National Oceanography Centre

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is the United Kingdom’s centre of excellence for oceanographic sciences. We have a remit to provide national capability and leadership for big ocean science.


To be one of the world’s top three oceanographic research institutions. To understand and tackle the big scientific questions about the marine environment and its interactions with Earth systems through use of scientific research, oceanographic observations, data modelling and development of new technologies; in order to predict how future changes to our oceans will impact human life.


Our main mission as the National Oceanography Centre is to make sense of changing seas, upon which future human wealth and wellbeing depends. The way in which we intend to achieve our mission is by

  • Undertaking internationally competitive marine science research in an Earth system context with a long-term focus – working with others for the effective translation of new and existing knowledge into demonstrably high societal benefit
  • Manage, develop, coordinate and innovate high quality large research infrastructure, equipment pools, facilities, databases and other science, enabling functions for the benefit of the whole UK science community to deliver excellent science with impact.

This mission embraces

  • Advancing knowledge of marine systems through world-class, multi-disciplinary research – especially where long-term vision and commitment at global or regional-scale is needed
  • Innovation, development and timely uptake of ocean measurement technologies
  • Expertise for assimilation and translation of new and existing knowledge and technologies into beneficial impact for the United Kingdom economy and society, by creating new business opportunities and providing the best available evidence for decisions – marine industries are worth £50 billion gross added value to the UK economy and even more economic activity depends indirectly on the sea
  • Stewardship of, and accessibility to, irreplaceable marine data and information assets – planning, operation and access to large research infrastructure: research ships and major oceanographic equipment; for use by the UK science community
  • Providing a focus for national and international issues affecting the UK marine science community and its stakeholders.

Strategic goals

  • To have an integrated approach to whole-Earth system science, recognising the vital role of the oceans
  • Deliver high quality science and technological advances
  • To be able to balance responsive-mode and issue-led science
  • Sustain fundamental core disciplines and enhance multi-disciplinary working
  • Invest in research infrastructure to support the whole community
  • Exercise greater collective influence to ensure ocean issues are fully recognised in the formulation of funding programmes
  • Carry out translational research and knowledge exchange to ensure that basic science provides effective and timely impact for the benefit of society
  • Maintain and enhance our international influence and engagement
  • To ensure that the UK remains an attractive place to undertake marine research and therefore a prime place to nurture new researchers and to sustain rewarding and influential careers.

The NOC has eight key scientific and technological goals on which we are focused and over the next five years we intend to make significant steps in the advancement of our knowledge and understanding of these areas.

NOC Scientific and Technological Goals

Graduate School of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (GSNOCS)

GSNOCS offers postgraduate training at PhD level in a world leading, dynamic research environment. Funding for PhD students is available from a number of sources including SPITFIRE, a NERC funded Doctoral Training Partnership. Our current PhD students work on cutting edge research problems spanning all aspects of the natural sciences, for example, from Algal Bio-fuels through Life in Lake Ellsworth (Antarctica) to the Sumatran tsunami earthquake of 2004.

We recruit about 50 new PhD students every year to carry out research of the highest quality and to train the next generation of principal investigators, policy advisors and leaders of industry. Find out about becoming a student at GSNOCS, including available PhD projects, and studying for a masters degree – please follow the links on this page and visit Ocean and Earth Science at the University of Southampton.

Staff numbers updated to 2017/18

Contact Information
Director / Head: 
Professor Ed Hill OBE
National Oceanography Centre, Waterfront Campus European Way, Southampton, SO14 3ZH
Switchboard Number: 
+44 (0) 23 8059 6666
Full Professors: 
Postdoctoral / Research Assistants: 
Administrative / Support Staff: 

Funding by Source

Funding Proportion
Natural Environment Research Council 60-79%
Other public sector 0-19%
Government departments 0-19%
Foreign (other than EC contracts) 0-19%
Foundations, charities 0-19%
Other external income 0-19%
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council 0-19%
Economic and Social Research Council 0-19%
European Community 0-19%
UK private sector 0-19%

Consultancy Services and Products

Engaging with business Pushkar Wadke, Associate Director, Innovation and Enterprise