Oceanographic research

Final mark: Excellent

As the first ever event of its kind, in June 2007 the EurOcean(1) conference assembled eminent figures from European marine research to examine together the role of marine sciences and technologies in Europe. Europe boasts world-level skills in oceanography and the associated data processing that it needs to maintain and develop. This is resulting in increased coordination at European level between specialist national institutions and ambitious new research programmes. Below is a list of some of the main pillars of European oceanographic excellence, all of which are setting very high standards.

Antarctic amphipod. © Cédric d’Udekem d'Acoz Antarctic amphipod. © Cédric d’Udekem d'Acoz
The zone of Storegga, on the Norwegian continental margin. © Ifremer/Vicking 2006 The zone of Storegga, on the Norwegian continental margin. © Ifremer/Vicking 2006
Scientific  vessel Pelagia. © NIOZ Scientific vessel Pelagia. © NIOZ
Research diver. © NOCS Research diver. © NOCS
The polar bear behind the logo of an institute concerned with climate change and ice melting. © Stein Sandven, NERSC. The polar bear behind the logo of an institute concerned with climate change and ice melting. © Stein Sandven, NERSC.

AWI - Alfred Wegener Institute (DE)

With its enormous expertise in polar research, the Bremerhavenbased Alfred Wegener Institute coordinates all Germany’s research in the area, and manages much of the research work being carried out in the Arctic and Antarctic oceans. It is a driving force behind Polarstern, a mammoth ice-breaker which has just spearheaded the
first in-depth biological exploration of the Antarctic seabeds. (see Research*eu 52).


DOP - Universitade dos Açores - Department of oceanography and fisheries (PT)

Full of as yet unexploited wealth, the Azores are attracting oceanographic researchers of every kind. Research at the DOP/UAç focuses on describing, experimenting with and modelling ocean systems. The Arquipélag’s young Azorean crew is working hard to better understand the dynamics of the Atlantic, and to compare its biology,  physics, chemistry and geology with those of the other ocean regions of the world.


ICES I International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (DK)

ICES coordinates and promotes marine research in the North Atlantic and other adjacent seas like the Baltic and   the North Sea. The organisation serves as a rallying point for more than 1 600 scientists from 20 north Atlantic countries. Its primary objective is to gather as much information as possible about the marine ecosystem and to
fill existing gaps in our knowledge.


IEO - Instituto Español de Oceanografía (ES)

This multidisciplinary research centre concentrates mainly on problems deriving from resource exploitation and pollution. Through its research and consultancy activities, the IEO is contributing to developing and maintaining industrial, social and economic activities linked to the sustainable use of the oceans.


IFREMER - Institut français de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer (FR)

This spearhead of French marine research is working on 25 sites along French and overseas coastlines. Its
primary missions are promoting the sustainable exploitation and economic development of ocean resources, as well the surveillance and protection of the coastal marine environment.


IOPAN - Institute of Oceanology Polish Academy of Sciences (PL)

IOPAN is Poland’s largest marine science institute. In 2003, the EU granted it Centre of Excellence status for research into the continent’s seas. IOPAN operates mainly in the Baltic Sea, the north Atlantic and the European Arctic regions.


NIOZ - Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NL)

Founded in 1876, NIOZ is one of Europe’s oldest oceanographic institutes. Working closely with physicists, chemists, geologists and biologists, it seeks to undertake multidisciplinary research aimed essentially at the  continental coasts and seas. As far as possible it seeks to play a catalyst role in political and social decisions.

NOCS - National Oceanographic Centre Southampton (UK)

Working from a waterfront campus, NOCS is one of the world’s five largest marine institutes. Its 520 scientists
manage a national oceanographic research fleet and strategic programmes for the NERC (National Environmental Research Council). The NOCS also promotes knowledge transfer by sharing its expertise with the government, business and public utilities.


NERSC - Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center (NO)

The NERSC seeks to better understand, monitor and forecast ecological and climate fluctuations on a regional and global scale. Particular focus points are ocean modelling, data assimilation, remote detection and climate research.