The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) undertakes integrated ocean research and technology development from the coast to the deep ocean. It provides long-term marine science capability including: major facilities; sustained ocean observing, mapping and survey; data management, and scientific advice. Marine science national capability is provided to the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) by NOC working in conjunction with our Delivery Partners.
The NOC is wholly owned by the NERC and brings together the NERC-managed activity at Liverpool’s former Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, creating the UK’s leading institution for sea level science, coastal and deep ocean research and technology development. The new centre works in close partnership with institutions across the UK marine science community.
A central goal of NERC’s strategy is the creation of more integrated research communities to tackle the greatest environmental challenges of our age, with marine science making a vital contribution. The National Oceanography Centre, working with its partners, is addressing key science challenges including sea level change, the oceans’ role in climate change, predicting and simulating the behaviour of the oceans through computer modelling, development, the future of the Arctic Ocean and long-term monitoring technologies.
Partners and Associates
A major element of the new approach is seeing the NOC develop a strategic network of Partners and Associates – at universities and research institutes – working collaboratively with the centre in its support of world-class research, technology development and training the scientists of the future. Together, these organisations will form the NOC Association, sharing in the identification and delivery of NERC marine science priorities.
The NOC focus is on providing capability to meet the needs of the whole of the country’s marine research community, including Royal Research Ships, deep submersibles, advanced ocean sensors and instruments. It is also the home to the global mean sea level data archive, the UK’s sea level monitoring system for flood warning and climate change, the national archive of subsea sediment cores (key to the understanding of historic climate change) and the British Oceanographic Data Centre. Making sure that these facilities are responsive to the requirements of the wide range of users is at the heart of the centre’s approach to delivering national capability.
The new approach benefits from greater coordination in the delivery of excellent research developed by the marine community over the past decade, with strong investment from the NERC. For example, the close relationship between the University of Southampton and the NERC has led to National Oceanography Centre, Southampton being recognised as one of the world's leading oceanographic institutions. NERC investment and the development of close links with the University of Liverpool have helped create a world-class research centre at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory. Working with other NERC-funded marine centres in Plymouth and Scotland, the Oceans 2025 programme is delivering a major stream of strategic research and the marine community is now highly successful at winning consortium grant funding.
Building on these successful track records, the vision for the National Oceanography Centre is that, by 2015, it is recognised as the world’s leading institution for integrated marine science and technology. Under a single leadership, but working collaboratively with partners both within the UK and internationally, it will place UK marine science in a wider Earth-system and socio-economic context, providing scientific knowledge that underpins policy development and wealth generation, and will aim to influence the European and global strategic research agenda.