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University of Southampton partners new national centre for marine science excellence

Published: 
2 February 2010

The University of Southampton will have a key role in a new national research organisation launching on 1 April 2010, to deliver integrated marine science and technology from the coast to the deep ocean.

The University will be a hosting partner of the National Oceanography Centre (NOC). The new centre has been formed by bringing together the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-managed activity at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) and Liverpool's Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory.

NOCS is recognised as one of the world's leading oceanographic institutions, teaming academic excellence from the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science and NERC. The new centre will build on this achievement, working collaboratively with the University and the wider research community to create a leading institution for marine science and technology.

The NOC will work with its partners to create the integrated research capability required to tackle the big environmental issues facing the world. The University of Southampton will contribute to research priorities including sea level change, the oceans' role in climate change and the future of the Arctic Ocean.

The collaboration will provide opportunities for the University to extend its expertise in marine research and develop its world-class training, teaching and technology in ocean and Earth science.

Professor Don Nutbeam, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, says: "Over the past decade, the collaboration between the University and NERC has represented an unparalleled investment in marine and Earth sciences and technology in the UK. Our academic excellence in oceanography, marine biology, geology and geophysics has combined with state-of-the-art research facilities to great effect.

"The National Oceanography Centre is an opportunity to build on this significant success, taking an integrated approach to delivering world-leading science.

"As the headquarters of an expanded national centre working with the wider maritime research community at the University, the creation of the NOC confirms Southampton's place as the focus of a major marine cluster."

Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, Professor Alan Thorpe, says: "The need to grow our understanding of the crucial role the oceans play in the whole Earth system has never been greater. Their contribution to climate variability and change, their huge biodiversity and their capacity to offer solutions to ever more pressing human concerns - including energy and food security, the discovery of new materials and medicines, and the need to manage marine space more effectively and protect vulnerable coastal communities - requires a more coordinated, interdisciplinary approach which the National Oceanography Centre will aim to deliver.

"The National Oceanography Centre will integrate ocean sciences to consolidate the UK's position as a world-leader in this crucial aspect of environmental science. The exciting scientific opportunity of taking this whole oceans approach is the essential driver for the creation of the new centre."

Notes for editors

  • The National Oceanography Centre will be formed by bringing together Natural Environment Research Council managed activity at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS) and Liverpool's Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory (POL), which is wholly NERC-owned. It will work in close partnership with key university groups and research institutes. The Universities of Southampton and Liverpool will be hosting partners.

    The vision for the National Oceanography Centre, in collaboration with its partners, is that by 2015, it is recognised as the world's leading institution for integrated marine science and technology. Under a single leadership, but working collaboratively with partners both within the UK and internationally, it will place UK marine science in a wider Earth-system and socio-economic context, providing scientific knowledge that underpins policy development and wealth generation, and will aim to influence the European and global strategic research agenda.

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