THE CSIRO’s research vessel Investigator will head to Singapore next month for its scheduled five-year maintenance drydocking and the commencement of a mid-life refit.

Since its delivery in 2014 Investigator has completed 107 marine research voyages and Marine National Facility director Toni Moate says that in addition to the important data and knowledge that have been furnished from these voyages, they have also provided “important experience in the operation of this world-class research platform”.

These learnings will be applied during the vessel’s July-September drydocking and the concurrent middle of life refit project, which will implement a range of scientific and amenity upgrades on the vessel. In the short term, the Mid-Life Refit will continue over several months after the vessel returns to its home port of Hobart in September.

“Further scientific upgrades will also be implemented in the subsequent years following consultation with our research community on their research needs,” Ms Moat said. “The Mid-Life Refit will ensure that RV Investigator continues to provide our community with world-leading research capabilities, as well as a comfortable workplace for those going to sea.”

Ms Moate also announced that a previously-identified funding shortfall for the MNF from the 2025-26 financial year onwards, which meant future voyage schedules might have been reduced, has been overcome following an urgent assessment of funding sources, which includes both CSIRO appropriation funding and National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) funding.

“I’m pleased to share that this has allowed us to identify and negotiate a one-off redistribution of funding that will facilitate full year operations of RV Investigator until 2026-27,” she said. “As a result, we expect to be able to offer two additional research voyages to applicants for the 2025-26 schedule.

“Furthermore, we are now confident that we will be able to restart the Collaborative Australian Post-Graduate Sea Training Alliance Network (CAPSTAN) program. This is an invaluable program for training future generations of marine researchers and will be delivered in partnership with the University of Tasmania and the Australian New Zealand International Ocean Consortium. More information about CAPSTAN will be forthcoming in future months.

“Securing full year operations for our upcoming schedule period is an incredibly positive outcome for our research community. I would like to acknowledge the CSIRO team and our funding partners who have worked diligently to achieve this result.”