Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence


Annex 3

NERC'S MARINE-RELATED DIRECTED PROGRAMMES[62]

RECENTLY COMPLETED PROGRAMMES

Autosub Under Ice (AUI) [£5.86 million; 2000-06]

  The primary objective of the AUI programme was to investigate the marine environment of floating ice shelves with a view to advancing the understanding of their role in the climate system. This entailed developing Autosub and associated world-class monitoring technology to allow access to this previously inaccessible environment under the ice.

Coupled Ocean-Atmosphere Processes and European Climate (COAPEC) [£4.85 million; 2000-05]

  The goal of COAPEC was to determine the impact on climate, especially European climate, of the coupling between the Atlantic Ocean and the atmosphere, including the influence of the El Nio—Southern Oscillation on this coupling.

Environmental Genomics [£16.5 million; 2001-06]

  The Environmental Genomics programme aimed to exploit existing and emerging genomic knowledge and technology to advance and test evolutionary and ecological theory, and so provide a better understanding of ecosystem structure and function.

Marine & Freshwater Microbial Biodiversity (M&FMB) [£7.0 million; 2001-05]

  The aims of the M&FMB programme were (i) to improve our understanding of aquatic microbial biodiversity in the context of community interactions and ecosystem function, and (ii) to investigate the potential for biotechnological exploitation.

Marine Productivity [£6.5 million; 1998-2005]

  The main aim of the Marine Productivity programme was to develop coupled modelling and observation systems for the pelagic ecosystem, with emphasis on physical factors affecting zooplankton dynamics.

Ocean Margins LINK [£4.5 million; 2000-05]

  The UK together with Ireland shares an ocean margin over 1,500 km in length containing valuable oil and gas reserves but the economic benefits of this huge area have not yet been fully determined. The multidisciplinary Ocean Margins LINK programme aimed to improve geological understanding of ocean margins.

The SeaSense LINK [NERC funding of £1.5 million, DTI funding of £0.8 million; 1996-2003]

  A collaborative programme designed to support innovative pre-competitive R&D of marine sensors. The programme targeted a growing market need for improved sensors for monitoring and managing the marine environment, and aimed to adapt and transfer sensor expertise developed by non-marine industry sectors and the science base, and create strategic links between the science base and industry.

CURRENT PROGRAMMES

Flood Risk from Extreme Events (FREE) [£6 million; 2005-10]

  The FREE programme is researching what causes and propagates floods, so helping to forecast and quantify flood risk, and will inform society about the likely effects of climate change. It is bringing together researchers in the hydrological, meteorological, terrestrial and coastal oceanography communities in an integrated research programme for the first time. It recognises and complements existing research and development programmes such as the Flood Risk Management Research Consortium (FRMRC)2.

Integrated Ocean Drilling Programme (IODP) [£3.5 million; 2004-08]

  The IODP is a major international research programme, primarily funded by the USA, Japan and a consortium of European countries. NERC, through BGS, is the lead agency in managing the operation of the European contribution, and has successfully led the first ocean drilling programme to core sediments beneath the ice near the North Pole. The results of this project are underpinning international science on the climate history of the Arctic region. Overall, IODP aims to provide a better understanding of plate tectonic processes, Earth's crustal structure and composition, environmental conditions and life in ancient oceans, and climate change. NERC funds many UK scientists to participate in this global science project and it is seen as an important part of the training programme for marine scientists.

Post-Genomics and Proteomics [£12.0 million; 2003-07]

  This programme will focus on the application of integrated genomic and/or proteomic approaches to answering environmental questions in specific science areas of strategic importance to NERC and the UK.

Quantifying and Understanding the Earth System (QUEST) [£21.0 million; 2003-09]

  The primary objective of QUEST is to achieve a better qualitative and quantitative understanding of large-scale processes and interactions in the Earth System, especially the interactions among biological, physical and chemical processes in the atmosphere, ocean and land and their implications for human activities.

Rapid Climate Change (RAPID) [£20.0 million; 2000-07]

  The major objective is to improve our ability to quantify the probability and magnitude of future rapid change in climate, with a main (but not exclusive) focus on the role of the Atlantic Ocean's thermohaline circulation. Funding to continue the programme beyond 2007 has been identified, inter alia, as part of Theme 10 ("Integration of Sustained Observations in the Marine Environment") of Oceans 2025.

UK Surface-Ocean/Lower Atmosphere Study (UK SOLAS) [£10.3 million; 2003-09]

  The main aim of the UK SOLAS programme is to advance understanding of the mutual interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans, focusing on chemical exchanges that affect both ocean productivity and atmospheric composition and climate.



62   Funding levels are for total programme, not just the marine element. Further details are available at www.nerc.ac.uk/research/programmes/. Back


 
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