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MNF Subscriber eNewsletter | February 2023

In this edition:

  • Director's message
  • Primary Application call is now open
  • Stream 1 end-user workshops
  • Statement about return of Antarctic voyage
  • International agreement to advance ocean science
  • Creatures of the Deep coin

Director's message

Welcome to the latest edition of the Marine National Facility (MNF) Newsletter. It’s been a busy few months for our MNF team and I’d like to begin with an update on a medical situation on the underway voyage of research vessel (RV) Investigator to Antarctica. 

One of our voyage participants has become unwell and requires medical care that is not available on-board RV Investigator. The vessel has now ceased science operations and is returning to Australia to ensure the patient receives appropriate medical care. Our thoughts are with the patient and all on board for a safe and speedy return.

This situation highlights what will always be the number one priority for CSIRO and the MNF: looking after our people and partners. We will continue to provide all available support to everyone involved in this situation to ensure we care for the welfare and wellbeing of all involved. 

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge our team, including crew and partners, who are responding to the current situation, as well as all those who worked tirelessly over the holiday period to support our operations and delivery of voyages. Your commitment and contribution enable the remarkable research that we deliver. Thank you.

The year ahead will be an important one for the MNF as we continue programs to enhance our scientific capabilities and build towards the mid-life refit of RV Investigator in 2024. With the ongoing challenges from COVID, including increased costs, we also continue to evolve our Voyage COVID Protocols to ensure they offer the greatest protections for our people and safeguard the successful delivery of our research program.

Of note for our research community, this newsletter announces the opening of the 2023 Primary Application call for fully funded grants of sea time on RV Investigator. This call invites applications for grants of sea time in the 2025-26 financial year and will be used to build the Primary Voyage Schedule for that year. These grants are funded by the Australian Government and are provided to conduct excellent research of national benefit.

This newsletter provides links to the key details for the Primary Application call and resources to assist in the application process. I encourage all researchers interested in applying to look at the new MNF Operations Rolling Plan (pdf direct download) and MNF Capability Prospectus (pdf direct download). These documents are now available on the MNF website and provide important information for your application planning. 

In this newsletter you’ll also find updates about our work and the achievements of our partners. This includes the exciting announcement on New Year’s Day of our collaboration with the Royal Australian Mint to produce the first coin for 2023. This features RV Investigator, our deep tow camera and some of the amazing deep sea creatures that have been discovered by our research partners. It’s wonderful to be able to showcase our research to national and international audiences to help increase public awareness about our incredible marine life and environment. 

I wish all those at sea a safe journey.

Toni Moate
MNF Director

Primary Application call is now open

A Primary Application call is now open for fully funded grants of sea time on RV Investigator in the 2025-26 financial year. Applications are invited from Australian researchers and their international collaborators for projects that demonstrate excellent research that will deliver national benefit.

Find out more about the 2023 Primary Application call

Stream 1 end user workshops

We will be holding two workshops in March 2023 to bring together interested researchers and the relevant end‑users of research data to discuss research needs and opportunities.

These workshops are offered by the MNF to assist researchers in preparing applications to address policy-driven research priorities under access Stream 1.

View the MNF Operations Rolling Plan 2023 for further details

Return of Antarctic voyage

A Geoscience Australia-led research voyage on RV Investigator departed Perth in late January to travel to East Antarctica. The objective of this voyage was to investigate past changes in Antarctic Bottom Water production to better predict how this might change in a warming climate.

A participant has become unwell on this voyage and the vessel is making an early return to Australia for a medical evacuation.

Statement about RV Investigator voyage to Antarctica

International agreement to advance ocean science

CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the United States’ National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate on ocean exploration and mapping. This new relationship was formalised in a virtual signing ceremony in late December 2022.

Our ocean partnership

Creatures of the Deep coin

CSIRO has collaborated with the Royal Australian Mint to develop the designs of the 2023 Creatures of the Deep coin collection. This was released on New Year’s Day and the coin was the first to be minted in 2023 anywhere in the world.

Take a closer look at the Creatures of the Deep coin


We’re on an Australian coin!

The Creatures of the Deep coin showcases RV Investigator, our deep tow camera technology, as well as some rarely seen deep sea creatures.

In the news

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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.