From 1 November 2019 the NOC operates as an independent self-governing organisation – a charitable company limited by guarantee.
The move will equip the NOC with the freedoms it needs to develop further as a world-class research institution, and it will continue to be a trusted source of scientific advice, data and information as it seeks to make sense of changing seas. The NOC will continue to play a prominent role in international scientific collaborations and engagement in international bodies, such as the upcoming UN Decade of the Ocean and continue to operate the two state-of-the-art research ships, RRS James Cook and RRS Discovery, as well as manage Europe’s largest fleet of robotic vehicles.
The NOC will continue to be strategically funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, part of UK Research and Innovation, as it continues to provide UK National Capability in ocean science.
A trading subsidiary, NOC Innovations Ltd, has also now been established to undertake work of a more commercial nature, including exploitation of intellectual property. Details of this work can be found on a new website. Charitable status will assure protection of the NOC’s primary public benefit purpose.
The NOC’s Chief Executive, Ed Hill commented, “Today is the natural next step in the NOC’s development as one of the world’s leading and most innovative oceanographic research institutions. I am grateful to all who have worked so hard and supported and encouraged us on this journey.
“Independence means we will have greater freedom outside of the public sector to diversify our income and translate our intellectual property for public benefit. This will enable the NOC to sustain, develop and reinvest in its critical mass of oceanographic scientific and technical capabilities – crucial to enabling the UK science community as a whole to remain in the top tier of ocean research worldwide.”
A new NOC Board of Trustees is now in place, chaired by John Hirst CBE, and is ready to take on the task of guiding the NOC forwards on this exciting next phase of the organisation’s journey.
NERC Executive Chair Professor Duncan Wingham said: “Today is a significant milestone for the National Oceanography Centre as it becomes an independent body. The new governance structures will make NOC more agile, with more freedoms and flexibilities to deliver their science and to do so with a greater range of external partners and funders. I look forward to a continued strong and productive relationship between our two organisations.”
Legal advice was provided by Eversheds Sutherland, led by corporate education Partner Glynne Stanfield.