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MNF Subscriber eNewsletter | December 2022

In this issue:

  • Delivering marine science with impact
  • MNF Year in Review 2021-22
  • COVID management on RV Investigator
  • Publications and acknowledgements
  • VIDEO: Streams to access sea time on RV Investigator
  • In the news

Director's message

Welcome to the latest issue of the Marine National Facility (MNF) Newsletter. The past few months have been an incredibly busy time for our operations and I’m pleased to have this opportunity to provide you with an update.

Given COVID remains present across Australia and costs are increasing, operating a research vessel in this complex environment remains a challenge. As always, keeping our people and partners safe on board is our priority, so we continue to maintain vital pre-voyage quarantine and testing measures. We appreciate the patience of our partners and community as we respond.

Recent voyages have seen the completion of several suspended or rescheduled voyages from previous schedules that were impacted by the COVID pandemic. I particularly want to acknowledge both the great patience and support of our research community as well as the great efforts of our voyage planning and ship management teams who have worked tirelessly to make sure these voyages were delivered successfully.

Earlier this year, I attended the International Research Ship Operators (IRSO) meeting. This is an important forum for research ship managers from across the globe to share information and work together for mutual benefit in helping solve the challenges we face in delivering marine research at sea. Tapping into this community of practice has never been more important, given the current operating environment and disruption created by COVID.

In this newsletter, I'm also pleased to share with you some of the achievements our research partners have delivered using MNF capabilities over the past year with our MNF Year in Review 2021-22. Despite significant challenges, the year saw many achievements. In addition, with the 8th anniversary of vessel commissioning on 12 December 2014, we’re also celebrating some of the great accomplishments over this time through our MNF Impact Campaign. This campaign has focused on research outputs and our pathway to impact told through a series of case studies and blogs. It recognises both the research delivered and our partners who have made it possible. 

The arrival of RV Investigator in 2014 signalled a step change for Australian marine research. It delivered a collaborative hub for both national and international research. We hope you enjoy revisiting some of the impressive achievements you have all contributed to over the past year and beyond. Most importantly, we look forward to continuing to collaborate with you in delivering excellent marine research to benefit the nation into the future.  

Wishing everyone a happy and safe festive season.

Toni Moate
MNF Director

Delivering marine science with impact

To mark our 8th year of vessel operations, we're shining a spotlight on the research delivered by RV Investigator since it was commissioned on 12 December 2014.

Find out how we're working with our partners to tackle Australia's greatest challenges through the collaborative research that’s been enabled and delivered.

Explore the impact from 8 years of amazing marine research

Dive into our 2021-22 Year in Review

The MNF 2021-22 Year in Review is now available on the MNF website. The Year in Review provides a summary of MNF operations for the period and highlights our research, collaborators, key challenges and achievements.

Explore our research

COVID management on RV Investigator

While delivering great science is important, the safety and wellbeing of CSIRO’s people and partners remains our number one priority. We are continuing to assess the COVID landscape, as well as be responsive to changes in the national health advice. 

As a result, we have recently updated our protocols to ensure that we're aligning with the national response while maintaining a best practice approach to mitigating risk from COVID. 

We have recently evolved our measures undertaken before and during a voyage to protect our participants against COVID. This includes moving to a 5-day quarantine period on shore and 2-phase PCR testing of all participants for COVID prior to them boarding the vessel.

Find out how we’re safeguarding our people and science

Publications and acknowledgements

Have you recently published a paper that relates to your research on RV Investigator? If so, we'd love to hear about it!

Authors should supply the MNF with a copy of all research publications so they can be included in the voyage record. If you're unsure if your publication has been provided, please check the MNF Publications database. You can filter results by voyage and publication type, and search with keywords.

A reminder that support for your research, in the form of sea time on RV Investigator, should be acknowledged in all published materials in the following form:

'This research was supported by a grant of sea time on RV Investigator from the CSIRO Marine National Facility.'

Take me to the MNF Publications database


Australia has a vast and valuable marine estate rich in diversity and resources. But we still know very little about it. The Marine National Facility provides Australia with a world-class resource to enable marine research for national benefit. So how can you get your research on board?

Let’s look at the application process and follow the streams that can take your science out to sea.

Each year, fully funded grants of sea time are offered on Australia’s ocean research vessel Investigator via a competitive application process.

Applications can be made by researchers employed by Australian research organisations. Collaborators from overseas research organisations can also be included.

Applying for sea time is easy via our online Marine Application and Planning System – MAPS – accessed via our website. Create your MAPS account to: enter, save, review and submit applications, and plan your voyage, if awarded sea time.

To apply, you will need to pick one of five streams of access. These streams ensure that we deliver a broad range of research to meet the needs of our users and for the greatest national benefit. Let’s dive into each stream.

Stream 1 is for policy-driven research, projects that address national research priorities, which will be set every three years in consultation with relevant government agencies and end-users. Research priorities are listed in the MNF Operations Rolling Plan, released annually when the application call is made.

Stream 2 is for discipline-driven research including fundamental and frontier research. This stream is for projects that advance scientific knowledge without directly addressing policy-driven priorities from Stream 1.

Stream 3 is for strategic partnerships. This stream supports nationally funded research programs that need regular and repeated access to our capabilities to collect long time-series data and samples.

Stream 4 is for technology and innovation projects. This stream supports the development of innnovative technologies that seek to advance our national research capability and our marine industries.

Stream 5 is for user-funded projects. This stream provides access to our capabilities for industry and other groups to conduct research of national benefit.

Revenue from user-funded projects is reinvested back into the Marine National Facility for the benefit of all its users.  

Regardless of stream, all applications are assessed against two merit principles: Research Quality and Research Benefit.

This assessment is made by two independent commitees: the Research Advisory Committee and the National Benefit Advisory Committee, with help from expert external assessors. Applications are scored and used to build a Primary Voyage Schedule,  which is reviewed by our Steering Committee. Successful applicants will then be offered a grant of sea time.

Every step of the way, from application to voyage, the Marine National Facility is here to help. Contact us to discuss how to get your science out to sea.

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Streams to access sea time on RV Investigator

Follow the Streams that can take your research out to sea on RV Investigator.

In the news

Science is a team sport. Please share this newsletter.

The Marine National Facility is national research infrastructure funded by the Australian Government and operated by CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, on behalf of the nation.