A critical element of the Science Horizon Scan was the Retreat held in Queenstown, New Zealand from April 20 to 23, 2014, where the most important scientific questions were formulated and agreed. The Horizon Scan International Steering Committee (ISC) selected Retreat invitees from nearly 500 community-submitted nominations of highly qualified and deserving candidates. Primary considerations in selection were scientific excellence, leadership, and a broad perspective of Antarctic science. To reach a consensus, ISC members carefully reviewed the credentials of all nominees and selected those they believed should be invited to the Retreat via an online survey. Nominees were classified as experts in the GeoSciences; Life Sciences; Physical Sciences; and Social Sciences, Humanities and Policy, as defined by SCAR's portfolio of scientific activities, to ensure coverage of the breadth of Antarctic science. For further details on the voting process used to select retreat attendees, see the 9 October news announcement.
Scan Retreat attendees were representatives of their communities and were tasked with providing a broad perspective on their areas of expertise at the Retreat. Everyone was encouraged to contact attendees and make their opinions known and take advantage of opportunities to participate in the Horizon Scan (i.e. online question solicitations).
The 72 Retreat attendees were from 22 countries and included scientists, national programme directors/managers, policy-makers, decision-makers, early-careeer scientists and students.