Marine Coastal and Hydrocarbons Programme : programme development group report

Gatliff, R.W.; Johnson, H.; Lee, M.K.. 2007 Marine Coastal and Hydrocarbons Programme : programme development group report. British Geological Survey, 68pp. (IR/07/017) (Unpublished)

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This report is the result of a more streamlined review process than previous Programme Development Groups (PDG). Nevertheless, members of the PDG were able to provide expert analysis and input covering a wide spectrum of the work of the Marine, Coastal and Hydrocarbons Programme (MCHP). The PDG considered the Terms of Reference and determined the following: • The PDG welcomes the close links between the commissioned and co-funded research and the core (SB funded) science programme, which is focused on the objectives outlined in the BGS 2005-10 Programme. Careful planning is required to ensure that the Programme maintains flexibility to respond to external factors, but maintains a broad focus on the underlying scientific objectives. • The excellent links with the oil industry and DTI demonstrate a programme aligned to the needs of industry and government, and the plan to develop a new focus on the mature areas of the North Sea is welcomed. The increasing presence of new, smaller oil companies active in the UK will require different approaches to generate aligned funding. Future hydrocarbon research will require careful analysis of funding opportunities. • The development of operations to support a new generation of detailed marine and coastal mapping and modelling based on collaboration with other research institutes, and the collection and interpretation of multibeam data is supported. This approach is directly in line with the policy to improve understanding of the marine environment in terms of ecosystems and Government policy on marine monitoring. Data already collected clearly shows the potential for new scientific discoveries and a step-change in our understanding of marine geology. • The PDG endorses the integrated approach to the marine and coastal zone component of the programme. It is recognised that co-funded and commissioned research in the coastal area is less than in the marine and hydrocarbons areas. The number of experienced, high quality coastal geoscientists within BGS is very small and this is a factor in future development of the BGS coastal geoscience profile. Consideration should be given to establishing a distinctive, well-funded sub-programme to focus on coastal processes, particularly addressing erosion, sea level rise, and climate change to complement and strengthen the existing programme. • There is significant progress on developing a strategy for surveying the ‘white ribbon’ and a new national sea-bed-mapping programme based on multibeam data. Closer links with other marine organisations, such as CEFAS and UKHO are being developed and the participation in joint cruises (e.g. DTI SEAs, JNCC SAC research) is welcomed. The case for an integrated approach to marine mapping is strong, but continual effort and support will be required to raise funding for a successful national mapping programme. • The development of Lithoframe 3D modelling in the coastal and offshore areas is still immature. The PDG supports the completion of the current series of offshore regional reports as a precursor to the development of basinwide and national 3D models. BGS is in a unique position to develop such models on a national scale. Detailed models, for example, in estuaries and within the shallow section below the sea-bed should be encouraged. • Advances in marine geology and geophysics are frequently technologically led, and it is important to maintain and develop state-of-the art equipment and capability. The marine operations capability has a world-recognised position in shallow coring and management of major operations. The development of multibeam acquisition and interpretation skills is crucial to the programme, but there are also opportunities to develop expertise in additional geophysical techniques such as marine LIDAR, AUV technologies and improved shallow-water high-resolution seismic methods. • Collaboration with other organisations is vital and development of data-sharing models with key organisations (such as UKHO, CEFAS and JNCC) should be further developed to maintain access to comprehensive data sources. BGS participation in PILOT initiatives (such as DEAL) and MDIP (Marine Data Information Partnership) is encouraged. • MCHP should continue to develop links with universities, and the PDG welcomes the increasing number of joint-PhD and MSc students within a wide range of universities. Opportunities to develop closer links with universities through joint research bids to NERC and other funding bodies, and through marine pooling initiatives in Scotland are encouraged. • MCHP has an excellent track record of international collaboration through EU projects, collaborative projects with other geological surveys, and commissioned research within the hydrocarbons sector. • The PDG feels strongly that the SB funding for the MCHP is insufficient given the size and strategic importance of the UKCS and coastal zone. The staff have an excellent track record of attracting external funding to enhance the scientific programme but higher baseline funding is needed, particularly to cover operational survey (non-staff) costs. It is not the place of this PDG to argue for a switch of resources within BGS, however, the PDG actively encourages the Programme to seek additional funding from NERC through the FAB process, as well as from external sources. There are a multitude of players in the marine environment and BGS has a key role to play in co-ordinating activities.

Item Type: Publication - Report
Programmes: BGS Programmes > Marine, Coastal and Hydrocarbons
Funders/Sponsors: NERC
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This item has been internally reviewed but not externally peer-reviewed
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 23 Jun 2009 14:22 +0 (UTC)

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