Launch of a vision statement for UK marine science

Setting Course – a community vision and priorities for marine research

A new vision statement for the future of marine science was unveiled today 13 December 2011, ‘Setting Course – a Vision and Priorities for Marine Research’. Professor Ed Hill, Executive Director of the National Oceanography Centre outlined the goals and priorities identified by the marine research community.

Prof Hill said “This vision details the priorities for the next five to ten years. ‘Setting Course’ makes the case for a more integrated marine research community ready and willing to address the big questions about how the earth functions as a whole system. We need to ensure that the oceans are fully recognised for their ability to provide solutions to the big challenges facing society, which concern sustainable use of natural resources and the management of environmental risks and hazards.”

He continued “Investment in ocean research supports not only some of the most exciting science imaginable but it is also the smart thing to do because the oceans affect our daily lives in ways that are profound but often unseen.”

Setting course address the need for:

  • integrated approaches to whole-Earth system science, recognising the vital role of the oceans
  • the delivery of high quality science & technological advances
  • balancing responsive-mode and issue-led science
  • sustaining fundamental core disciplines and enhancing multi-disciplinary working
  • investment in research infrastructure to support the whole community
  • exercising greater collective influence to ensure ocean issues are fully recognised in the formulation of funding programmes
  • translational research and knowledge exchange to ensure that basic science provides effective and timely impact for the benefit of society
  • maintaining and enhancing our international influence and engagement
  • ensuring that the UK remains an attractive place to undertake marine research and therefore a prime place to nurture new researchers and to sustain rewarding and influential careers

The National Oceanography Centre was tasked by NERC with bringing the UK’s marine research community together to develop and produce ‘Setting Course – a Vision and Priorities for Marine Research’.

The vision will also guide the National Oceanography Centre Association – which includes the National Oceanography Centre and its Delivery Partners in providing large scale research infrastructure such as Royal Research Ships, deep submersibles, ocean sensors, sustained observations and data management which support the UK’s marine science community.

Professor Peter Liss, Chair of the National Oceanography Centre Association’s Steering Board said “Understanding the marine environment and its interactions with Earth systems and human society is one of the most complex and challenging questions of our age, The vision is that this greater understanding will make a profound contribution to sustainable development globally and also to the UK’s wellbeing and competitiveness in the green economy.”

The National Oceanography Centre Association is currently comprised of the National Oceanography Centre, its Delivery Partners: British Antarctic Survey, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Scottish Marine Institute, Sea Mammal Research Unit, British Geological Survey, Marine Biological Association, Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, and 29 UK universities.

Prof Ed Hill continued “Our vision is that there is a clear international outlook, with an emphasis on the people and skills needed to deliver the science. It will encompass training, research infrastructure and knowledge exchange, as well as enhanced partnerships to enable us to tackle the big scientific questions that cut across conventional disciplinary and organisational boundaries.”

‘Setting Course’ was shared with partners and stakeholders at an event in London: ‘Science of the Blue Planet’ which sees the culmination of a five-year NERC-funded science programme, ‘Oceans 2025’.