In a positive development that recognizes the need for more and better international collaboration, Europe’s three largest marine research institutes have announced plans to strengthen scientific cooperation in global oceanographic research.
The National Oceanography Centre Southampton (NOCS), UK, the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, (Ifremer), and the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences (IFM-GEOMAR), Germany have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
NOCS Director Professor Ed Hill said, “By building on our already successful interactions, by combining our intellectual resources and the use of cutting edge technologies, such as deep diving underwater vehicles, we can optimise our efforts to observe and understand the global oceans.”
“With our combined knowledge of ocean climate interactions, ocean resources, ecosystems and biodiversity we are well placed to provide the scientific underpinning needed for the development and implementation of key European marine and maritime policies, Hill added.”
With a combined annual budget of more than €350 million (approximately $487 million) and 3,000 employees, the partnership will represent the largest European alliance in marine research.
The French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea has about 1,900 employees and an annual budget of roughly €235 million (approximately $327 million). The institute is divided into five centers and 21 further locations, among others in Brest, Nantes, Boulogne-sur-Mer, Toulon and French Polynesia. The headquarters is in Issy-les-Moulineaux, close to Paris. Ifremer operates eight research vessels, an underwater robot and a manned research submersible, Nuatile. The institute has a broad scope of research ranging from coastal research to the research of the deep sea.
The Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences was founded in 2004. The institute employs approximately 500 scientific and technical staff, with an annual budget of nearly €60 million (approximately $83 million). IFM-GEOMAR operates four research ships, Germany’s only manned research submersible JAGO, an unmanned remotely operated vehicle Kiel 6000 and the autonomous underwater vehicle ABYSS.
The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton is the UK’s focus for ocean science and one of the world’s leading institutions devoted to research, teaching and technology development in ocean and earth science. More than 500 research scientists, lecturing, support and seagoing staff are based at the center’s purpose-built waterside campus in Southampton, along with more than 700 undergraduate and postgraduate students. The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton is a collaboration between the University of Southampton and the Natural Environment Research Council. The NERC Royal Research Ships RRS James Cook and RRS Discovery are based at NOCS, as is the National Marine Equipment Pool, which includes Autosub and Isis, two of the world’s deepest diving research vehicles. The center’s budget exceeds £41 million (approximately $57 million).
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed on December 15, 2008, in Kiel, Germany by NOCS Director Ed Hill, Ifremer President and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Yves Perrot, and Peter Herzig, Director of IFM-GEOMAR and Maritime Coordinator of the State Government in the presence of the Prime Minister of the German state of Schleswig-Holstein, Peter Harry Carstensen.
(Image, left to right – Peter Carstensen; Dr Maurice Heral, IFREMER; Professor Peter Herzig, Director IFM GEOMAR; Professor Ed Hill, Director NOCS)
Copyright © 2009 by Marine Science Today, a publication of OceanLines LLC