New SBRI call open, closing date 31 October 2014

Successful conclusion of the last SBRI project

Technology Strategy Board SBRI Site


Adaptive Autonomous Ocean Sampling Networks

The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has launched a Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition, in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) and the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), to assess and develop, novel adaptive autonomous ocean sampling network (AOSN) management systems; these systems will be capable of coordinating a suite of marine autonomous systems (MAS), enabling the gathering of data from the ocean over periods of several months and the ability to track and sample dynamic features.  The target ocean observation feature for this project is oceanic fronts, but we seek network management architectures that can be applied to sampling of other dynamic features such as phytoplankton blooms, deep-sea hydrothermal vents, large and mesoscale oceanic eddies, oil spills, dye clouds, cetaceans, fish, and biofluorescent clouds, such as those highlighted in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Also it should be capable of following linear features such as ice edges or seabed topographic scarps.
A wide range of low power sensors now exists to make the measurements, and appropriate satellite navigation tools are readily available. Satellite communications for command and control, and for data transfer to shore, are now routine. Furthermore, NERC’s new MAS capability will see vehicles deployed in the open ocean for periods of several months.
NERC seeks applications to first assess the viability of rugged, robust and reliable solutions for an AOSN management system capable of coordinating a fleet of MAS. Competition criteria will consider the appropriateness of the technical approach, the degree of innovation, and how this is balanced against project risk, the technical and commercial viability, and the appropriateness of the financial and project management arrangements.
The competition will run in two phases: Phase 1 will open on 2 September 2014 for feasibility studies, with contracts to be awarded, for those selected, in mid December 2014 and completed by 31 March 2015. This call will fund up to five Phase 1 studies up to a cost including VAT of £50,000 each. After reviewing the outcomes of the Phase 1 studies, selected participants will be invited to apply for Phase 2 for the development of prototypes, which would be capable of undertaking demonstration missions at sea. It is expected that phase 2 will be in the region of £1.2M and available for up to two selected projects.

The SBRI launch event was held at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), Southampton, on the 2nd of September, 2014. To download the presentations please click on the following links: Presentation 1; Presentation 2; Presentation 3; and Presentation 4. The record of the questions and answers (Q&A) from the launch event is presented in the following link Q&A. The list of attendees who are happy to be contacted concerning this call can be found here. Details on how to interface with MARS's platforms can be downloaded for the underwater gliders, Autosub Long Range, Autonaut and C-Enduro. If you have questions please email them to To see the latest list of frequently asked questions emailed to the SBRI team click here.

All bids must be submitted electronically. Please email your proposal to

In the application form, the companies were asked to submit a brief, public facing description of the project. Should the project be sucessful this information would be made public. Click on the following link to access the abstracts of the sucessul companies link




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