Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC)

We identify opportunities for the alignment and development of UK marine science to inform policy decisions and forward implementation of the UK Marine Science Strategy.

Role of the group

We are a steering committee and aim to identify opportunities for improved collaboration and co-ordination of scientific knowledge, resources and communication in the UK to support policy decisions. Secondly, we aim to drive forward the implementation of the UK Marine Science Strategy. We have developed a Strategic implementation plan 2015 to 2025 (MSCC/SIP/2016) (PDF, 1.79MB, 49 pages) outlining the key topics for policy decision-making and implementation of the strategy which is reviewed annually.


We are working towards achieving 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 providing marine science in the UK.

The committee has four cross-cutting strategic 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 the main bodies which fund, provide and use 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
  • Dr Steve Freeman: Director, The Renewables Consulting Group

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.

Ministerial Marine Science Group

This group oversees the work of the MSCC, and reports on how the MSCC is carrying out the UK Marine Science Strategy. Chaired by the Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Defra, the group is made up of ministers from the following devolved administrations and UK government departments:

  • The Scottish Government
  • Northern Ireland Executive
  • Welsh Assembly Government
  • Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • Department of Energy and Climate Change
  • Foreign and Commonwealth Office
  • Department for Transport
  • Department for International Development

Work by the MSCC is reported via annual updates to the Strategic implementation plan 2015 to 2025. This replaces the earlier reports by the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee to the Ministerial Marine Science Group prior to 2014.

Strategic areas and working groups

We have four strategic areas each with a working group.

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


Science Alignment Working Group

Overviews the alignment of scientific effort across MSCC members in areas of high impact, and assesses the related capacity and capability to deliver robust and impartial scientific evidence suitable for policy purposes. Members are funders, policymakers, Government agencies and marine science professionals.


Marine Assessment and Reporting Group

Provides overall direction to UK marine monitoring programmes. It defines monitoring programmes for the assessment and management of the marine environment, and oversees implementation of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy. It has overseen production of Charting Progress 2. It’s a comprehensive assessment of the state of UK seas, and development of the UK’s targets, indicators and monitoring programme under the EU marine strategy framework directive.

Members of the group include policy makers, government agencies and representatives from marine institutes, marine monitoring and data management bodies:

Marine Environmental Data and Information Network

The Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN) provides secure long-term management of marine data sets through a network of specialist Data Archive Centres, and guidance, contractual clauses and software tools to support best practice data management.

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 are available:

UK Integrated Marine Observing Network (UK-IMON)

The UK Integrated Marine Observing Network Group (UK-IMON) has been established by MSCC and is the UK ocean observing and monitoring network. It improves the evidence base for assessments of environmental status, using cost-effective technologies.

UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy Evidence Groups

The Marine Assessment and Reporting Group oversees and coordinates the activities of the four UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS) 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

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

Provides advice and guidance on matters relating to the marine and marine science industries. The group is mainly concerned with cross-cutting strategic issues. Commissioned a review of UK public and private sector marine science and evidence needs to identify the capability of the public and private sectors and opportunities for the growth of marine industries. More information can be found in the Marine science and private sector report (PDF, 1.71MB, 97 pages) . Group members are representatives from the main marine and maritime industry sectors.

The following material from this group has been published:

Earlier material is available on the National Archives website.


Communication Working Group

Provides advice and guidance on the communication of marine science matters, promotes the UK Marine Science Strategy and the function of the MSCC.

Marine Ripple Effect

We have established the Marine Ripple Effect on Twitter. It’s a news alert system, to encourage the communication across the marine science community.

Marine Science Events Calendar

The UK Marine Science Events Calendar, is a free online events calendar for the publication of marine science events.


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

Telephone: 020 7238 4690

Press queries: Defra press team

Contact details