Submitted by kthall on

The UK aspires to remain a leading player in the vital area of environmental research: retaining, nurturing and empowering talent to unlock the societal and economic impacts of scientific excellence. This ambition to enable transformative science will depend on the UK delivering a corresponding transformation in its research infrastructure: the Future Marine Research Infrastructure programme, FMRI. Innovative sensor technologies will play a key role in pushing the boundaries of new and different science. In this short post, I will be looking at the engagement being facilitated by the FMRI team as it seeks to build a sensor technology pipeline that flows from concept through to commercial supply chains.

The Need for Speed

The Net-Zero Oceanographic Capability (NZOC) scoping study found that the rate of measurement technology development is slow when compared to the ambition of the oceanographic research community. Automation of measurements will be essential if we are to meet the FMRI vision of observing the ocean in ever greater detail. It is therefore vital that we find a way to accelerate the development and commissioning of new sensors in order to keep the UK at the forefront of ocean research and competitive in the burgeoning blue economy.

Inform to Transform

Though we are only in the scoping phase, the FMRI programme is already uniquely positioned to enhance the UK's marine sensor innovation pipeline by convening developers, suppliers, operators and data users in a dialogue that can shape strategic UKRI investment in an innovation ecosystem: the FMRI Measurement Systems for 21st Century Oceanography workshops. By bringing together diverse perspectives, we can challenge the current consensus and imagine fresh opportunities to shape a future research infrastructure that delivers for science and society.

Given FMRI's focus on sustainability, we decided to combine the benefits of in-person collaboration for a limited number of delegates with the reach of virtual participation (Part 2). We chose Bristol as the location because it is a UK rail hub enabling delegates to reduce their emissions by using public transport. Certainly it is a lot easier to get to than our SRO's rail journey to EuroGOOS in Galway last week!