The National Oceanography Centre and Subsea 7 launch research alliance

Source: press release, 13 October 2021

illustration: NOC/Subsea 7
illustration: NOC/Subsea 7

The UK’s National Oceanography Centre (NOC) is partnering with Subsea 7, a global provider in the delivery of offshore projects for the energy sector, to create BORA Blue Ocean Research Alliance™. The alliance represents a significant step towards gaining a better understanding of the world’s oceans and seas for a sustainable marine future.

Until now, it has not been possible for researchers to assess deep waters at the frequencies or range needed to better understand global ocean processes. BORA Blue Ocean Research Alliance™ will accelerate this knowledge through a number of projects which will utilise the NOC’s world-class scientific research and expertise in technology development, combined with Subsea 7’s ability to reach areas of deep marine waters on a global scale and established track record in innovative marine technology and project management.

BORA Blue Ocean Research Alliance™ will help bridge the gap between industry and science to support sustainable research and development, providing researchers access to hard-to-reach areas and sharing open access scientific data and knowledge at every step of the way.

BORA Blue Ocean Research Alliance’s™ initial projects will include measuring Essential Ocean Variables in usually inaccessible areas through the use of sensor boxes. Fitted to Subsea 7’s global fleet of vessels and Remote Operating Vehicles (ROVs), they will enhance the global scale of ocean observations. The alliance will help accelerate the development of critical ocean sensing technologies aimed at addressing global issues such as climate change. Open data gathered by the suites of sensors can then be analysed by scientists worldwide or used to support wider observing initiatives and datasets shaping major global ocean health assessments.

Other key projects involve using ROV technology to search for and obtain footage of undiscovered sea creatures that inhabit remote locations and unexplored ocean depths. Subsea 7’s unique operational access to unchartered waters enables the close monitoring of different ocean characteristics which will then be analysed by scientists at the NOC.

Huw Gullick, Associate Director Strategic Business Development at the National Oceanography Centre, says, “BORA Blue Ocean Research Alliance™ will bring together ground-breaking global projects under one umbrella to ultimately provide open access data to scientists across the world to address the complex challenges associated with our oceans. Facing these ocean and societal challenges requires experts throughout the ocean economy to work together to ensure access to large volumes of high-quality information about ocean health in near real-time and at a low cost.”

“With innovation at its heart, BORA Blue Ocean Research Alliance™ will help push the limits of scientific knowledge, setting the standard for collaboration between the industrial and scientific communities and delivering meaningful research on a global scale that will provide benefits for all communities,” Gullick continues.

Emma Stephen, Director of Sustainability at Subsea 7, adds, “It is the responsibility of all of us to contribute and ensure the preservation of this most valuable natural resource. Our relationship with BORA Blue Ocean Research Alliance™ supports Subsea 7’s value of sustainability, where we will use our global reach and technology to collect and share data to understand more about protecting our seas and marine ecosystems for future generations. We look forward to working with organisations, and businesses to support scientific projects that will make a real impact on our oceans for a sustainable future.”

BORA Blue Ocean Research Alliance™, which was officially launched at Ocean Business 2021 on 13 October 2021, will develop a number of new projects and grow the diversity of marine research and technology development initiatives.