History and heritage

The National Oceanography Centre was formed in April 2010 by the merger of two marine science institutions – the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory in Liverpool and the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. 

NOC's waterfront headquarters were opened in 1996 by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, as the Southampton Oceanography Centre. It brought together the University of Southampton's departments of oceanography and geology with the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, formerly based in Wormley, Surrey, and Research Vessel Services, formerly based in Barry Docks, South Wales.

It was renamed the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton in 2005, again by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, its new name reflecting its prominence in ocean and earth sciences within the UK.

Until April 2010, the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton was jointly owned by the University of Southampton and the Natural Environment Research Council. The term National Oceanography Centre, Southampton continues to be used to describe the collaborative relationship at the waterfront campus.

The National Oceanography Centre’s Liverpool site, on the University of Liverpool campus, was formerly the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory and specialises in tidal and sea level science. It hosts the National Tidal and Sea Level Facility, the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level and the British Oceanographic Data Centre. It was formerly housed at the Bidston Observatory in Wirral until before moving to the University of Liverpool campus in 2004.

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