The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) was established as an autonomous Research and Development Institution of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (formerly Department of Ocean Development), Government of India on the 25th May 1998.
With a mission mandate that is quite challenging, the Centre is designated as the nodal rganization for the co-ordination and implementation of the Indian Antarctic Programme, including the maintenance of India’s permanent station in Antarctica.
Spread across 147,660 sq. mts sprawling area, set atop a picturesque plateau, NCAOR is located in India’s most seafaring state of Goa.
At NCAOR the scientific mandate is multidisciplinary. Operating in a complex matrix, which has as its focal theme, research in those areas of the polar science currently not being undertaken by any other institution in India.
In a rapid stride, not only have the basic infrastructure and computing facilities been established, but also true scientific recognition earned. The Universities of Goa and Mangalore have recognized NCAOR as a research centre for the pursuit of doctoral research.
Year-round maintenance of the two Indian stations (Maitri & Bharati) in Antarctica is the primary responsibility of the Centre. Maitri (1989) and Bharati (2011) were established, for carrying out research by the Indian scientists in all disciplines of polar research. These stations have been provided with comfortable living accommodations, state of the art laboratories and well-equipped library and communication systems.
Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences is the Chairman, Governing Council of NCAOR and Dr. S. Rajan is the Director.
The institutional framework of NCAOR is a reflection of its mandated responsibility as the nodal agency for planning, promotion, coordination and execution of the entire gamut of polar and southern ocean scientific research in the country as well as for the associated logistics activities.
NCAOR has the Governing Council comprising 12 members representing a cross section of the country's leadership in Polar and Ocean Sciences, research education and administration. Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences, is the Chairman (exofficio) of the Governing Council. The overall responsibility for planning, administration and functioning of the Centre as well as execution of the in-house R&D activities is vested with the Director, who is also the Member-Secretary of the Governing Council.
In order to direct and provide a focus on the research activities, the Centre has a Research Advisory Committee (RAC) under the chairmanship of Prof. U. R. Rao and consists of five eminent scientists from various disciplines. Director, NCAOR is its Member Secretary.
Guidance to the Centre in all its financial affairs including finalization of the annual budget, monitoring of the expenditure and review of the Audit Reports is provided by a seven-member Finance Committee (FC) headed by the Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser of the Ministry. Besides the Chairperson, the FC comprises the Programme Officer, Joint Secretary (Administration) and Director (Finance) of the Ministry, Director, NCAOR, and a senior scientist from NCAOR as the Member-Secretary.