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A vision to establish the UK as a global leader in oceanography


A vision for the future of Southampton Oceanography Centre (SOC) is revealed today by the Director designate, Professor Edward Hill.

Professor Hill’s vision is for the Centre to be recognised internationally as the focus for oceanography in the UK. It will be renamed the ‘National Oceanography Centre, Southampton’ from 1 May 2005, when Professor Hill takes up his appointment, heralding the start of a new era for oceanographic and earth science research and education in this country.

The vision is embraced by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and the University of Southampton. The Centre will continue to be a joint initiative between the two partners. The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton will build on the achievements and science investments already made at SOC. It will better equip the UK’s marine science community to rise to the challenges of the 21st Century, and will ensure that the UK is able to maintain its position in the international ‘premier league’ of oceanography. It will have a clear remit to enable and serve a wide national community by providing, in an inclusive way, strategic focus, facilitation and coordination for UK marine and earth sciences.

Professor John Lawton, Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, said, “I fully support this change of name, which is more than simply cosmetic. The original intention of NERC’s governing Council in the early 1990s was to establish SOC as a national centre in oceanographic science. We should have named it at the outset to reflect this.” The shared vision will establish the Centre as a national hub for oceanographic science, complementing the vibrant, diverse research of other UK marine centres. It will strengthen and maximise the potential and impact of the whole UK science community by providing a strong central focus for all the players and by working in partnership with them.

Professor Bill Wakeham, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton, said,
“This is a natural progression for the existing Southampton Oceanography Centre. I’m certain that by introducing this central point of excellence, the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton will become a natural choice in the fields of oceanography and earth systems science for students and researchers from all over the world.”

Professor Hill said, “ We must build on our existing world-class services and facilities to establish the UK as global leaders in this field. We need to ensure that the Centre continues to be among the top oceanographic institutions in the world. But we cannot realise this vision by working alone, so we invite the entire science community to join us in turning the vision into a reality.”

Marion O’Sullivan | alfa
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