International Partnerships

Oceanography and earth sciences are truly international pursuits. Scientists at the NOC collaborate with colleagues around the world and we attract staff and students from many nations. International collaboration can offer many benefits, including greater science impact, access to facilities, filling gaps in data and the promotion of excellence through training, international comparison and knowledge exchange.

Collaboration can also underpin international development goals and help strengthen research capacity and local expertise in developing countries. We work in partnership with the world’s leading oceanographic institutes. Where it helps to further relations we established formalised agreements through memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

Through the European framework project and work with the UK Space Agency and the European Space Agency the NOC participate in numerous European projects and programmes. We were also instrumental in the development of the Ostend Declaration and currently provide, by way of secondment, the Deputy Director of the JPI Oceans initialtive. Institutionally we have particular close links with IFREMER (France), GEOMAR (Germany) and the Marine Institute (Ireland). In addition we are expanding our global links by way of MoUs with a number of international organisations in China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, the USA and Canada. The NOC also represents the UK marine science community at the European Marine Board.


We participate in numerous European projects and programmes through European framework projects, work with the European Space Agency and other international funders. At European level we were instrumental in the development of the Ostend Declaration, and currently provide, by way of secondment, the Deputy Director of the JPI Oceans initiative.

Institutionally we have particularly close links with the following organisations.


North and South America

International memberships

On behalf of the UK Government, the NOC provides the Head of UK delegation to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO, as well as holding the position of Vice-Chair IOC-UNESCO. The IOC supports a wide range of capacity building interactions and workshops. We also engage in the intergovernmental Group on Earth Observations (GEO) through the UK GEO Coordination Project.

International policies and bodies

NOC staff are involved in a number of UN bodies with the purpose of providing independent scientific expertise to inform their work. These include International Seabed Authority, International Maritime Organization and the Convention on Biological Diversity. Also there are significant links into regional organisations such as the Oslo Paris Commission and ICES.

International barter arrangements

NOC operates research ships and equipment on behalf of the marine science community. We take part in multilateral barter arrangements allowing UK scientists to access the research ships and facilities of other nations on a reciprocal basis.


Find out more about our National Partnerships