Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Annex 3



  1.  There are numerous linkages (both formal and informal) between the NERC funded marine research centres.

Informal examples

    —    Their past institutional linkages are embedded in the "corporate memory" of each.

    —    Individual scientists within these centres are well networked and there are consequently numerous small-scale collaborations and contacts.

    —    Since 2000, there has been some flow of staff between these institutions (in just about every permutation) as individual career development opportunities have arisen

Formal examples

  2.  A vast number of major and longstanding scientific collaborations exist between the individual marine laboratories. These range from collaborations on specific research grants and observations through to joint participation in large international consortia. Other interactions include:

    —    NOCS, POL, PML, SAMS and SMRU are each corporate members of a joint NERC/Ministry of Defence forum CAROS (Cooperative Arrangements for Ocean Sciences) and meet formally twice a year with MoD colleagues to discuss shared issues.

    —    NOCS, POL, PML and SAMS are each members of POGO (Partnership for Observation of the Global Ocean) forming the UK Consortium to POGO which meets annually. SAHFOS is also about to join. POGO includes the heads of all other major marine laboratories world wide and representatives of major international marine research programmes. From the UK is also includes the British Antarctic Survey and the UK Met office.

    —    NOCS, POL, PML and SAMS have been each members, or affiliate members, of the Marine Information Alliance which meets quarterly each year and includes representatives of other public and private sector bodies with interests in access to marine information.

    —    Within the NERC context, the Directors participate in the annual NERC Directors meeting. The Directors of POL and NOCS meet monthly at NEB. The Director PML is a member of the NERC Science and Innovation Strategy Board and the Director SAMS is a former Member.


  3.  Through our mutual parent NERC each of the marine centres maintains links to British Geological Survey and to British Antarctic Survey. These links include collaboration in joint projects at national and international level (particularly EU through the Framework programmes). Each of our centres will also participate in a number of projects under the International Polar Year banner, for instance SAMS is leading a major IPY cluster on Pan-Arctic Ecosystems with Canada and Norway.

  4.  Each of our centres undertakes collaborative research projects with a range of centres of academic excellence within the UK, Europe, and internationally through a wide range of funding mechanisms. This will be further facilitated under the Oceans 2025 initiative where we have allocated some 7.5% of the direct research funding to a new Strategic Ocean Funding Initiative SOFI will open up strategic funds for universities and other partners to bid for. Our Centres also host a number of national facilities and collections, for example the British Ocean Sediment Core Research Facility (BOSCORF) at NOCS and the UK Culture Collection for Algae and Protozoa at SAMS which are used by researchers worldwide.

  5.  The National Marine Equipment pool/Sea systems team based at NOCS provides at a national level the underpinning infrastructure and support for scientific cruises led by UK researchers based in institutes and Universities and there is continuous interaction in respect of use of the full range of NERC vessels and vessels access through international barter arrangements.


  6.  The Oceans 2025 programme of strategic research represents only a part of each Marine Centres' programme of activities. Each of the Centres is obliged to seek external sources of funding to sustain its level of activity and most take the view that collaborative research with industry has to be closely related to their core strategic programmes. The sectors where collaboration mostly often occurs are oil and gas, defence and insurance. At the regional level aquaculture, renewable energy and policy (national parks) are also important. The regional agenda involves close interaction with the Regional Development Agencies (especially in Plymouth) and Enterprise network (Oban).

  7.  Each of the marine institutes engages actively in knowledge transfer activities through a range of mechanisms. Several (PML, SAMS, SMRU) have their own commercial companies that make a more direct link to industry by providing services based on the knowledge, products and services developed within each institute.

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2007
Prepared 18 October 2007