News of the WeekNSF Antarctic Logistics

A Hot Competition for a Cold Contract

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Science  03 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5936, pp. 20
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_20a

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This fall, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will award a contract worth nearly $2 billion to provide logistical support for its $300-million-a-year Antarctic research program. A half-dozen companies are bidding for the 12-year contract, the biggest award made by the $6.5-billion-a-year federal agency. Such competitions are typically very low-key, partly because the work isn't sexy and partly because the rules governing such competitions don't allow for much boasting. But one bidder has taken a high-profile approach: running ads in cars and stations in the Washington, D.C., Metro system and on this magazine's Web site.