Ocean observations for the UK and international marine science community

Prioritising ocean observations

This is a consultation on prioritising the ocean observations important to the UK, and internationally. The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is leading the consultation on behalf of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

To ensure objectivity, impartiality, and to capture a broad spectrum of views from across the UK marine science community, the open consultation will rely on documented evidence and best practice, from the UK and across the international community.

The consultation will consist of three mechanisms to gather data, evidence and opinion:

  • Individual Consultation – open to all
  • Best Practice from international strategies
  • Ideas and Opinions from existing organisations and forums

Once all evidence and feedback are gathered, NOC will convene a small workshop of experts from the marine community to discuss the consultation results and identify the key priority observations. There is a real opportunity to bring the marine science community together with a collective prioritisation plan. The final report will be shared with stakeholders by the NERC in early 2023.

The consultation is now closed.

The consultation was held between Friday 28 January and Thursday 10 March 2022.

You can read the full list of the survey questions (pdf).

Webinar video

The webinar introducing the consultation took place on Friday 28 January 2022, in partnership with NERC and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI).

Read the questions and answers (pdf) from the webinar.

UK Sustained Scientific Ocean Observation Priorities: Report

In July 2023 the NOC published the consultation report.

Frequently asked questions

For any queries about the consultation process that are not answered here, please email info@ocean-observations.uk.

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NERC is committed to the delivery of the ambitious strategic priorities of the UK environmental science agenda. To maintain the UK’s position as a science leader within specific and established resources, NERC must ensure public money is used in a way that achieves best value and optimum results.

As part of its regular reviews, NERC seeks to ensure that it is investing in capabilities that are fit for future. NERC has asked NOC to lead with a piece of work on prioritising the ocean observations that are most important to the UK as a nation and within the context of an international effort.

NERC commissions NOC to lead marine science national capability, which is delivered through a broad range of capabilities and large-scale ocean focus, by several marine delivery partners. NOC provides advice to NERC on National Capability prioritisation due to the complex landscape of delivery partners, unlike many other environmental sectors which have capability delivered by a single centre.

National capability (NC) funding is regularly reviewed and we would not expect it to remain static. We want to make best use of public money and make sure we invest in observations that support present and future strategic science priorities.

The survey is the best way to ensure your views are captured, recorded and measured. This will form a key component of the evidence given to the independent panel. However, we hope to have this matter as an agenda item at key meetings of partners too, so you can add qualitative information to the evidence. All partners have been asked to describe their key observations and the importance of them, so this is an opportunity to ensure everyone can represent their own areas of work in the best way they can.

NOC has also gathered best practice from international partners, and other shared strategies, to feed into the evidence.

This is likely to be around Spring 2023.

The consultation launches on 28 January 2022 and closes on 10 March 2022. All evidence will be given to the independent panel, which meets in July.

This consultation is about in-situ ocean observations directly funded by NERC. There are separate mechanisms for funding satellite observations that have their own review processes, and they are not part of this consultation process.

This consultation covers the coastal zone, the sea surface and exchange with the atmosphere at the sea surface, the full-depth water column, and the seafloor. It does not cover geophysical processes below the seafloor.