The NZOC Mission

In 1872 the Challenger Expedition marked the beginning of the field we now know as oceanography. Today, the ocean and polar regions are changing more quickly than ever due to the climate crisis. A new generation of marine research infrastructure that is adaptable and resilient to change is vital if we are to respond effectively to this challenge.

There is an imperative to measure the ocean in greater detail if we are to understand, predict and mitigate the environmental, social and economic impact of climate change. We must also be part of the solution while we do it.

Leigh Storey, NZOC Lead

Path to Net-Zero

The Challenger Expedition was a voyage of discovery that set the template for ocean science for the next 150 years. Today’s research ships may be significantly more advanced than Challenger, but the fundamental model of oceanography is the same. It involves taking a ship and scientists to an area of interest to gather data. This has proven to be an effective but carbon-intensive approach to delivering vital ocean science.

Enabled by the UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) fleet of three global class research ships, the UK has established itself as a work leader in the field of oceanography. Now UKRI has an ambitious plan to become a net-zero organisation by 2040. This goal will require a major transformation in our approach to oceanographic research. NERC has therefore established the Net Zero Oceanographic Capability programme to lead its transformation towards a sustainable research environment.

New Technologies and New Techniques

The NZOC programme will stimulate the development of new technologies that enable new observing techniques to maintain and enhance the UK's oceanographic research capability. Increased spatial and temporal resolution in gathered data will enable new science and further our understanding of society's impact on our planet. Strategies to make data more accessible and technologies that enable remote participation in science missions will also deliver the benefits of a more inclusive research environment.


NZOC Summary Report

This report seeks to identify options for developing a world-class oceanographic capability with a reduced carbon footprint by presenting a range of options for transitioning to low or zero carbon capabilities

NZOC Scoping Report (pdf)