Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC)

We co-ordinate world-class UK marine science research and work towards achieving healthy, productive and sustainable UK seas and oceans.

Role of the group

Our aim is to drive forward the delivery of the UK Marine Science Strategy and produce the most effective body of evidence to support science and policy decisions through improved coordination and use of resources, knowledge exchange and communication.


We are working towards clean, healthy, safe, productive, biologically diverse oceans and seas. Our priorities are:

  • understanding how the marine ecosystem functions
  • responding to climate change and its interaction with the marine environment
  • sustaining and increasing ecosystem benefits


We are a partnership of government departments, devolved administrations of Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, environment agencies and research bodies involved in funding and marine science in the UK.

The committee reports to the Ministerial Marine Science Group and has four delivery areas each with a working group: science alignment, data monitoring and assessment, economic growth, and communication.


Current members are senior representatives of government departments which fund marine science, devolved administrations and bodies which provide marine science:

Additional members include four non-executive members, an ad hominem appointment and a marine industries representative:

  • Professor Mike Elliott: Director of the Institute of Estuarine & Coastal Studies and Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences at the University of Hull, UK - appointed as Non-Executive Member of the MSCC on 1 July 2014
  • Dr Mark James: Operations Director of the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland - appointed as Non-Executive Member of the MSCC on 1 July 2014
  • Professor Michel J Kaiser: Professor of Marine Conservation Ecology at the School of Ocean Sciences, Bangor University, Member of the Board of Seafish, and an independent Member of the Board of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee - appointed as Non-Executive Member of the MSCC on 1 July 2014
  • Dr Tavis Potts: Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Aberdeen - appointed as Non-Executive Member of the MSCC on 1 July 2014
  • Professor Stephen de Mora, Chief Executive, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and PML Applications Ltd
  • Phil Durrant: Managing Director, Gardline Environmental

Terms of reference and minutes


The committee meets twice a year and is alternately chaired by the Marine Directors from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Marine Scotland.

The MSCC Terms of Reference (PDF, 448KB, 3 pages) describe our aims, structure and how we work.

We publish our meeting minutes:

Minutes from older meetings are available on the National Archives website.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee provides oversight and direction to the full committee on the content of its meetings and its work programme.

The MSCC Executive Committee Terms of Reference (PDF, 58.2KB, 2 pages) describe the role of the Executive Committee.

We publish our meeting minutes:

Delivery areas and working groups

We have four delivery areas each with a stakeholder working group or sub group.

Recent papers and publications are included here; older papers are available on the National Archives website.


Science Alignment Working Group

Coordinates marine science programmes, like ecosystem modelling, joined-up technologies and access to industry data, assessing how they can be implemented most efficiently and effectively. Members are funders, policymakers and marine science professionals.

Offshore renewables research steering group

Promotes best value for public money for public-funded research through collaboration and eliminating duplication of effort. Run by Marine Scotland and the Marine Management Organisation, with support from the MSCC. Collaborates with the Natural Environment Research Council’s marine renewable energy knowledge exchange programme. The group’s work is informed by the Offshore Renewable Energy Licensing Group.


Marine Assessment and Reporting Group

Oversees the work of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) which is working to coordinate provision of the monitoring information needed for policy, operational and management decisions to deliver the UK marine vision of clean, safe, healthy, biologically diverse and productive seas and oceans.

The work of UKMMAS is delivered through four evidence groups which bring together managers and experts from the different marine monitoring organisations in the UK:

  • Clean and Safe Seas Evidence Group
  • Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group
  • Productive Seas Evidence Group
  • Ocean Processes Evidence Group

Marine Research Vessels Group

Assesses the UK marine science fleet: 7 marine research vessels over 50 metres in length owned and/or operated by the Natural Environment Research Council, government departments, devolved administrations and academic institutions. Looks at the fleet capabilities and capacity and coordinate efficient and effective operation. We investigate the potential for new technologies, exchange of ship programme information and joint procurement. Members are representatives from UK government organisations.

The following publications from the group is available:

UK Integrated Marine Observing Network Group (UK-IMON)

Improves the evidence base for assessments of environmental status, using cost-effective technologies.

Underwater Sound Forum

The Underwater Sound Forum is made up of representatives of the key stakeholders within the UK marine and maritime community (government, academic, NGO and industry) that have an interest in how the UK manages the issue of underwater sound in the science, technology, policy and legal areas.


Marine Industries Liaison Group

Supports discussion between UK marine industries sectors and government, so that MSCC can consider marine industry views and issues when making decisions. Members are representatives from the main marine and maritime industry sectors.

The next MILG meeting will be on 9 September 2014 in London.

The following material from this group has been published:

Earlier material is available on the National Archives website.


Communication Working Group

The aim of this group is to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of the marine environment to our lives and the role that marine science can play in helping us to understand it.


MSCC Secretariat
Area 8B
9 Millbank
c/o 17 Smith Square

Telephone: 020 7238 4690

Press queries: Defra press team

Contact details