Organization of the NEEM project

The NEEM project was both a logistic undertaking and, still is, a scientific collaboration. The logistic work was coordinated by the Danish Centre for Ice and Climate.

The logistical tasks included

  • making plans for field work, budgets and schedules
  • documentation for authorities
  • applying for permissions
  • purchasing equipment
  • flight planning 
  • accounts and book keeping
  • hiring of professionals for field work

The operations in Greenland require a close collaboration with the US Office of Polar Programs, National Science Foundation and the NSF contractor in Greenland, CPS Polar Field Services (formerly VECO Polar Ressources). These organizations played a vital role for the NEEM project, both because NSF was the second largest contributor to the NEEM budget, and in the practical work of organizing and coordinating the flights to the NEEM camp. These flights took place in Hercules airplanes owned by the NSF and operated by the U.S. Air National Guard. The NEEM logistics team was led by J.P.Steffensen and had full time logistics coordinators, Lars Berg Larsen and Michael Valentin Strand. In a project like the NEEM project there was no clear separation of science and logistics, and it is therefore expected that participants from all international partners in the NEEM project took part in logistical tasks during field work.

Each year the logistics team prepared a Field Season Plan before the field campaign and a Field Season Report after the campaign for the Scientific Steeering Committee, funding agencies and Danish and Greenlandic authorities.

The Danish Centre for Ice and Climate was also responsible for the ice core drilling operation. It provided the ice core drill - an updated version of the successful Hans Tausen/NGRIP drill, modified to meet the requirements of a new environmentally friendly drilling fluid. The drilling group was led by Sigfus Johnsen together with Steffen Bo Hansen, Simon Sheldon, and members from several partner nations.

NEEM was financed by national contributions from 14 nations. The budget was 48 million DKK and by early 2009 the relative distribution of national funding is as follows: Denmark 44%, U.S. NSF 29%, France 5.4%, Sweden 5.2%, The Netherlands 3.1%, Japan 3.1%, U.K. 2.7%, Germany 2.3%, Switzerland 2.0% and smaller contributions from Belgium, Canada, China, Iceland, and South Korea.

NEEM is governed by the Scientific Steering Committee (SC). It consists of appointed members from each participating nation. The chairman is Prof. Dorthe Dahl-Jensen. From 2007-2015 meetings were held once or twice a year, and are open for everybody participating in the NEEM project.

The tasks of the Steering Committee included

  • Approval of the budget and financial reports.
  • Appointment of Field Leaders and Field Operation Managers.
  • Appointment of a subcommittee, the executive committee, for dealing with urgent issues, such as problems during the field campaign.
  • Definition and formulation of the Science Plan for field work, the cutting plan for ice cores, and the policies for future ice core work and sample allocation.
  • Definition and formulation of the data and publication policy.
  • Approval of associated projects.
  • Overseeing that the scientific opportunity and outcome for each partner nation maintains a reasonable balance with the corresponding financial and logistical contributions to the project.
  • Organization of the scientific collaboration by the creation of scientific work groups (consortia) to deal with scientific questions within the various science disciplines.