The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has affirmed its decision to proceed to the next stage of a process considering changes in the ownership and governance of the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).
NERC made this decision at its most recent Council meeting in mid-July.
NERC Council has decided to proceed with a process that assures them that changes to the ownership and governance of NOC and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) respect the centres’ unique roles, and ensures their long-term sustainability and contribution to world-leading UK environmental science and innovation. NERC will continue to consider the full range of options for the future ownership and governance of the British Geological Survey. There are no plans to change the status of the British Antarctic Survey.
NOC supports the decision to proceed to the next stage of the process and agrees that further exploration of the proposed model is the right way forward to protect and recognise its unique role.
Executive Director of the National Oceanography Centre, Professor Edward Hill, said, “I am pleased that NERC has reaffirmed its support for us continuing work on our path towards exploring independence as a not-for-profit charitable organisation. I believe this next stage of the process will help us ensure we are clear about the best next step in the life of the National Oceanography Centre which is one of the world’s leading oceanographic institutions.”
NERC Council continues to affirm the importance of sustaining long-term funding to its research centres. This will remain the case, regardless of changes in ownership and governance.
Council will continue to adhere to an approximately one- to two-year timescale that will ensure the centres are fully equipped if they are to make a successful transition to independent operation. Further cross-government consultation and agreement is required alongside a process of testing readiness before any final decisions are made.