OPPORTUNITIES have opened for Australian researchers to apply for up to 14 days of fully-funded sea time aboard specialist vessels operating in southern waters in 2025.

Australia’s Marine National Facility, run by the CSIRO, is supporting the partnership between the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) and the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD), with funding from the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS) to provide the marine research community with better access to coastal research vessels in southern Australia.  

Applications have opened for the placements, which will be on the MRV Ngerin based in South Australia or RV Naturaliste based in Western Australia.  Some voyages may be conducted on smaller (18-20 m) patrol and research vessels if appropriate. Vessels will be assigned by the review committee, depending on availability and suitability, and sea time will begin on departure from the agreed port.

Applications for sea time on the Southern Coastal Research Vessel Fleet can be made by Australian researchers employed by an Australian research organisation and based in Australia. International collaborators and Australian researchers working overseas for Australian research organisations can be included as co-investigators on applications.

Applications for voyages from Shark Bay in Western Australia, throughout South Australian waters, west of Lakes Entrance in Victoria and around Tasmania will be considered. However, the location of proposed voyages may be restricted by the limits of the fleet.

MNF notes that this is a competitive application process assessed by independent committees and multiple applications are supported each year. The opportunities are funded through the Australian Government project ‘Supporting the establishment a southern coastal research vessel fleet’ project.

There will be approximately 45 days of sea time available in 2025 across these vessels with applications closing at 11:59 pm (ACST) on Wednesday 28 August 2024. To apply, and for more information on eligibility, assessment and vessel capability, visit the SARDI website.

Earlier this year Seattle-based naval architecture and marine engineering company Glosten completed concept designs for a new coastal research vessel for SARDI.

The new vessel is being funded by the Australian National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, and Glosten says the project has the potential to provide the marine research community in southern Australia with a state-of-the-art asset that will aid SARDI in the protection and management of local marine ecosystems.