In 1872 HMS Challenger set sail on a voyage of discovery that marked the beginning of the scientific discipline of oceanography.

Since that time, ships have been at the centre of marine research and will remain a vital part of NERC’s future research infrastructure. The FMRI programme will look beyond the current fleet to shape a sustainable future for the UK’s research ship capability.

Maintaining the UK’s global leading position in marine research to understand the science of the planet’s oceans will continue to need powerful multi-disciplinary vessels. New fuels and propulsion technologies will be required to advance this vital work in a zero carbon way.

Andy Jeffries (NERC), FMRI Ships Theme Lead


  • Hydrogen-Powered Vessel Design Study

    • Prof. Nick Owens, Scottish Association for Marine Science
    • This project is undertaking an initial design study for a new, coastal-class research vessel with zero-carbon fuel technology. It will contribute to the decarbonization of SAMS infrastructure and inform thinking around future ship technologies.
  • Augmented Reality use for research expedition Technical Support

    • Helen Oldridge, National Oceanography Centre
    • This project is exploring the use of Augmented Reality (AR) in support of NERC’s Marine Facilities Programme of research ship expeditions. AR technologies have the potential to reduce the number of specialist engineers deployed on ships ‘just in case’, freeing space that can be used for sustainable fuels. This will inform decisions on the operation of future vessels which may utilize less energy dense fuels.