Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Annex 6


  NERC Council, in response to a review of NERC's marine sector in 2005, called on the seven institutions* currently doing strategic marine research for NERC to collaborate and provide a more coordinated programme of work that meets NERC and UK's strategic needs. The Oceans 2025 strategic marine science programme is a response to this call, and Council, at its November 2006 meeting, applauded both the positive response by the seven institutions and the quality of the proposal.


    —  Designed and implemented by a partnership of seven marine science institutions*.

    —  NERC funding to ca £116 million (plus large capital) spread over five years (2007-12); funding for the first two years at this level is assured, and the level of funding for subsequent years is contingent on the outcome for NERC of the 2007 Comprehensive Spending Review.

    —  The programme is composed of 10 science themes, one of which embraces long-term observation programmes.

    —  Each science theme within Oceans 2025 is composed of work packages delivered by different institutions, with their work coordinated across the theme.

    —  Oceans 2025 includes two national facilities (the Permanent Service for Mean Sea-Level, and the Culture Collection for Algae and Protozoa), as well as the British Oceanographic Data Centre.

    —  The institutions will open up about 7.5% of their research programme budget (ca £1 million/year) to competition amongst NERC-eligible organisations, through calls for proposals aimed at delivering specific elements of the strategic research programme (the Strategic Ocean Funding Initiative; SOFI).

    —  A management board of the directors of the seven Oceans 2025 institutions will assure programme delivery. Existing management/coordination resources within the institutions will be enhanced by a cross-cutting science coordinator role (to be appointed).

  The creation and delivery of Oceans 2025 produces scientific and organisational opportunities and challenges. In particular, knowledge transfer with stakeholders will benefit from a single programme.

  Council has asked the Oceans 2025 directors to consider opportunities to increase further the effectiveness of delivery of NERC strategic marine science over the long-term.

  An overview of the Oceans 2025 programme is at

*  Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, National Oceanography Centre, Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Scottish Association for Marine Science, Sea Mammal Research Unit, Marine Biological Association, Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science.

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