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The University of Southampton

Royal launch for National Oceanography Centre, Southampton

Published: 24 June 2005

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh has officially renamed the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, nine years after performing the opening ceremony at the waterfront building.

The Centre, formerly known as Southampton Oceanography Centre, is one of the world's largest institutions devoted to research, teaching and technological developments in ocean and earth science. It is a joint partnership between the University of Southampton and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). In the decade since the Centre opened much has been achieved, and it is now firmly established as one of the world's leading oceanographic institutions, with the range of expertise and facilities to conduct global-scale scientific endeavour.

Centre Director, Professor Ed Hill welcomed the Duke and other guests to the annual Summer Soirée of The Royal Academy of Engineering, which was hosted by the University at the Centre on Monday 27 June. The Duke is the Senior Fellow of The Royal Academy.

In his speech welcoming the Duke, Professor Hill said: "The United Kingdom is a great maritime nation. It also has outstanding intellectual capital in science and engineering. This Centre will epitomize the fusion of all that is best in science and engineering to understand the seas and to learn how to use them for the future well-being of all our people.

"NOCS is now given an explicit remit to sustain co-ordinated national capability in marine and earth science and technology by actively working with other marine institutions and universities, not in a dominant way, but in an inclusive way, to help the whole UK science community to work together much more effectively."

University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bill Wakeham added, "Having officially opened the Centre nearly ten years ago, it is particularly appropriate that the Duke should be here to officiate at its renaming and to see how the Centre has progressed in the intervening years."

The Summer Soirée of The Royal Academy of Engineering was hosted by the University with sponsorship support from Southampton City Council, South East England Development Agency (SEEDA), Associated British Ports, IBM, Lloyd's Register, Ordnance Survey and the RNLI.

Visitors took the opportunity to see the exhibition 'Exploring the Oceans' highlighting University research activity in oceanography and other areas of science, engineering and technology. Exhibits included the remotely operated deep-diving vessel Isis, investigations into waves and acoustics and the use of marine currents to generate electricity. Outreach activities into schools and the wide community were also featured.

One very topical exhibit was the Virtual Trafalgar display where enthusiasts can fight the battle again in a virtual marine environment.

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