National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) describes the integrated collaboration between the Southampton-based part of the Natural Environment Research Council’s National Oceanography Centre, and University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science. The waterfront campus, on Southampton's Empress Dock, was opened in 1996 as the Southampton Oceanography Centre by Prince Philip (he also renamed it the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, in 2005), The Campus is located near the Ocean Village development in the dock area of Southampton, close to where the liner Titanic set sail on her doomed maiden voyage.

The Rt Hon William Waldegrave MP , who was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in the Cabinet Office with responsibility for science, buries a time capsule at the Southampton site in June 1993.

NOC's waterfront headquarters 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.

Work on the Southampton Oceanography Centre’s foundations give an idea of the shape and scale of the building.

The NOCS comprises the University of Southampton’s Ocean and Earth Science academic unit which operates alongside five NERC research divisions and the NERC's National Marine Facilities Sea Systems . In addition to housing some 520 research scientists and staff, over 700 undergraduate and postgraduate students call the NOCS home. The NOCS's on-site resources include the UK National Oceanographic Library, the nationally important Discovery Collections and the British Ocean Sediment Core Repository. The NOCS is also the base for the purpose-built research vessels RRS Discovery and RRS James Cook (and formerly RRS Charles Darwin).

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh renamed the Southampton Oceanography Centre in 2005 to reflect the UK’s need for a national focus for oceanography.

On 1st February 2010 the merger of NOCS and the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Liverpool was announced. The combined institute is known as the National Oceanography Centre. The new combined centre brings together a full range of deep ocean and coastal oceanographic expertise.

Southampton Oceanography Centre’s first Director, Professor John Shepherd escorts HRH the Duke of Edinburgh along the Empress Dock quayside where he views equipment and RRS Discovery.


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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.



NOC Staff can access the Intranet and Webmail resources at the following URLS.


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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: