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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The outputs of research generate new knowledge about the oceans. Transferring scientific knowledge to support business and industry is an important part of our NOC remit.



Our research is intended to tackle the big environmental issues facing the world. Research priorities will include the oceans' role in climate change, sea level change and the future of the Arctic Ocean.



The University of Southampton and the University of Liverpool both offer a range of highly regarded undergraduate and post-graduate degrees in Ocean and Earth Science.



For any media or press enquiries to the National Oceanography Centre follow the more link below. Please note the centre's press office is staffed from 0830 to 1730, Monday to Friday.



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Delivery Partners

Delivery Partners helping to provide marine science national capability.


Marine Science Community

The creation of a wider association of Universities and research institutions to support wider engagement of the NOC with the marine science community is now underway.



The National Oceanographic Library is a national resource for the UK marine science community.


Principal scientists

All updated information for cruise participants can be found using the Marine Facilities Planning website: