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The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme

We are proud to work with our partners at British Antarctic Survey, BAM Nuttall, Ramboll, Hugh Broughton Architects, Norr Architecture and Turner & Townsend as we help to transform polar science through innovative engineering in one of the most remote parts of the planet.


The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) is transforming how British Antarctic Survey (BAS) enables and supports frontier science. Commissioned by UKRI/NERC (UK Research and Innovation/National Environment Research Council), the multi-year investment aims to modernise research facilities in the Polar Regions to ensure the UK remains at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research in Antarctica.

Supporting world-changing polar science

Sweco has been transforming how people live, work and travel for over 130 years. In the Antarctic, we are undertaking some of our most critical work to date as we underpin polar science with innovative planning and design.

The AIMP partnership showcases how, even in the most extreme circumstances, commitment to genuine collaborative partnerships can deliver optimal performance in project delivery to unlock transformational difference-making. Sweco’s role in supporting frontier science includes marine design, building design, architecture, carbon management and sustainability goals, strategy development, environmental engineering, geotechnical, cold climate design, fire, digital delivery, collaborative work planning and construction planning support.

We’re exceptionally proud to be continuing our work in Antarctica and applying our expertise in cold climate construction to support this critical project. The progress highlights the strength of our partnership and our combined skillsets have enabled the creation of a true polar centre of excellence.

Max Joy President of Sweco UK & Ireland

Lifecycle projects supported at Bird Island, Rothera, Signy & King Edward Point


key projects across different locations in the South Pole

MILESTONE: Exterior complete for new Antarctic science and operations facility

A new scientific and operational support facility at Rothera Research Station for British Antarctic Survey has been made weathertight, with the cladding complete and an operations tower installed. British Antarctic Survey’s Construction Partner, BAM, have now completed four years of challenging construction on the Discovery Building. They are supported on site by Technical Advisor, Ramboll, and Designer, Sweco.

Project focus: Rothera Modernisation

In January 2017, BAM Nuttall appointed Sweco as designers to support the British Antarctic Survey’s £100M Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP).

Within the AIMP, facilities at Rothera are being substantially modernised, including the construction of a new Operations Building and the upgrade of existing buildings and infrastructure. The Rothera Modernisation project is ongoing, and Sweco’s Carbon & Sustainability Team continue to implement the PAS 2080 methodology, including monitoring whole life carbon emissions and encouraging a multi-disciplinary focus on carbon reduction throughout project development.

Transforming frontier science through a world-leading partnership

The seven-year AIMP framework will see a number of projects carried out in Antarctica, to support global climate change scientists.

The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme is set to transform how our clients, British Antarctic Survey, enable and supports frontier science. Commissioned by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), this long-term programme will enable a world-leading capability to ensure that Britain remains at the forefront of climate, biodiversity and ocean research in the Polar Regions.

Together with the commissioning of the RRS Sir David Attenborough, this programme represents the largest Government investment in polar science infrastructure since the 1980s.


Working fast as well as smart in -30 degree conditions with a limited window for work


months of ‘constructions season’ each year in which to complete critical works

Ice cap recap: Rothera Wharf final construction season

One word from some of the AIMP difference-makers in the South Pole? ‘Amazing’, ‘Mesmerising’, ‘Savage’, ‘Brutal, ‘Awesome’. Take a look back at how Rothera Wharf came to life in its final construction season.

Extreme engineering

Five hours by plane from the nearest town, in temperatures that barely peak above freezing during the summer and contending with some remarkable challenges – welcome to the world’s most extreme construction site.

COP26: Inspiring climate action

STEM: Polar net zero at COP26

We were delighted to join our partners in the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme in sponsoring and participating in Polar Net Zero, an interactive event held during COP26. The event was designed to challenge a live audience of young schoolchildren, as well as children from across the globe attending the session by livestream, to think about the role they can play in creating a low carbon future.

A team of teams – building relationships that build the future

How do we foster and nurture a long-lasting partnership that underpins future-shaping work in the Antractic?

Team-building is a critical part of successful partnership across the AIMP. Each year, Sweco Special Interest Projects experts join our colleagues from different parts of the programme to take on unique challenges that bring together many of the skills required to work as one when it counts the most.

Sweco’s Andy King, Connor Rennie, Bernhard Becker and Sarah Capperauld put their teamwork skills – and hiking boot soles – to the test last this year as they joined British Antarctic Survey, BAM and Ramboll colleagues for an Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP) expedition through Glen Affric.

Keeping polar science going – journey to the bottom of the earth


kilometre voyage by ship for AIMP teams to reach Antarctica

Stewart Craigie visits the South Pole

Stewart Craigie, Sweco’s Special Interest Projects & Advisory team manager, recently returned from a six-week expedition to Antarctica as part of his work within the Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP).

Stewart’s tour of the region took in Rothera (where a new Discovery Building is being constructed), Robert Island, Signy, King Edward Point and Bird Island, where Stewart inspected works already completed and in progress while also undertaking research into future projects such as the Rothera Hangar, runway extension and renewables, a potential decarbonised station at Signy and future modernisation at King Edward Point. Read more about Stewart’s endeavours below…

RRS Sir David Attenborough

RRS Sir David Attenborough – Video Tour

RRS Sir David Attenborough is one of the most advanced polar research vessels in the world. Enjoy a special video tour of this amazing state-of-the-art ship filmed during #IceWorldsGreenwich festival of science and engineering in London (Oct 2021).

The Antarctic Infrastructure Modernisation Programme (AIMP): Full lifecycle Information Management in action

Sweco acts as lead design consultants for all aspects of building and infrastructure design packages in the AIMP partnership.

AIMP, by its very nature, demands accessible, measurable and reliable Information Management (IM) at every juncture. It is imperative that we facilitate the collection of accurate and structured project information data, deliver it to the right people at the right time – enabling confident decision-making by all project stakeholders in one of the most challenging project locations on earth.

Megha Nagendra Wells, Information Management Technical Director within Sweco’s Special Interest Projects team, explains how our work in the Antarctic is a model for end-to-end IM as a service.