Programme Management Group

The Programme Management Group within NMFSS is responsible for co-ordinating the delivery of Sea Systems support to the NERC marine facilities programme. The Programme Manager is responsible for the long term planning of the cruise programme and works closely with the NERC marine planning office in Swindon. Under him a group of Project Managers (PM) are responsible for working with individual Prinicipal Investigators to develop a project plan for their research cruise. The PMs manage each cruise from inception to completion making extensive use of the bespoke web based software tool – Marine Facilities Planning.

Before a cruise

At the point where the forthcoming financial years cruise programme is published (normally in September) the programme management team will develop a cost analysis.  Taken from the Principal Investigators initial requirements, specified within the Ship-time and Marine Equipment Request form, this will form the basis of the budget for all technical and logistics costs for the cruise.

 A project manager will meet with the identified Principal Investigator (PI) for each cruise (no later than six months before the sailing date of the cruise).  Along with the Deputy Scientific Engineering Managers (DSEMs), they identify which equipment from the National Marine Equipment Pool is required to fulfil the scientific objectives of the scientific party. The project manager works closely with the Logistics Manager to identify the method and timescales of freighting all of the equipment related to the cruise to the mobilisation port. They will work closely with the Principal investigator and DSEMs to ensure that all of the requested equipment is prepared in time to meet the freighting deadlines.  They will prepare HM Revenue and Customs approved freighting lists to comply with customs legislation worldwide. The project manager will ensure that all the equipment required for each cruise is packed and sent from the despatch location.

Prior to the mobilisation of the vessel the Project Manager will prepare a port programme. The port programme is a schedule of all work that must be undertaken during the mobilisation period to enable the vessel to sail on schedule and carry out the specified scientific objectives. The Project Manager will travel to the mobilisation port with the technical team and, along with the Ship’s Master and Chief officer, will oversee the loading of all equipment on board the vessel. They then will work closely with the Senior Technical Officer (STO) and technical team to ensure that all equipment on board the vessel is commissioned to allow the successful completion of the cruise objectives.

During and after the cruise

Once the vessel has sailed the Project Manager will be the first point of contact ashore for any technical queries and will liaise with the DSEMs, Marine Engineering manager and Research Ship Manager to ensure that any on board issues are quickly and effectively rectified. During the cruise the PM will liaise with the STO on board to prepare any required paperwork for the return freight of any equipment on board the vessel, they will then travel to the de-mobilisation port to oversee the de-commissioning of on board equipment and loading of return freight liaising closely with the local ships’ agent.

After the cruise has ended the PM will work with other shore based management to rectify any problems identified by the PI on the post-cruise assessment form.


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