaign to search and drill for a million year ice core.
    • Establishing on-going Department of Defence support to the Australian Antarctic Program.
  • This funding strategy was a major coup for our scientific endeavours in Antarctica, making Tasmania the “Antarctic gateway” and one of the world’s “most significant polar gateways”.
  • The strategy also promotes the development of new partnerships with Australian organisations as well as international collaboration.
  • Australia’s research is based on three key themes – environment and human impacts, that is, how is our presence in Antarctica affecting it; Southern oceans, focused on fisheries, stock controls and sustainability; and climate and ice.
  • Our research is done in conjunction with other nations, including South Korea. Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) is the lead agency for Korea’s national program in the Antarctic.
  • We have a long relationship with Korea in Antarctica both technically and on the ground. It is a “strong and enduring relationship.”
  • A key takeaway from working with Koreans is that we “share the same interests – that is, contributing to science that benefits us all.”
  • Our relationship with the Korean science community in Antarctica is based on personal connections – Korean researchers have visited Australian stations and we have visited theirs – and we are always working together to get the best outcome for everyone.
  • Jang Bogo is the Korean station in Antarctica and built by Hyundai. The station sets the aspirational standards for global expeditions. They are at the forefront of technology across waste, energy, environmental safety and design and the Australian Antarctic Division welcomes further collaboration with Korean researchers.
  • The Australian Antarctic Division has recently created a separate entity within itself to specifically focus on innovation and technology. It is in the process of developing unmanned vehicles to undertake research and deliver supplies to remote locations as well as unmanned data collection and transmission.
  • Its hope is to leverage these autonomous technologies to collect, manage, share and interrogate data, “which is the future of scientific research in the region.”


Please see here for a copy of the slides please click here.

Please click below to vie the Korea Konversations with Kim Ellis.

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Australia Korea Business Council
PO Box 24430
Melbourne, Vic 3001 Australia
Liz Griffin – Executive Director

The Australia-Korea Business Council is the leading national body committed to strengthening the Australia-Korea economic relationship.