2019/20 – Leading Change

National Oceanography Centre [logo]



Leading Change,
Our Way

In November 2019 the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) became an independent body, building on our proud 60-year history. Establishing a new organisation is no small task. As well as developing the practicalities, such as systems and processes, the important work has been creating a culture which allows us to innovate and lead in advancing marine science, including developing the measurement technologies on which scientific knowledge and understanding of the ocean depends.

At the NOC we have a shared goal around driving change through innovative thinking, research and technology. Much of this work is about creating new insight, to help us truly understand the impact the ocean has on all our lives. Our passion is exploring the vastness of the ocean, which could be observing it from satellites in space or piloting remotely controlled vehicles through underwater canyons 6,000m deep. We strive to uncover the unknown and create new ways and technologies to help that discovery. All at the NOC have a role to play in this discovery, from those ROV pilots to the coders, the crews on our ships to the support staff on shore. It has been a tough year but we have continued to live by our vision and values, to share our knowledge and expertise to make a real difference to thousands of people. We can all take wonder and pride from our collective achievements this year.

The NOC’s key role is enabling science through support of the wider science community with the large research infrastructures and data assets that we operate for UK science. Despite COVID-19 presenting some particular challenges in these areas with ship programmes being reduced and access to physical sample archives like ocean cores being restricted we have continued to deliver a quality service. The corporate support teams have not only been in the front line or managing the NOC’s response to COVID but in establishing NOC’s governance and business systems to function as an independent organisation.

We would like to thank all who have contributed to the success of our first year of operation and worked with us in especially unusual circumstances.

Directors [photos]

Professor Ed Hill CBE, Chief Executive

Professor Angela Hatton, Chief Scientist

Julie Pringle-Stewart, Chief Operating Officer



of the oxygen we breathe is produced by the ocean


of carbon dioxide produced by humans is absorbed by the ocean


of our energy supplies comes from the ocean


of the Earth’s water is held in the ocean


of excess heat generated by Greenhouse Warming is absorbed by the ocean


of the UK’s imports and exports, including nearly half of all our food arrives by sea


of Internet traffic and financial transactions are delivered by undersea cables


of global protein for three billion people is produced by the ocean

Our Year
in Numbers


Our internationally excellent research and technology development advanced the frontiers of ocean knowledge


new PhD studentships created through new collaboration


projects funded from national, international and commercial funding organisations


early career researcher fellowships granted by NOC-led research programme CLASS


academic papers published


international development projects in 22 countries


We achieved wider impact by integrating and innovating our world-leading research and technology developments


total partners now collaborating in the Marine Robotics Innovation Centre


worth of potential revenue for new projects and contracts from 18 NOC-led bids


total expenditure on charitable activity


views of the new NOC Technology Roadmap

Impact Report 2019/20