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The challenge

A platform for blue water research

Australia has the world's third-largest marine jurisdiction, and the ocean plays an integral role in the nation's climate, culture, and economy.

Research vessel Investigator at sea

Our response

CSIRO's Marine National Facility

CSIRO's Marine National Facility (MNF) with its state-of-the-art research capabilities and outstanding crew, scientists, and technicians plays a significant role in Australia's innovation system. MNF supports four major areas of research – Geoscience, Oceanographic, Biological and Atmospheric to advance Australian marine science on a global scale.

MNF's premier blue water research platform - Research Vessel (RV) Investigator was operationalised in 2015. Government agencies, offshore industries, and the public rely significantly on this infrastructural asset, to obtain data and research insights for improving technology, practices, and policies for stewardship of Australia's blue-water resources.

The results

Benefits being delivered by MNF’s RV Investigator along three dimensions: research, training, and economic for the prosperity of the nation.

Research Impact

The RV Investigator has delivered significant insights about oceans, weather and climate, marine geology, and marine ecosystems; some of which may have remained unstudied without this capability. The uptake of new knowledge has matured the nation’s situational awareness and furnished evidence-based data for improved resource and ecosystem management, industry, and climate policy and planning.

Training Impact

MNF provides capability development opportunities to students through 3 formal mechanisms –involvement in research projects, CAPSTAN and ITSS programs. The training programs are building the next generation of marine industry leaders that come from different education levels and disciplines.

Economic Impact

Bathymetric map showing Iron Crown on sea floor, bow on right. ©  CSIRO

Public and private sectors leverage high- quality bathymetric, biological, atmospheric and geophysical data delivered by RV Investigator to deepen and widen their understanding about ocean’s ecosystems, climate and weather changes in the Southern Ocean, fisheries, and other important topics. The underway data plays a critical role in evidence-based decision making, devising resource and risk management strategies, and offshore activities. The economic analysis (CBA) is performed for the time frame covered from FY2010/11 through FY2029/30.

The analysis revealed the total value (in 2020 $$, discounted using 7 per cent real social discount rate) stemming from underway data collection and on-going data collection on the RV Investigator has been reported as $2.2 billion to $4.8 billion from FY2016/17 to FY2029/30, with $3 billion under the median scenario. The Net Present Value in 2020 values was between $1.5 - 4.1 Billion and a Benefit to Cost Ratio of 3.3 – 7.3:1

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