NOC research ship James Cook

NOC leads ocean research community to zero-carbon future

A new project, led by the National Oceanography Centre (NOC), will investigate a switch towards low or zero-carbon oceanographic research.


The aim of the £250k NZOC (Net Zero Oceanographic Capability) project is to bring together the marine science community and key stakeholders to consider how NERC can maintain and further enhance its research infrastructure in the future whilst adhering to the UKRI’s objective of becoming a ‘net-zero’ organisation by 2040.

Leigh Storey, NOC associate director National Marine Facilities and NZOC principal investigator, also explained:

“The replacement of a modern research ship is normally a decade-long process.

However, the advances in technology are opening up opportunities which require a genuinely strategic view to be taken regards the UK’s next generation of oceanographic research infrastructure.

The 20th century paradigm must give way to a low-carbon system and that shift must consider the science and policy needs alongside the technological opportunities.”

Specifically, NZOC will run for approximately one year and include six work packages, investigating:

  • Future science need (led by Dr Kate Hendry, University of Bristol),
  • Policy & regulation (led by Professor Steve Fletcher, University of Portsmouth),
  • Future ship technology (led by Colin Day, NOC),
  • Marine Autonomous Systems (led by Dr Maaten Furlong, NOC),
  • Future sensor systems & networks (led by Professor Matt Mowlem, NOC), and also
  • Data ecosystems (led by Dr John Siddorn, Met Office).

Dr Peter Collinson (independent) will work with the leadership team to support engagement across related industries.

The project will undertake equality impact assessments to ensure understanding the impact of the proposed solutions and make recommendations to NERC on how to increase access and inclusivity.

The initial focus of the project will be on engaging as widely as possible through surveys and also virtual workshops.