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.
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.
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.
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.