Investigating the oceans: tenth report of session 2006-07, Vol. 1: Report, together with formal minutes

Front Cover
Ocean processes are fundamental to climate and weather patterns across the world; they provide minerals, foods and chemicals as well as being major energy resources, both hydrocarbons and renewables. Oceans also provide services in the form of transport, trade, communications and recreation; as well as services through the maintenance of biological and landscape diversity, the importance of which may only be fully appreciated by future generations. For all these reasons, the Committee's report finds that, despite the impressive research efforts of UK institutions and individual scientists, oceans need to be monitored and studied more thoroughly than has been the case up to now with better co-ordination of activities and increased overall levels of funding. The Committee's central recommendation is that there should be a new marine science agency, replacing the current inter-agency co-ordinating committee, with a remit to co-ordinate marine science throughout the UK, promoting marine science education in schools, universities and to the wider public. Overall responsibility for the UK's marine science strategy should be invested in a designated minister within Defra. The new agency should undertake a strategy to tackle skills shortages in marine science and technology, engaging with industry and facilitating UK involvement in international organisations, as well as co-ordinating ocean monitoring and observations. Another key task will be to ensure the balance of research effort between the different strands within marine science and between the crucial polar regions, with a greater focus in the Arctic, albeit not at the expense of the work conducted by the British Antarctic Survey. Concerns are raised over the research vessel capacity available to UK scientists provided by NERC, especially for coastal research, and with regards to the adequacy of Defra's plans to establish marine protected areas under the forthcoming marine bill.

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Marine science
Funding and organisation of marine science in the UK

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